Small business owners are wrong to assume that cybercriminals will not attack them due to the trivial nature of their operations. The mindset that there is not much available to steal is common with most modern business operators. It is a mindset that is not only incorrect but also out of sync with recommended cybersecurity best practices.
Findings from a Congressional Small Business Committee sitting in the U.S established that close to 71 percent of all cyber-attacks target companies or businesses with an employee base of less than 100. Additionally, BroadbandSearch points out that by the end of 2019 there will be an attack on small businesses every 14 seconds.
So, what can you do to protect your business from cyber criminals? The following are 7 cybersecurity tips to get you started.
1. Use a Firewall
A firewall acts as the first line of defense when faced with a cyberattack. It helps to provide a barrier between the cybercriminals and your essential business data. Apart from installing the normal external firewall, you should also consider installing a second internal firewall.
It will help provide additional protection. If your companies regularly work away from the office or from their homes, have them secure their home networks with an internal firewall.
Your business can provide support and the software required for the firewall. It will help guarantee compliance.
2. Practice Proper Password Management
You are required to log-in to multiple business services on any given day. To avoid the hassle associated with remembering passwords, many employees choose to write them down.
Others choose to reuse passwords and stick to something that they can remember. But as convenient as this is, it ends up making you more vulnerable.
Encourage your people to use a combination of strong characters, and to cease reusing passwords.
3. Plan for Mobile Devices
According to the 2016 Tech Pro BYOD research, 59 percent of businesses today allow employees to bring their personal gadgets to the office. While this policy is good, it also calls for the business to put in place a well-documented BYOD policy.
The policy ought to focus on various security precautions targeting wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches. Many wearables in use today have wireless capabilities.
4. Do Not Click On Email Links and Avoid Downloading Attachments
One of the cardinal rules when it comes to cybersecurity is to resist the temptation to open every link emailed to you. Additionally, you should only download an attachment or click on a link originating from a known sender. Upskilled, an online education provider states that “email is the number one vehicle for both malware distribution and phishing.
If you notice anything unusual or suspicious about the sender’s email, get in touch with the said person to verify the contents of the attachment.
5. Backup Your Data Frequently
Firewalls, antivirus systems, and intrusion detection systems can only do so much. Despite the security measures that you have put in place, there is always a possibility that you may get breached.
According to the SBA, you should back up your word documents, accounts payable/receivable files, electronic spreadsheets, human resources files, and databases on a regular basis.
Ensure that you have uploaded all the data into your cloud as well.
6. Exercise Caution When Working on Unsecured Networks
Today’s business professionals have the option of working from any location they choose. While home and business networks are considered safe, the professional may opt to work from an internet café or to connect to an open public Wi-Fi.
Doing so will void all the security measures that you have already put in place as their devices can easily become targets when using such networks. Caution your workforce against using unsecured networks which are quite common in public meeting areas like coffee shops.
7. Monitor Your Business Accounts
Closely monitoring the business accounts will let you notice any suspicious activity that could be taking place. Unfamiliar activity is a clear indication that someone has breached the account. You can secure your accounts using multi-factor authentication processes. They will provide a second layer of protection against cyber attacks.