Don’t make the mistake of thinking your small business cybersecurity isn’t at risk due to size. According to a 2017 report from the Better Business Bureau, smaller businesses that were a target of a cyber attack had an estimated overall annual loss of $80,000 as a result.
Without proper protection, you’re leaving your business open to a cyber attack and making your customers’ data vulnerable to theft. Allowing sensitive data like credit card numbers, names and addresses to get into the wrong hands can lead to decreased customer trust in your business. Research shows that 74 percent of customers will move to a competitor in the event of a security breach.
Small businesses must make cyber security a top priority and invest in the technology, resources, finances and legal knowledge necessary to ensure proper protection. It’s important to assess and tighten up cyber security measures on a regular basis.
7 Tips to Improve Your Small Business Cybersecurity
These 7 tips are the minimum measures to take for better cybersecurity. Put them in place and then, if you’re still unsure about whether your network is secure enough, talk to a trusted IT consultant who can provide an assessment and recommendations to lessen the risk of cyber security threats.
- Complex, regularly changed passwords: Requiring a complex or “strong” password is of the utmost importance, because it makes them that much harder for hackers to crack. Make sure you implement a system or use a password generator tool that involves a certain level of complexity in user passwords (e.g. capital and lowercase letters, numbers, special characters). For an added layer of protection, change passwords regularly (e.g. every 45-90 days).
- Current antivirus and antimalware protection: Professional grade antivirus and antimalware software is a must. Check if all devices used by your business have the latest de-bugged versions of software and operating systems. If upgraded versions are available, install them now.
- Spam filtering: Spam filters keep 99 percent of spam and phishing emails out of your inbox, protecting your business and providing a better experience for your users.
- Business-class firewall: On top of the router your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may have installed, you’ll need a firewall to manage the traffic you allow into your network and which websites employees visit on your network, preventing them from accidentally visiting compromised websites.
- Selective Wi-Fi® permissions: Setting up permissions on your Wi-Fi network to limit authorized users and their activities will help you protect sensitive data on your network. Set up a “guest” network for customers, vendors, contractors, and friends visiting your office.
- Patch management: Patches are the updates that software manufacturers release on a regular basis to fix known system issues and protect against security vulnerabilities. Patch management refers to the process of making sure patches are tested, rolled out, installed and up-to-date on the technologies that need them. Keep devices up to date so hackers can’t exploit known security weaknesses. Just one machine without the latest patches creates an easy target and may put your entire network at risk.
- Restorable backup solution: With a reliable backup in place, if a virus or other infection makes it to your systems, you’ll still have all your data and you’ll be up and running again in no time.
Essential Cyber Security Training
Stay secure and protect your customers with up-to-date cyber security training. Cyber Security Tools for Today’s Environment is an 11-course training program designed to help businesses like yours improve security techniques. It covers everything from Data Security in the Cloud to Cryptography Fundamentals, Mobile Device Security and more. Get this program for your company today!
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Gordon, Andrew. (16 Apr 2018). GSISS 2018: Cyber security spotlight on small business. Digital Pulse.
Kaufman, Courtney. (27 Apr 2018). Cybersecurity tips for small business owners. The Sun.
Wolf, Connor D. (25 Apr 2018). How Cyber Security Impacts Small Businesses. InsideSources.