How South African Businesses can Protect Digital Data During the COVID-19 Pandemic

South Africa remains an economic leader on the African continent. With the nation’s technological advancement, several firms are adopting digital solutions for the storage of data. However, despite this, efforts being made towards cybersecurity are still low. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, firms are switching to remote working. With this development, hackers are increasingly targeting South Africans. So, how do you protect digital data in these troubled times?

Dealing with data security during the Covid 19 pandemic
Dealing with data security during the Covid 19 pandemic

Since the cybersecurity culture in the nation is not widespread, these criminals are recording successful attacks. South Africa has been a target of cyber attacks including malware and ransomware. It is also one of the countries receiving the highest number of attacks in Africa. Some banks in the country have also suffered attacks and data breaches.

Nedbank was the most affected bank as it lost the information of 1.7 million customers to hackers. According to Accenture, South Africa is ranked third on the list of digital attacks. It is believed that hackers find South African companies and individuals as juicy targets because of the low cybersecurity level in the nation.

Steps to Improve your Firm’s Cybersecurity Level

To protect your business from getting attacked by hackers, follow the tips below.

Organize Cybersecurity Training for your Employees

This is the most important tip. Most times, cyber-criminals target an employee to access a company’s remote workplace. If your employees can identify cyber-attacks like phishing, there will be highly reduced chances of hackers getting your data.

Once the training is complete, enforce digital security culture in the workplace. First, limit employees’ access to data. Second, encourage your workers to use strong passwords and change passwords every quarter. Third, mandate employees to only access data through office computers.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication keeps hackers out of your workplace’s online accounts. It is like a code that is required after a password is inserted. This way, if a hacker gets access to your username and password, the additional code would prevent the criminal from gaining access. This code could be in the form of a text message or a personal question.

Create Backups of your Data

In case your office computers get hit with ransomware, you’ll need to have a backup. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access from your computer files. The hackers behind the attack would then threaten to delete the entirety of your files unless you make a ransom payment.

Firms that don’t have backups usually get their files lost and sometimes never even recover from the blow. The payment of the ransom does not even guarantee the recovery of the files. Make sure you backup your company’s data to an encrypted external hard drive or a cloud service.

Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN is a security tool that encrypts the internet traffic flowing into and from a device. It protects users from having their data spied on.

This app protects workers when they’re connected to public Wi-Fi. Sometimes, hackers compromise these networks to get data from devices connected to it. Once you connect to a VPN to encrypt your network data, your internet activity would be unable to be tracked.

Firms need these tools to ensure that hackers can never access employees’ login credentials or any company data. A travelling member or a freelance employee can connect to a firm’s online workplace knowing that their traffic is secured.

Final Words on how to Protect Digital Data

Because of the weak cybersecurity level in the country, hackers have begun targeting South African firms and individuals. Many of these attacks have been successful with several businesses losing their data and individuals’ privacy getting compromised.

To prevent your firm from becoming a statistic, you can create frequent backups of your company’s data, use two-factor authentication for employees, and encourage digital security culture in the workplace.

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