Ways for Protecting Small Businesses Against Cybersecurity Threats

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In the first half of 2020 alone, more than 36 billion records were exposed through cyberattacks. Data breaches not only expose highly personal information, they’re also costly: On average, businesses lose more than $200,000 from a cyberattack. More than 40% of these attacks target small businesses, most of which have no idea how to defend themselves. Considering the central role technology plays in daily business operations, small business owners need to be aware of common security measures to protect themselves from cybercriminals.

Here are some tips on how to strengthen your network security and reduce the risk of a data breach. Cyberattacks like the 2017 Equifax data breach put the personal information of millions of people at risk. Small businesses, which have fewer protections and fewer resources dedicated to cybersecurity compared to larger companies, are an easier target for hackers. According to a 2018 report from an insurance provider, the average annual cost of cyber incidents is $34,604, and only 52% of small businesses have a cyber security strategy.

A cyberattack is an unauthorized attempt to expose, destroy, or access your data. Forty-seven percent of small businesses have been affected by at least one cyber attack in the last year, according to reports.

Ways to Protect Small Businesses Against Cybersecurity Threats

Train employees in safety principles

Establish basic security policies and practices for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and create guidelines for appropriate Internet use that outline penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of conduct that describe how to handle and protect customer information and other important data.

Protect information, computers and networks from cyber attacks

Keep computers clean: The best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats is up-to-date security software, web browsers, and operating systems. Set your antivirus software to run a scan after every update. Install other important software updates as they become available.

Provide firewall security for your internet connection

A firewall is a set of programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure your operating system firewall is turned on or install free Internet firewall software. If employees work from home, make sure their home systems are protected by a firewall.

Create a mobile action plan

Mobile devices can pose significant security and management issues, especially if they contain sensitive information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to establish procedures for reporting lost or stolen devices.

Create backup copies of important business data and information

Make regular backups of data on all computers. Important data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, personnel files, and accounts receivable and payable files. Back up data automatically if possible, at least weekly, and store copies offsite or in the cloud.

Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee

Prevent unauthorized people from accessing or using company computers. Laptops are especially easy to steal or lose, so lock them up when they’re unattended. Be sure to set up a separate user account for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be granted to trusted IT personnel and key personnel.

Secure your Wi-Fi networks

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it’s secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, configure your wireless access point or router so that it does not broadcast the network name, called a service set identifier (SSID). Protect access to the router with a password.

Use best practices for payment cards

Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated fraud prevention tools and services are used. You may also have additional security obligations depending on agreements with your bank or service provider. Separate payment systems from other less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and browse the Internet.

Restrict your employees’ access to data and information and limit their authority to install software

Do not give any employee access to all data systems. Employees should only have access to the specific data systems they need to do their jobs and should not be able to install software without permission.

Passwords and authentication

Require employees to use unique passwords and change them every three months. Consider implementing multifactor authentication, which requires information other than a password to gain access. Check with your providers that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!

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