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Encompass® Agency Insights

Is Your Business Safe from Cybercrime?

An illustration of a desktop computer and mobile phone with an icon of a lock and key on the screen.

Cybercrime is on the rise. In 2017, more than 300,000 complaints were received by the cybercrime unit within the FBI — that's an average of over 800 complaints each day. Some of the most prevalent types of crime included phishing, identity theft, business email compromise (BEC), extortion, corporate data breaches and ransomware.

According to McAfee, 22 percent of all data loss from organizations is intentionally orchestrated by people inside the business. Clearly, it's never been more crucial to protect your business against cybercriminals and people inside your organization who have criminal intentions.

One of the most important aspects of keeping your business data safe is to have a strong password policy. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Don't allow default, overly simplistic or easy-to-guess passwords "Password," "123456" or passwords based on personal information are all easy prey for hackers.
  • Create unique passwords. Avoid password sharing: Each device and account should have its own password.
  • Avoid complex custom passwords. Passwords that are actual words but with numbers and special characters — like P@$sw0rd— might be easy to remember, but they're also predictable. It's better to use a completely random sequence of letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Use long passwords. It is strongly recommended to have passwords with at least eight to twelve characters long.
  • Change passwords regularly. Every 60 to 90 days is optimal.
  • Use two-factor authentication for more sensitive data. According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security. It works by requiring you to provide a PIN, ID card or biometric fingerprint in addition to your password.
  • Use password managers. As Consumer Reports states, password managers are highly secure applications that store long, distinct passwords for each account and automatically fill them in. All your employees have to do is remember the password of the vault that stores all of their information.
  • Regularly change your Wi-Fi password: Your employees need your Wi-Fi password so they can use their laptops, tablets and other devices wirelessly on your premises. However, anybody who's within range of the Wi-Fi network can join — as long as they know the password. To prevent unauthorized users from possibly getting into your system, make sure to change your password regularly.
  • Change your default router password: When routers are set up, they usually have the default login credentials of "admin" and "password." Since your router is effectively the gateway to your system, you need to change the default password as soon as possible. In addition, be alert to warnings from the FBI to change your router password, since hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses through these devices.

Keep in mind that having a strong password policy is just one line of defense against data loss that could compromise your business. It's also crucial to have other cybersecurity measures in place, such as a robust firewall, as well as antivirus and anti-malware software. In addition, take steps to prevent data theft occurring from within your organization, for example by restricting access to certain computers and files.

By consistently staying up to date on cybersecurity news and being vigilant, you can maximize your chances of keeping your company's data secure and protected.

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ECC Monitor: OK