Malware is one of the single biggest risks businesses face today. Why? It’s because the confidential client and financial information, customer databases, business strategies, and intellectual property are stored electronically. In fact, in such a digital world, many businesses rely solely on their digital information for their business.

In 2017, over one-fifth of Canadian businesses reported that they had fallen victim to a cyber-security threat. Of those, over 60% of attempts were to access privileged areas, personal and financial information or demand ransom.

Malware protection.  That’s only for large enterprises right?  Wrong.

Malware is unconcerned with the size of your business. It’s not just big businesses and organizations that are lucrative. For cybercriminals, smaller businesses are easier targets because of lower barriers to entry.

Keeping your business – small, medium or large – safe today requires you to be proactive, and diligent. Once the malware has invaded your business, you are at best in damage limitation mode. As the old adage goes “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

At Technical Action Group, we advise our clients on a number of best practices for malware protection. But before we proceed, let’s refresh ourselves on what malware is.

Very simply, malware is malicious software: software that is designed to steal, disrupt, extort or blackmail. It can take the form of a virus, ransomware, trojan or spyware. Let’s see how you can protect yourself from it.

1. Secure network

Securing a network means taking steps to restrict your infrastructure to only authorized access. Firewalls and network security devices such as VPNs and DoS protection prevent manipulation of your network into allowing unauthorized access. Moreover, managing remote devices and network access can greatly help safeguard your data.

2. Email vigilance

Why does email receive such importance? Surreptitious emails are a common tool for gaining access to computer networks and systems. Be mindful of the sender: minor typographical errors in the “To” section can give away a deceptive email. Be wary of opening links unless you recognize the sender and are not caught unawares by the context of the email. Do not open files attached to emails unless you are certain of the source. For instance, file names ending with “.exe” are executable programs and should be treated with extreme caution.  Another giveaway of such emails are ones containing grammatical and spelling errors in their content.

3. Regular backups

Backups play a very important part in malware protection. In the event of ransomware invading your systems, you are not beholden to a hacker. If your computers are compromised, you have the option of wiping your systems. Data can be segregated, minimizing the effect of intrusion from malware.

4. Training and awareness

Teaching your employees about malware protection best practices is essential. All of your cybersecurity efforts can be nullified by a workforce that does not manage its use of digital infrastructure. Carelessness with links, using unauthorized equipment and even leaving digital media unsecured are all ways your network can be opened up to compromise.

5. Professional cybersecurity management

This is not a journey where you can ‘go it alone’. Cybersecurity experts are dedicated to the task of ensuring a secure network for you. There are a plethora of open ports and essential services that must be managed. Even firewalls will prove of little value without regular maintenance and proactive monitoring of threats.

6. Vigilance

Vigilance is the key to effective cybersecurity. Be mindful of unintended or unexpected changes in your computers or network. Your clients and customers may also warn you of errant emails, which could suggest compromised systems.

It also means limiting administrator access to personnel, being aware of emerging threats and responding to them. Regular updates are essential to this. Knowing what your sensitive information is will also help plan for contingencies.

At Technical Action Group, it is our mission to provide cutting-edge cyber-security services and solutions at affordable prices. TAG is proud to be a trusted partner for so many businesses. Our malware protection services are renowned for being responsive to emerging threats. And it a priority for us to keep hindrance to your business and downtime to a minimum.