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How to Protect Your Overseas Business from Hackers

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How to Protect Your Overseas Business from Hackers

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For almost every business, expanding your reach overseas is one of the primary goals when it comes to appealing to more customers.

Whether that is part of your game plan from day one or if it later emerges as an aspect of your growth trajectory, being active overseas means targeting a much wider client base and setting the foundations for further development. However, there are many risks that come with such a move – including exposing yourself to more cyber-threats and being subject to various cybersecurity compliance requirements. How can you protect your business and keep customers and regulatory authorities alike content?

How to protect your business from cybercrime

Cybercrime is an important issue for businesses today, no matter the sector that they are active in. Hackers are continuously trying to find new ways to make profit and targeting businesses is one of the more convenient methods, since any enterprise nowadays uses the Internet to host and share valuable data, thus exposing itself to attacks. This data, which often includes large volumes of personal data with regard to clients and employees, as well as tremendously valuable information such as intellectual property assets, can be easily used by cybercriminals to commit identity theft or otherwise exploit it to make quick money. Besides, since corporations are eager to resume their operations as soon as possible after a hacker attack and they are keen to keep their reputation intact, they are often willing to pay large sums in ransom in order to have their functioning disrupted as little as possible. These facts make businesses an appealing target for hackers, who employ a series of attack vectors to get their hands on enterprise data.

 

Source: Pexels

These include SQL injection, one of the most common hacking methods that sees cybercriminals inject malicious code to gain unauthorized access to a database, and cross-site scripting, which typically allows hackers to bypass security on web applications. It also includes remote file inclusion, where attackers exploit a web application’s referencing function to trick it into uploading malware, and other technically sophisticated attacks that have made it to the OWASP Top Ten web application security risks. All OWASP Top Ten threats can be prevented by installing a Web Application Firewall, one of the top cybersecurity tools when it comes to protecting web apps. A WAF filters incoming requests to identify and stop malicious intruders from exploiting your web applications and can be used to secure both on-premises apps and those based on the cloud. Web applications are usually pivotal in terms of reaching out to new clients, as they are the backbone of how your website will effectively communicate with your customers – including client log-ins to their online accounts.

SMEs and startups need to make cybersecurity a priority

When it comes to cybersecurity, constant vigilance is an absolute necessity. This includes keeping up to date with any software patches that will allow your systems to address newly discovered vulnerabilities efficiently. While you can set up your systems to install new updates automatically, some patches might need to be tested before they are widely implemented, or they might need an IT expert to oversee the process and make sure that everything goes smoothly. This is why hiring the right cybersecurity professionals can make or break your company’s defences against hackers. A tailored solution is appropriate for companies of different types and sizes. While larger enterprises might need to employ a dedicated and in-house IT team, smaller companies might be better off with hiring an external consultant and benefit from cost scalability. According to the latest figures published on Statista, there were 2,669,440 VAT or PAYE businesses in the UK in 2018, while a whopping 2,080,690 of them had up to four employees. A further 304,110 had between five and nine employees, while another 152,645 companies employed between 10 and 19 people. Only 670 enterprises had over 5,000 people on their payroll.

 

Source: Pexels

This means that SMEs, and especially small businesses, make up the biggest part of the UK private sector, and smaller, more scalable solutions might be more suitable to them. Yet even on a tighter and smaller budget, cybersecurity is a priority – and there are cost-effective solutions to that end. Carrying out regular backups of your data is not too costly and can greatly contribute towards getting your business back up and running as fast as possible after a data breach. Making sure that cybersecurity best practices are part of any employee induction and also organising regular training sessions will ensure that your employees are not a liability when it comes to recognising and preventing hacker attacks. Instead, they can be transformed into your first line of defence when it comes to attack vectors like phishing campaigns. Finally, set up an incident response plan to make sure that everyone knows what your priorities are in case of a data breach or data leak and what they are supposed to do to contain and mitigate the damage. That will save you valuable time during a very stressful incident.

With roughly 236,000 businesses being engaged overseas and exports constantly increasing to top £637 billion, more enterprises need to invest resource and become cybersecurity-ready in order to keep hackers at bay and their brand reputation high

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