Are you worried about a cyber attack? Cybercriminals don’t just target the large businesses. About 43 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses.
Cyber attacks happen more often than you may think. A recent study estimates there is a cyber attack every 39 seconds! This is why you need to read these cybersecurity tips to keep your business and customers safe.
Why Do Criminals Target Small Businesses?
Many criminals don’t have the skills (or patience) to target larger corporations. Most large businesses have a cybersecurity team to keep data safe. Smaller businesses tend to be more vulnerable because they don’t have a budget for these security measures.
Small businesses also overlook the value of the information they have. Any identifiable customer information on a customer is lucrative for criminals. This information includes email addresses, credit cards, addresses, and phone numbers.
Types of Cyber Attacks
Cyberattacks constantly evolve. Some of their more common methods have been around for a while.
Phishing is a business email compromise. These emails look like they come from a company when they are from a criminal to try to collect personal information. The email link can also include a malware website to download ransomware.
Drive-by downloads attempt to download software on your computer without permission. This could even happen with proper security systems if the operating system is outdated.
Watering holes are websites that have been hijacked and turned into malicious websites. The site’s owner may not even know this happens. These sites try to install malware on a device after the user clicks on a link or downloads a file.
Let’s discuss how to protect your business from these attacks.
1. Secure Your Network
You should secure your internet connect by encrypting information and using a firewall. Use a secure Wi-Fi network for your business. Make sure this network is hidden even if it is password protected.
To hide this network, set up your wireless router to not broadcast your network name or Service Set Identifier (SSID). Then add the password protect access to the router. You should also choose a name that does not identify your business.
You can also secure your company’s information with a virtual private network (VPN). If someone gets ahold of your information, they will only get encrypted (or scrambled) data. That’s because VPNs encrypt all the data entering and leaving each of your devices.
2. Use Strong Passwords
It’s important to educate your employees on secure passwords. You want to make sure your employees use strong passwords. To help remember strong passwords, use a reputable password management program.
These programs store passwords in one place and allow them to make strong, complex passwords. You need a password to access the program and the passwords, so employees only need to remember that password.
The general rule for strong passwords is to include upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Passwords should be at least 10 characters.
Remind employees to change passwords often and advise them to never write down passwords near computers or workstations.
3. Install Antivirus Software
You should equip all your business’s computers with antispyware and antivirus software. Make sure you update these programs regularly. You can configure the software to install updates automatically so you don’t have to worry about updating.
4. Train Employees
You should establish basic security policies and practices for employees. This includes internet use, passwords, and downloading programs. Make sure you also set procedures for protecting customer data and other vital information.
You should also have a security plan in place if there is a security breach. Learn more about a cybersecurity response plan in this article.
5. Backup Data
You have to back up your data on every computer. You should backup data automatically or at least every week. Store copies offsite or keep data in the cloud.
Information you should backup includes financial files, human resource documents, electronic spreadsheets, word processing documents, and payable files.
Some businesses are moving to cloud computing which stores everything on the cloud and backups information and data automatically.
6. Ensure Secure Credit Card Processing
You need to contact your card processors and banks to make sure they have anti-fraud services and trusted tools to keep your customers safe. You may even need additional security obligations.
Make sure you use different computers to process payments and also use the internet. You should isolate your payment systems to lower your chances of something getting mixed up
7. Secure All Devices
You want to make sure that unauthorized individuals don’t access your business equipment. Laptops and cell phones are easy theft targets.
You should create separate user accounts for each employee. You want to make sure that each employee only has the access he or she needs. You don’t want full privileges on all equipment.
You should also require employees to password protect mobile devices if they have access to your corporate information or other confidential information. You can also require employees to have security apps on mobile phones to prevent malware and criminals from stealing data while the phone is on a public network.
Have a procedure for when equipment is lost and stolen. This includes after hour contacts.
Follow These Cybersecurity Tips
Keeping your business and customer data safe is vital to all your business operations. Using these cybersecurity tips will help keep this information safe.
Remember, education is important. Make sure you educate your employees on any safety procedures, updating passwords, and any lost or stolen equipment contacts. Tell employees about phishing and emails and hold them accountable for any downloads from the internet that could be detrimental to your company’s security.
Another way you can test these programs and all your security measures is to hack yourself. See if you can access information if you were someone else. You should also practice drills with employees so they can practice procedures if you are hacked because this is the best way to see if you missed something.
Check out some other advice on our website for your small business. You can find information such as marketing or personal or professional growth.