Cyber-criminals continue to flood cyberspace with viruses, malware, DDoS, trojans, spear-phishing, and social engineering attacks. Attacks like Locky, Mamba, WannaCry, Petya and IoT Reaper, to name a few, have infected millions of computers costing individuals and businesses-of-all-sizes approximately $400B across the globe. The reality is clear, criminals are constantly at work and their new mutations are increasingly dangerous.

So, if you’re lucky enough to be among the few who have been uninfected – congratulations! However, your network could be infected right now and you don’t know it. In fact, computer forensics have found that most hackers gain access to networks weeks, sometimes months, before they execute their full assault. For companies that want to remain virus and malware-free, the process involves commitment and diligence. When it comes to securing your computer and wireless networks – the old adage is true – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why we want to share these best practices:

1. Increase Employee Awareness
This is one of the most cost-effective methods of preventing a cyber attack. Today, only 58 percent of U.S. mid-size companies train employees on cyber-security. It is critical to understand that cyber attacks can occur just by a cyber criminal having access to an employee laptop. This is why it’s imperative for your company to implement privacy training…GBS is here to help.

2. Create & Enforce an Internal Email & Wireless Network Utilization Policy
Your employees represent the biggest risk to your network’s security. In many cases, cyber-based criminals will get inside a network thanks to one of your employees clicking on a phishing email.

3. Strong Passwords, Periodically Changed
Security experts world-wide will counsel that users should never use the same password for multiple accounts. Doing this is just asking for all your personal information to be stolen. Try to create diverse passwords that combine numbers, symbols and other factors to ensure it is safe and secure. You should also ensure that passwords are changed every few months.

4. Hire a Security Expert
GBS has the experience, knowledge and technologies that will give you every fighting chance possible.

5. Constantly Learn
Chances are you hear of various cyber intrusions and disclosures of private data every day. More-often-than-not this leads to expensive fines and loss of customer/vendor trust – which is by far the most costly. GBS recommends you proactively talk to those less-fortunate, those companies that have learned the hard way. These proactive discussions will lead to continuous learning and a culture of vigilance.

6. Run All Computer Patches
Ensuring your entire network is up-to-date, fully-patched is one of the simplest strategies. This means paying attention and activating all updates to your operating systems, anti-virus software, web browsers and firewalls. Ignore these and it leaves cracks in your defense system.

7. Know What Not To Do
Adding firewalls and filters to a platform that is already insecure is basically the same as attaching a padlock to a screen door. Eventually, cyber criminals will locate the vulnerability. You need to discover where the major problems are, and then have a professional fix the issue. This is the only way that you can ensure that your system is going to remain safe.

No matter if your infrastructure is on-premise or hosted in the cloud, steadfastly implementing these seven cyber-security principles will help keep your employees and your company safe from computer-based criminal activity.