This year, a lot of small and large businesses alike are taking a long, hard look at their cybersecurity measures. The pandemic brought an onslaught of attacks as hackers took advantage of all the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
During the COVID crisis, ransomware grew 72% and mobile vulnerabilities went up by 50%. Unprotected remote teams and pandemic-related phishing attacks are both big contributing factors to the increased threats companies continue to face.
Those with cloud protection and remote management support of endpoint devices fared better when it came to avoiding malware and data breaches. But the number of increased attacks is still a big concern, no matter how well protected you may think your network is.
Some of the security challenges being faced are:
- How to keep data secure when it’s being transmitted through a home Wi-Fi
- What to do about emails that might be intercepted
- How to protect devices vulnerable to theft, like a business laptop
One important way that companies can gain a higher level of protection is to deploy data encryption.
What Does Encryption Do?
When data, folders, files, or hard drives are encrypted it means that a special algorithm is used to scramble the data mathematically. This ensures it can’t be deciphered by someone without the key needed to unscramble it.
Encryption is used in multiple ways to keep data secure when it’s traveling from Point A to Point B. If a message is encrypted, then even if a hacker were to grab that message when it was traveling through public Wi-Fi, they would not be able to read it.
Using encryption is not just something for the big enterprise companies, small businesses in Framingham can also benefit from implementing encryption in their business processes. It keeps data safeguarded and prevents costly security incidents.
The average cost of a data breach for a small or medium-sized business is $149,000.
4 Ways to Use Encryption at Your Business
Website Encryption (SSL)
When people share data with you through a form on your website, that data is encrypted if you use an SSL certificate on your site. This is becoming a normal business practice these days, so if you’re still using “HTTP”, your site is going to be noted as non-secure, which can cause you to lose some potential customers.
Website encryption also is being used by Google as a ranking signal, so secure sites get higher preference in search rankings.
When you encrypt your website traffic, you provide peace of mind to someone sending you contact details through a form on your site that their data is going to be protected.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
The pandemic caused VPN usage to increase approximately 124% due to the need to protect employees working from home. When data is traveling through home networks, it’s important to adapt network securitystrategies to keep up.
A VPN is a good idea for any company that has employees using mobile devices to access email and business data and/or employees working from home. Otherwise, data can be left vulnerable to being compromised by a hacker through a man-in-the-middle attack.
In this type of attack, a hacker either joins (if public) or hacks into a Wi-Fi network and uses special software to spy on/capture the data being transmitted through that network.
VPNs protect users from this type of illicit activity by encrypting the data being transmitted to and received from the internet through the user’s device.
There are certain email programs, like Outlook in Microsoft 365, that will allow you to enable email encryption (if you have a certain subscription plan).
This can help with keeping sensitive emails and attachments secure. For example, if you’re sending a sales spreadsheet or client list via email to a remote team member.
In Outlook, you can find the message encryption area, under the Options menu. Click More Options, and then choose Security Settings. Once an email is encrypted, only the intended recipient will receive the key for decryption.
Note, encryption has to already be set up for your email domain to enable this feature for your users. If you need help, just let us know!
Hard Drive Encryption for Laptops
Another way that encryption can be used in your small business is to protect any laptops that have access to sensitive business data. This may include PCs used by business principals, your accounting team, etc.
Hard drive encryption can be done through software such as BitLocker for Windows 10.
When you enable hard drive encryption, if that laptop is stolen, the thief would not be able to read anything that the hard drive contained. Only the user with the decryption key can access the drive’s data. This type of software can be used with a single sign-on (SSO) solution to make the user experience seamless.
Get Help Setting Up Smart Encryption Workflows
Pro Tech Guy can help your Framingham business incorporate encryption into your workflows in a way that makes sense and keeps you well protected from cyberattacks and other threats.
Contact us today to learn more. Call 508-364-8189 or reach us online.