You’ve probably heard about the massive Russian cyber attack that impacted several United States government agencies, along with businesses across the country. The full scope of the incident is still not clear and it may never be, but it could be among the largest and most dangerous in U.S. history.

What is clear is that the hackers were able to gain access to the emails and internal files of the Treasury and Commerce departments. It’s likely that other government agencies, and potentially many U.S. businesses, including legal and financial firms, could have been impacted.

These organizations were forced to scramble to plug the leaks revealed by the breach. The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity unit has directed all federal agencies to remove compromised network management software. Thousands of companies are doing the same.

This has left many business owners and IT professionals concerned about the cyber security of their organizations. After all, if major government agencies can be hacked, how can anyone feel confident that they won’t be, as well?

Here are some lessons learned from the recent cyber security breach.

Offense is better than defense.

People working at government agencies and the companies impacted by the cyber breach are now scrambling to figure out the extent of the damage and who and what was impacted. American citizens are worried about whether their personal information was compromised. And businesses are concerned about what impact it will have on their finances, reputations and futures. It can be expensive to recover from a hack. In many cases, businesses are forced to close because their reputations are harmed and can’t be repaired.

That’s why it’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to protecting your systems and data. Take steps now to safeguard your business against the next attack, rather than waiting to be the victim of it. The experts at GeeksHD are available to do a scan of your systems and software to find out whether you have vulnerabilities that could leave you exposed to getting hacked.

It isn’t just a government-against-government issue.

Many businesses may be lulled into complacency by the latest news thinking that all attacks are a government-against-government thing. That’s not the case. While some of the biggest attacks are global governments hitting on each other, the vast majority of them are smaller hackers focused on less prominent targets, such as businesses and individuals.

The large-scale attacks make the news because they’re still rare enough that they’re newsworthy. Smaller hacks aren’t covered because they’re so commonplace the media doesn’t pay attention to them anymore. Treat the coverage of big attacks like the Russian hack as a reminder to regularly check the cyber security of your operation.

Don’t just protect against the last attack. Prepare for the next one, as well.

Many organizations make the mistake of only protecting their systems against the issues that lead to the last attack. Sure, it’s important to avoid making the same mistake twice. However, it’s unlikely that hackers will go back to their old tactics. They are too smart for that. They’re already moving on to their next schemes.

That’s why it’s important for IT experts to stay up-to-date on the latest hacking tactics. Regularly brainstorm the ways your organization could be vulnerable. Take part in webinars and updates that provide information on emerging cyber attack methods and how you can avoid being vulnerable to them.

If you don’t have the people you need to protect your business, the experts at GeeksHD are available to help. It’s our job to stay current on everything that’s going on so we can look out for our clients.

It isn’t just the Russians.

Russians aren’t the only people conducting attacks. It’s also the Chinese, people in other parts of the world, thieves in the United States and more.

Don’t think you’re safe because Russians would never care about your business or what you do. They do. And so do criminals around the world and within your organization. Not only do they want your business secrets, they also want your client data. Plus, unhappy employees or vendors might have something against you and may try to bring down your operation just to get back at you.

Sure, the news today is about Russians waging war on big U.S. government agencies. That doesn’t mean they and others aren’t ready to go to battle against smaller targets, like you.

Simple mistakes can bring down institutions. And YOUR operation.

It seems likely that the massive breach happened because the Russians were able to figure out a password used by a software company. The firm used a simple and easy-to-figure-out password and the Russians were able to exploit it. This allowed them to gain control over a software used by all the agencies and businesses that were hacked. This provides a valuable lesson on why it’s important to practice sound cyber security best practices every minute of every day, no exceptions. A single small human error is all it takes for hackers to break into systems and wreak havoc.

You owe it to yourself to make sure you’re not doing anything that could compromise your software, systems and data. Contact the experts at GeeksHD, who can help you find vulnerabilities within your operation that could make you a victim of a hack from Russia or anywhere else.