The first signs that your business is under a cyber attack might be as subtle as a system slowdown or as obvious and frightening as a full lockout of all your computers. What you might not know at that moment when you realize that you’re a victim of a cybersecurity breach is that your business has likely been under hacker control for weeks, or many even months before they make themselves known to you. Its called “dwell time” and in cybersecurity circles its defined as the time from when the hackers are initially able to infiltrate an organization to the time at which the organization discovers that they are under attack.

This timeline can be anywhere from the average 49 days to 150 or more days. In that time hackers are quietly lurking, slowly and methodically gaining access to all computers and valuable business information before they are satisfied that they have what they need to launch a full-on attack and shutdown the system until payment is received.

What’s equally frightening is that a recent IBM 2021 survey identified the average time to contain a breach from discovery to remediation was 287 days. That timeline can often be too costly for many small and medium business to survive. So how do you protect your business? Here are three ways you to enable you to respond quickly and prevent or reduce the severity of a cyber attack.

Top 3 things you can do to protect your business from hackers

  1. Tools: Early detection is key. Make sure that you install anti-virus, anti-spyware, internet firewalls and a monitored intrusion prevention system to keep hackers out and alert you to suspicious activity early – before the damage is able to spread.
  2. People:  Alerts are great but as we’ve noted, response time is critical to prevent a breach or drastically reduce the severity of an attack. Having a system that is monitored by skilled cybersecurity experts who can identify and shut down threats quickly, is key in preventing a costly breach.
  3. Plan: Be prepared. Not system is foolproof. Work with your IT support staff to create a plan that details the steps you should take to prevent an attack along with the steps to respond when an attack does occur. This will not only reduce your risk, it will also reduce the impact of an attack so your business can be up and running in no time.

Staying ahead of the threats is an everyday challenge and not one that most business owners can, or should manage alone. The good news is that tools to fight cyber threats have also been growing and now more than ever business have the resources available to help them protect their data.

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