For many of us, October holds a special place in our hearts—colorful leaves, crisp Autumn air, long awaited family pumpkin carving competitions, and maybe most importantly, haunted houses are officially open for business.

Willingly we hand over our money to walk (or in my case, get pushed) through spooky alleys, haunted halls, and chilling cornfields to take part in this festive Fall tradition. Without fail, every October we welcome this frightening entertainment into our lives in the good spirit of Halloween.

However, each day, there are much realer and more haunting figures lurking in the shadows of our technology that don’t bring the same kind of enjoyment. Similar to ghouls, they haunt your devices, servers, and firewall, wreaking havoc on your employee and client data.

In honor of October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and as our duty to be your personal “ghostbuster”, we must notify you that your computer network is haunted.

That’s right, HAUNTED!

Malicious cyber criminals have an evil eye on your small business right now. Through their sophisticated and carefully planned tactics, they hack into databases to steal personally identifiable information like credit card numbers, mailing and email addresses, login IDs, and social security numbers. Cyber criminals use this stolen data to either blackmail you into paying expensive ransoms, profit from your information on the Dark Web, or swindle money directly from your bank account. *Cue evil laugh*

Not to mention, there are a shocking 82,000 NEW malware threats released daily with the intention of sneaking up on unsuspecting small businesses (just like yours) to become a victim to their clever tricks and traps.

The worst part? Hackers have been alarmingly successful. The National Cyber Security Alliance reports that 1 in 5 small businesses have been victims of cybercrime over the past year.

This kind of horror by far surpasses any scare a ghoul can accomplish.

Don’t let hackers ruin your fun this October. Scare them away with these top 7 must-have security measures.

1. Train Your Employees.

Your employees are your greatest defense against “the bad guys”. Invest in consistent training to keep them updated on the latest malicious tactics. The more they understand about cybersecurity, the better they will be at identifying and avoiding malware-infested emails that could infect your entire network.

2. Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) Is A Must-Have!

An acceptable use policy, or AUP, provides guardrails concerning the appropriate use of company devices, email best practices, and internet access on company time. This is especially important if you have employees working remotely that handle sensitive company data.

3. Enforce STRONG Passwords

Use unique, complex passwords for every account, personal or professional. A strong password should be at least 8 characters long and include a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers.

4. Update Your Network Regularly

Installing software is not a one and done type of thing. New vulnerabilities can present themselves daily. Constant monitoring paired with routine updates and application of patches is critical.

5. Back It Up

A quality backup can be your saving grace, especially in the case of a ransomware attack. Even if your employee clicks on a malicious link and ransomware holds your entire system hostage, don’t panic yet. If you have a reliable backup that is kept up-to-date, you may not have to pay to get your files back.

6. No Unauthorized Downloads

Be sure to have restrictions on company devices. Unauthorized downloads are one of the fastest ways to unknowingly download and embed malicious code into your network.

7. Invest In An Excellent Firewall

A great firewall can provide protection against outside threats by shielding your environment from unnecessary malicious network traffic. It can also help with blocking unauthorized sites that may have dangerous links on them.

Don’t Get Tricked This Halloween!

One Step Secure IT clients enjoy around the clock system monitoring, continuous cybersecurity training, proven protections, and a team of cybersecurity professionals on watch to prevent bad actors from playing a negative role in your company’s story.

Schedule a 10-minute call to tell us more about what keeps you up at night and we can answer any questions on how to keep your environment secure.

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