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August 16, 2016

5 ways to protect your business against cybercrime

2 min read


You might think cybercrime is something that larger businesses have to be concerned about but it is often easier to hack into the data and computers of smaller businesses. Cyber attacks on small businesses can be devastating – a majority of them are out of business six months later.

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime is a term that refers to any criminal activity that uses computers or gaining online access for illegal purposes. Two of the most common forms of cybercrime are:

  • PhishingPhishing, which involves fake sites or links sent to you in an email, which appears to be legitimate, asking you to confirm your PIN or password. Once they have that data, they use it to make unauthorized purchases on your account.
  • Identity theft occurs when someone hacks into your computer or server(s) and gets access to customers’ personal data and credit card information, again used to make bogus purchases.

Everyday online activities can expose you to crippling viruses or malware that can quickly jeopardize your business operations.

How to protect your business against cybercrime

Here are five effective ways to step up your own protection from cybercrime.

1) Monitor online purchases

If you notice any unusually large online purchases, take a further look. If there has been no customer contact, make a “customer service” call to verify the order. Automatically block any online order if any customer data field has not been completed or for orders exceeding a certain dollar amount. Require customers to provide the 3-digit security code found on the back of major credit cards. Those who have only the card data but not the physical card will not be able to complete the order.

2) Protect your network

To protect your network, servers and data, investing in up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall is critical. MacAfee and Norton are two well-known, reputable providers of anti-virus and malware detection software.

3) Encrypt sensitive data

Encryption technology converts sensitive data such as credit card info or Social Insurance Numbers into unreadable formats, rendering them useless in case hackers get into them. Encryption software is another worthwhile investment.

4) Create strong passwords

One of the simplest ways to protect your business from a data breach is to establish challenging passwords. The best practices for creating strong passwords are:

  • Use at least 8 characters or longer
  • Use a combination of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols
  • Use different passwords for email, online accounts, data warehouse, etc. Do NOT use the same password across your system, because this will give hackers easy access to all of your data.

5) Beware of public wi-fi

It is certainly convenient to do business on the run, using your laptop or tablet while grabbing a coffee but free Wi-Fi may come at a price. Public Wi-Fi is not usually secured or password protected so never use it for online banking or purchases or to access any sensitive data. It is better to sign in on your own wireless plan first and use secure access for these activities.

Get cyber safe

Check out the Government of Canada’s site for lots of additional info about protecting yourself and your business from online criminals.

Insurance options for cybercrime protection

Protecting your business from theft and fire is one thing; now additional protection in case of data theft or a firewall breach is available. If you have any questions about cybercrime or would like a no-obligation quote on cyber insurance, contact one of our business insurance brokers today at 1-800-731-2228 or When it comes to your commercial insurance needs, we’re the experts you can trust!

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Speak with a Mitch Insurance broker today to get a quote on Ontario business insurance. Learn more >

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