You can’t deny that today we are living in an era of unprecedented technological progress. Particularly in the business world, we find ourselves more empowered day by day with the onslaught of fresh applications and features promising to extend our reach and drive success. There’s a reason, after all, that business leaders like Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson argue that right now is a better time than ever to start a scrappy new company.

But this trend, in which firms become ever more inseparable from the technologies they depend on, is a double-edged sword.

Though tech continues to break down barriers to success in practice, its forward motion is naturally accompanied by a newfound vulnerability. Each development is accompanied by a weakness to exploit – a back door through which hackers can wreak havoc on firms and customers alike.

This should be obvious to anyone who has even the barest awareness of the news. As the list of Fortune 500 companies that fall victim to cyber-attacks grows, we all need to learn from their mistakes and batten down our digital hatches in anticipation of a potential breach.

So what can you do to ensure you don't fall victim?

  • If you have legacy equipment that is outside of maintenance and support question do I really need this? If not update to newer supported technology. If you still need it, make sure you lock down who can access it and how it is to be accessed. Then start planning to replace it in the short to medium term.
  • Stay up to date on changes to laws such as Australia's Notifiable Data Breach amendments to the Australian Privacy Principles.
  • Ensure passwords are completely different, preferably randomly generated and stored in password databases secured with a memorable 30 (or more) character phrase that only you know and don't write down or share with anyone.
  • Train staff regularly with Cyber Security Awareness training so they are less likely to fall victim to social engineering such as phishing attacks.
  • Patch, Patch, Patch and then patch some more. Ensure all devices on your network whether they be a printer, a switch, a router, a desktop, a mobile or a server are all kept up to date with patches.
  • Setup dark web monitoring so you can pro actively monitor the dark web for credential exposure giving you the peace of mind that you can get that password changed before a hacker can use it.

Don’t let it happen. Address cyber-attacks before they become an issue, and get a talented, experienced, around-the-clock team to defend your livelihood. It takes vigilance, research and constant upkeep to keep the wolves at bay. Protect your practice or, before you know it, there won’t be anything left to protect at all.

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