With most businesses having some sort of online presence these days, operating any company without a fundamental understanding of cybersecurity is a horrible idea. While it might seem like an irrelevant topic to a novice entrepreneur who doesn’t really understand what’s at stake, it’s never wise to wait until the consequences have materialized to educate yourself about the ever-growing list of risks that exist on the web. Instead, take a more proactive approach by heeding the following four tips to keep your companies protected from the majority of common cyber threats:

1. Earn a Degree in Cyber Security

Advanced cybersecurity simply isn’t a topic that someone can learn leisurely. To really possess an extensive understanding of the threats that your companies face, it would be best to take a course or complete a degree program on the subject. You could earn a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security in just 2 years and you’d have a skill set that would not only help you protect your own companies, but also make you an ideal candidate for high-paying IT positions in the corporate realm.

2. Hire an IT Specialist

Although managing your own cybersecurity would be best because you’d have the comfort of knowing that you’re directly overseeing the situation, hiring an IT specialist is certainly the more convenient and commonly chosen route. However, be aware that the cost of hiring an IT pro can be quite expensive and is therefore not a suitable option for bootstrapped startups or inexperienced entrepreneurs who are operating on a budget.

3. Install Enterprise-Level Antivirus Software

Standard consumer-grade antivirus software is usually fine for personal PCs, but when the fate of your entire company is on the line, it’s better to have the most extensive enterprise cybersecurity suite you can afford. Enterprise licenses will give you the ability to install the software on dozens or hundreds of PCs in your network, thus ensuring that the online actions of your employees don’t negatively affect company security.

4. Create Backups Frequently

Finally, creating frequent server backups is a step that should be taken by any entrepreneur who wants to keep their company’s data safe from ransomware and other forms of malware that can affect the integrity of file systems. By keeping continually updated and synced backups of your websites and databases on a separate server or hard drive, you’ll always have the redundancy of being able to instantly restore your files and pages in the event of data loss, theft, or corruption.

The Line Between Cyber Security and Real-Life Security is Blurring

As mobile devices and Internet of Everything (IoT) devices continue to become more ubiquitous in today’s world, the implications of a hacker or malicious software gaining access to your operating systems, passwords, and device privileges are becoming increasingly frightening with each passing year. With the advent of the “dark web” and such risks often translating into very real consequences in the offline world, it has never been more important for entrepreneurs to possess a well-rounded understanding of cybersecurity.