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Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses | One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is thinking that they’re too small to be targeted by hackers and cybercriminals. They don’t realize that with little or no cybersecurity measures in place, they’re practically sitting ducks for them. In this post, we’ll share 10 cybersecurity tips for small businesses you can use to protect yourself, and avoid data loss, fraud, and identity theft, etc.
Read on to learn them!
Understanding What’s at Risk If You Don’t have a Cybersecurity Plan
Thanks to the internet, small businesses can attract new audiences and work more efficiently by using a variety of tools. In between working on their operations and dealing with customers, most small businesses forget or ignore who else they’re attracting to their business. As businesses grow and become popular, they become more prone to cyber-attacks.
These attacks put their data, money, and equipment at great risk of damage, depending on what they find. This includes:
- Your client list and their personal information
- Customer credit card information
- Your company’s financial details
- Your plans and product designs
- Your business strategy and manufacturing processes
Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses
Small businesses finally realized the importance of cybersecurity as they dealt with the mountain of attacks during COVID-19, especially when working remotely. The following are our top 10 cybersecurity tips for small businesses:
1. Don’t Think Your Company Is Too Small
As mentioned earlier, small companies underestimate their company’s value and believe that their operation is too small to capture the attention of cybercriminals. So, they feel they don’t need a full-scale security solution. Frequency of cyber-attacks has increased, but cybercriminals are becoming bolder and more creative.
Moreover, sometimes they might target other companies through you by stealing your company’s identity. For example, they could gain control of your intellectual property and sensitive data to use it against you and others. So, even though you might not be their main target, gaining access to your network could be a stepping stone to hacking other networks.
2. Train Employees and Make them Accountable
According to research, employees are most vulnerable to cyber-attacks. There are many ways this can happen. An employee could be using a public Wi-Fi network while working remotely from a coffee shop, or they could accidentally open a fraudulent email that deploys viruses on the network. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to educate your employees by investing in cybersecurity training.
Next, you need to establish security practices and policies for employees and make them accountable for security breaches by establishing penalties and rules of engagement in handling and protecting data.
3. Back-Up and Encrypt Everything
In the digital era, you cannot rely on a single data access point. You need to back up anything you can’t afford to lose on multiple devices. However, with cloud computing now in full-speed, you can store and back up your valuable data without using any external devices. This way, you don’t need to worry about natural disasters or faulty drives destroying your data.
Moreover, you must ensure that the information you backed up is secure. You can do this by encrypting the files and emails that contain valuable information.
4. Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks
Most businesses have a dedicated Wi-Fi network at their workplace. To boost cybersecurity, you need to ensure that your network is secure, hidden, and encrypted. You can set up your router to broadcast anonymously using Service Set Identifier (SSID). Furthermore, you can also register the MAC addresses of employee devices and grant access to them only.
5. Don’t Use Freeware
As a small business, it’s understandable that you want to save as much money and resources as possible. But cybersecurity isn’t the area where you cut costs. Yes, you can find thousands of free options for anti-virus software. However, only a few are reliable, and some may even contain malware. Investing in popular security software for small businesses is worth every penny.
Good antivirus software can protect all your devices from spyware, phishing scams, and ransomware. Moreover, paid software can also help clean your computers and devices regularly, especially after infection.
6. Protect Your Hardware and Mobile Devices
Many organizations follow most of these cybersecurity tips for small businesses to protect their networks. But what if your hardware or mobile device gets stolen? You must ensure that all employees keep data in their laptops and cell phones safe, especially when working remotely.
7. Passwords and Authentication
If you can’t invest in the latest software and protection technology, the least you can do is have your employees employ some useful habits such as changing their passwords every 2 to 3 months. 2-factor authentication via text messaging is an economical way to add another security layer. This way, employees will receive a text message containing a one-time password that they must enter to login.
8. Use VPN
Another inexpensive way to boost cybersecurity is through VPNs. Virtual Private Networks enable secure encrypted tunnels between the employee’s device and a remote server. This is a great way to protect sensitive data from hackers that might be targeting your Wi-Fi device.
9. Learn to Recognize Social Engineering Attacks
If you actively use your email for communication, you need to stay alert for phishing emails. The best way to that is to ensure you don’t click on web links until you can assure that the email is authentic. There are many clues in the email that can help you recognize social engineering attacks.
For instance, phishing emails usually come with typos, generic greetings, unusual context, and file attachments.
10. Keep Your Work Devices Separate
As mentioned earlier, you need to protect the data on your laptop and mobile devices. A great way to do that is by avoiding using the same devices for business and pleasure. You don’t need to own two phones, but owning a laptop that’s dedicated for work is a smart idea.
Considering the rise of attacks in the last year, it’s about time you prioritize cybersecurity and implement the best practices. Most of these cybersecurity tips for small businesses are easy to follow but can be time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Percento Technologies can address your entire network, identify vulnerabilities, and develop cybersecurity solutions specific to your needs. For more information, feel free to get in touch.