Guest Post by: Lauren Wiseman

Phishing attacks continue to be the prevalent source of nefarious online activity that puts businesses as well as personal computers at risk. Essentially, a phishing attack denotes a fraudulent attempt to obtain your sensitive information, or the customer information you store on your servers, through passwords and usernames used in online communication. In other words, when your employees are communicating via email with customers, for example, there is a chance that someone will attempt to defraud them into giving away sensitive data.

Needless to say, you cannot allow this to happen, as even a single breach in your security can jeopardize your brand’s reputation and standing in the competitive industry, and even ruin your business. Keep in mind that customers will never forgive your company if you fail to keep their information safe, and that word of your data leak will spread across the online realm like wildfire – which is why you need to act proactively. Here are the five solutions that will help you prevent phishing attacks.

Invest in software and hardware firewalls

Your first line of defense against any nefarious online activity is, of course, the firewall. Before you go ahead and introduce other, more sophisticated solutions, it’s important that you have a strong firewall in place in order to ensure the security of your IT infrastructure and your data centers, whether they are located in-house or in a remote location. To enhance your firewall strength, you should integrate software as well as hardware firewalls into your operation.

It should go without saying that the software firewall you use needs to be optimized for the needs of your company and your employees, because out-of-the-box solutions will rarely provide you with the features necessary to maintain a secure operation. What’s more, consider integrating a hardware firewall into your system in order to position a physical device between the public domain and your computer infrastructure, in order to filter all incoming and outgoing traffic.

Educate your employees on cybersecurity

When it comes to handling sensitive information and preventing data leaks, your employees will have a pivotal role to play. After all, scammers are targeting your team members and counting on their inexperience with email and online communication in general to extract valuable information by pretending to be a person of trust and authority. This is why you need to invest in employee education and training that will help them recognize phishing threats, and eliminate them before the cause any real damage.

This will also help you minimize extraneous costs in your company, as you won’t have to waste financial resources on damage control if a phishing attack breaks through your defenses. The most important part of employee education, though, is to take a personalized approach. Make sure that every person in the office understands the rules of data management and communication, and devote plenty of attention to the team members that are having a difficult time grasping these concepts.

Monitor the online traffic with a filtering solution

Of course, you can’t expect your employees to safeguard your company’s sensitive information all on their own, because without your oversight and control, something is bound to slip through the cracks at one point or another. Even though they might know how to behave online, there is no telling if proficient social engineering might make them visit a scam website or download malicious software.

This is why it’s important to monitor the online communication in the office as well as all traffic by integrating advanced web filter solutions that provide you with all of the necessary features to control the flow of data, prevent access to unauthorized websites, and identify all users with ease. With a comprehensive, real-time overview of all traffic, you can stay in control, manage access, and adjust all security measures.

Improve password strength and management

Speaking of adjusting your security measures, it’s also important to review your policy on passwords, and update it if necessary. More often than not, businesses will run on outdated and poorly-devised password policies that do more harm than good.

In a nutshell, you can’t just give your employees free reign over their accounts and passwords, because exploiting weak and outdated passwords and accounts is a modern hacker’s forte. Instead, be sure to integrate a reliable password management tool into your operation, and be sure to eliminate all accounts that are no longer in use in order to close every back door to your company.

Create new backups regularly

Finally, always have a contingency plan. In the event that you lose valuable data, you need to be able to resume your operation with minimal downtime. This is why creating regular backups is essential, and backing up your company’s data daily will help you get up and running without wasting financial and other resources. Once you have retrieved your data, you can allocate resources towards damage control, and even bringing the culprits to justice. 

Wrapping up

The threat of phishing attacks and cyber-attacks in general is growing every day as companies and individuals are willing to pay top dollar to obtain valuable competitor data. Don’t let a phishing attack ruin your brand’s reputation, rather, integrate these solutions and keep your information and your business safe.

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