It’s a harsh truth of doing business today, but hackers are everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you run a tiny business with one or two employees or if you’re working in a large firm with hundreds of clients and a web of servers and staff. There are unscrupulous people out there just trying to get into your systems to get credit card numbers, email addresses and other private and secure information. These attacks can come from anywhere and at any time, so it’s crucial that you spend the time and money to ensure your systems, and your customer’s information, is totally guarded. In the event that you do get caught in a hacking attack, here are a few things you should know, as well as some preventative measures.
The first and most important thing you can do to protect your business and yourself is to install a strong firewall system, also known as an Intrusion Detection System or IDS. This system is your first line of defense against those would-be hackers, and it will alert you if anything looks fishy, before any of your systems begin to fail. This is most likely not a do-it-yourself kind of task, as you’ll want the input and advice of a security professional to help you safeguard against any type of hacking attack.
Second line of defense
Another thing you can do to help prevent an attack before it occurs is to set up technical rules within your system to keep web traffic down, and limit your server from getting overloaded. A lot of hackers start by overloading a server, so this is a good place to start. It won’t stop the attack, but it will slow it down. You can also block traffic from specific locations, or any location that may be a known hotbed of hacking activity. Sure, this might mean limiting web traffic from overseas, but if you’re not in a business that does work across the pond, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for you.
Call your provider
Yes, the next thing you have to do is call that 800 number your provider gives you for such an emergency. This may mean waiting on hold for a while, but it’s always worth it. They’ll have access to help you with some tasks you might not even be aware of, like pulling your URL down or re-routing it to a new site while they figure out where the attack started and how to get rid of it.
Filter your traffic
If you do get hit with a big attack, there are lots of places that specialize in filtering all new traffic for you, blocking all the hacking traffic while allowing the important business items to come through. It may be a bit of an expense, but if your organization gets hit with a big attack, this is one expense you’ll be glad to pay.
Keep an eye on things
As you move forward after your attack, you’ll want to talk with a security professional about other safeguards to keep all information safe and secure. There are tons of freeware and low-cost options out there for every web provider, so just take a little time and ensure your important documents and all sensitive customer information is carefully guarded.
This article was written by Deborah Flomberg for CBS Small Business Pulse.