Small businesses are often called the backbone of the entire US economy.
In fact, small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all U.S. companies. With so many other small businesses to compete with, it's no wonder that being an entrepreneur can be so difficult. But, business owners don't need to only worry about competition.
Cybersecurity is another major concern that small business owners need to keep in their minds. Without the extensive budget of a larger firm, small businesses may find it difficult to allocate the time and resources to beef up their cyber defenses.
But, not all hope is lost. There is an entire industry built around providing online security solutions to small businesses. In today's article, we're going to discuss cyber security concerns for small businesses and how to keep yourself protected.
Understand That the Threat Is Real
Approximately 87 percent of small business owners believe that their business is not at risk of being hacked. You may have been one of these people at some point.
The truth is, it can be very easy for your company's servers to become compromised if you're not a tech-focused business. But, if you are compromised, the results could be catastrophic. Many small businesses depend on a small group of loyal customers, and exposing their private data to hackers could force you to close down business.
While the threat does indeed loom, there are plenty of methods you can take to help prevent this scenario.
First and foremost, you need to...
1. Train Your Staff
Hackers have to get to your company's personal information somehow, but it's not always through brute force.
More often than not, compromises result from weak passwords and social engineering.
You should properly educate your staff on how to keep their information and credentials protected. This is one of the most effective security solutions you can implement for your business.
These practices include creating a strong, unique password for each account they use to log in with and setting up two factor authentication. They should ideally use a password manager to keep their credentials secure, and protect it with a strong master password.
Employees should also be educated about phishing emails and social engineering. A common scam these days is to send an email to an employee pretending to be the CEO, asking for the employee to wire funds to an account. The email looks so legitimate that many people fall for it.
Continually remind your staff of the dangers lurking on the internet and show them examples of how sophisticated these attacks can be. They will think twice before taking action on an unknown email and could save your business from intrusion.
2. Update Your Software
There are too many entrepreneurs out there who forego updating their software when they need to.
Many of them don't budget the time, but some are just plain lazy. Regardless of why their software is outdated, it's putting them at risk.
Quite literally, refusing to update your computer's software is the equivalent of leaving the back door to your house wide open.
Hackers know that many small businesses are running older programs, so they target them specifically because it's easy to slip in and out undetected.
But, out of all the security solutions for this issue, the answer is simple: update your software.
Rather than putting it off or worrying about if an update from Apple or Microsoft is going to change your workflow, let it happen.
Protecting your company's intellectual property is worth any minor adjustments you may have to make.
3. Backup Your Files
This is another practice that people tend to forget about or ignore. Backing up your files is often the only way to retrieve them if they are stolen or deleted.
You should also backup your clients' information, too, so that productivity loss is minimized should an attack occur.
The safest precautionary measure is to have all data in at least two separate locations, one physical and one virtual.
For example, you may keep a large hard drive in your office that has all of your company's archives on it. Similarly, you should also have all of this information safely secured away in cloud storage.
It goes without saying that any backups you have should be both encrypted and password protected, and stored with a trusted server provider like ServerMania.
4. Require Permissions
You should never let anyone outside of your company access company information. This includes close friends, family, and even clients.
"Access" doesn't pertain to just usernames and passwords. You should never even let anyone, but employees use an office computer.
When it comes to employees, not everyone should have universal access to company info. You should give lower ranking employees the bare minimum they need to accomplish their tasks.
Higher ranking employees typically enjoy greater permissions, but some companies leave certain data for executives only.
An easy way to manage what your employees can and cannot get into is by giving everyone their own unique logins.
5. Protect Your Connections
Having a WiFi network that allows anyone to connect to it is one of the worst things that a business can do.
Your WiFi and networks should be password protected, and your company should share the password with employees only. If you operate a network for customers to use, it should be completely separate from the network you do business on.
Even if they are trusted clients, you must assume the worst when it comes to cybersecurity. As soon as you introduce an infected device on the network, every computer could be compromised.
Taking the time to make sure your connection is secure could mean the difference between success and a potentially fatal blow to your company.
Security Solutions Are Vital for Your Business
No matter what industry you operate in, it's absolutely necessary to secure your company's private information.
Failure to take precautionary measures can only have unfavorable consequences.
Get in touch with us for more information on what you can do to improve your company's cybersecurity.