Hackers don’t only set their sights on mega-corporations with massive amounts of data. In fact, approximately half of all cybersecurity attacks target small businesses. Why? Small businesses are less likely to have sophisticated digital security measures in place. Also, criminals focus efforts on cracking into small companies to make it easier to hack into the networks of the large businesses that small businesses are connected with.
Data breaches have the potential to impair or destroy your business. According to the National Cyber Security Institute’s findings, 60 percent of small and mid-sized companies go out of business within six months after getting hacked. With the survival of your business at stake, it’s critical to take measures to protect your information. Fortunately, by taking some simple steps, you can decrease your company’s risks of falling prey to hackers and unauthorized users who want to steal to your data.
9 Tips for Protecting Your Small Business from Cybersecurity Threats
- Keep computers and other devices out of reach of anyone who is not authorized to use them. Set up a lock-screen so others cannot access your computer when you step away from your desk.
- Update computers and other devices with the latest security software. Utilize up-to-date browsers and operating systems for optimal security, as well.
- Secure your Wi-Fi connection: create a unique password for your router, change your wireless network’s name (SSID), enable network encryption, and upgrade your router’s firmware.
- Have a firewall in place to protect your Internet connection. Set up a firewall at your office, as well as home offices, if you and any employees work remotely.
- Educate employees about best practices regarding creating and storing passwords for various accounts. Keep passwords strong and use two-factor authentication when possible, as recommended by Security Today.
- Show employees how to recognize phishing and scams. According to Symantec’s February 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, employees of small organizations were more likely than those in large organizations to be hit by email threats—such as spam, phishing, and email malware—in 2018. Employees need to be on alert for emails with zip files and attachments (such as invoices or receipts) with malicious code that will download malware to the user’s device when the attachment is opened. In addition, it is important to avoid clicking links that look suspicious.
- Protect mobile devices and set up passwords to unlock devices, encrypt data on mobile devices, install security apps to prevent unauthorized access to data when a device is on, and install anti-virus and anti-malware software on devices.
- Choose your bank and credit card companies carefully—look for those with the best anti-fraud protections.
- Be selective about who you allow to access your data and the degree of access you give to individuals. In other words, only grant access if it’s absolutely needed.
If you want to learn more about how to protect your business, consider visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s CyberSecurity for Small Business online education and resource guide. It covers a full range of topics to help you put a plan in place. Also, reach out to your SCORE mentor for input and feedback as you take action to safeguard your business.