The digital age allows businesses of all sizes to explore their potential. The latest applications allow for easier employee communication, sophisticated data storage, as well as coordinating organizational logistics. Effectively, going digital catapults small business owners into larger markets on a national and global scale. But with the adoption of digital technology comes the concern for cybersecurity.
According to recent statistics,
- 87 percent of small business owners do not feel their business is at risk of a data breach.
- 12 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack in the past.
- 17 percent of small business owners have installed antivirus software into their computer systems.
Small businesses have a moderate amount of data with minimal security, which makes them an attractive target for hackers. In fact, the theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, exceeding physical theft. Hackers aim for information such as vendor identity, transaction details, employee records, and customer data. Some of the most frequent types of attacksinclude:
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks overload the server with requests in order to shut down the network or website.
- Keylogging is a form of password attack where a hacker keeps track of a user’s keystrokes such as login IDs and passwords.
- Phishing involves a legitimate-looking (fraudulent in reality) website collecting sensitive information like credit card information from unsuspecting users.
- Ransomware is a malware that locks you out of your computer and threatens to publish private information unless paid a ransom.
While information technology and the Internet are extremely important tools for market survival and success, you need a cybersecurity strategy to protect your business from growing threats. By using the following cybersecurity measures, you can prepare your small business for cyber attacks.
Employees are crucial to putting your cyber security plan into action. When designing a cyber security policy for your business, include your expectations from employees as well as protocols to follow in case of a data breach. Employees must create unique and strong passwords for each account, including business, desktop and mobile devices. Implementing the two-step factor authentication sign-in process provides an additional layer of security to small businesses. Stay up-to-date on current cyber security measures, and send out regular tips to employees.
Running an older software, web browser or operating system is a huge security risk. Have a regular update schedule for your computers, or just set them to auto-update. All software, including employee devices, apps and cloud software, should be updated. This applies across all your devices such as laptops, desktops and mobiles. It ensures your operating systems and browsers are up-to-date and armed with the latest version of security software.
Consistently back up the data on your devices. In the event that your information goes missing or is stolen, you will have another copy to continue running your business operations. All data should be stored in two separate platforms, such as a portable hard drive or the cloud. Setting up automatic daily backups on both these platforms means that you never run the risk of losing critical data to a cyber attack.
Safeguard Payment Process
Use the most reliable and validated anti-fraud services and applications for your business transactions. Constantly communicate with your banks and card processors to ensure you are using the best tools for protecting your payment processes. Look over your agreement with them in terms of security obligations. Remove payment systems from less secure programs. Do not use the same device to process your transactions and surf the Internet.
Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks
Your Wi-Fi network is an easy route to access your business information. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your office, restrict its access to employees only. Additionally, you can set up the Wi-Fi in a way that nobody except you knows the password. Make sure the network is secure, hidden and encrypted. Program your wireless point or router to not broadcast your business network’s name (Service Set Identifier or SSID). If you want to provide your customers with Wi-Fi access, set up another network for them. This prevents unknown people from gaining entry into your business files.
For more information on smart technology, cyber security measures, and software applications, please contact us.