Most small business owners make the mistake of thinking their livelihood is safe from a cyber-attack. What could a hacker possibly want with such small potatoes, right?
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Hackers like to target small businesses because they often don’t have the knowledge or resources to protect themselves properly. Many are also unable to do much about it once an attack has happened.
Cyber attacks happen a lot more than most people realize, so if you’re not sure that your business is adequately prepared for one, take action on the tips below.
1. Do a Health Check on All Your Security Measures
How secure your business is online depends on the platforms and partners you use. For example, do you know if your website is protected by a web application firewall? Does your web hosting company regularly patch security updates to protect against the latest cyber threats? Do you have a cloud data security and cyber recovery plan in place to keep your data secure and recoverable?
These questions are only the beginning. As the owner of a small business, you must realize how susceptible you are to cyber-attack and do what you can to prevent one from happening. If you’re not sure what needs checking or how to go about it, consider outsourcing the task to a local IT support company.
2. Identify What’s Sensitive and What’s Not
While credit card numbers are a common target for hackers, other important and sensitive information may also be vulnerable during a cyber-attack. Customer profile information, email addresses, phone numbers, and account details may also provide hackers with valuable information. Identifying and understanding what information hackers may want is the first step to ensuring this information is never left vulnerable.
3. Install Security Software
This may be a no-brainer, but it deserves to be mentioned as it’s one of the best ways to protect against a cyber-attack. Install a good security software suite and make sure it updates automatically to ensure your data is protected from the latest threats.
4. Educate Your Staff
The more your team members know about cyber security, the better they will be able to identify scams and avoid them. Regularly remind employees not to open email attachments from people they don’t know or aren’t expecting. Also, make sure they understand the procedures for encrypting sensitive information and encourage them to change their passwords often. Lastly, make it mandatory that any rush requests for payment be double-checked, as this is common tactic hackers like to employ.
5. Put Physical Security Measures in Place
Hackers aren’t terribly particular in how they get sensitive information. While long-range ransomware attacks are a growing threat, local criminals may gain access to your system by physically stealing your company’s hardware. Hard drives, laptops, cellphones, and servers are especially attractive to thieves as they’re lightweight and easy to carry off.
Security cameras and alarm systems are great ways to protect these items, but the good old-fashioned system of installing physical locks is also a good idea.
6. Hire Security
You can never be too careful in protecting your company’s sensitive data. Hiring security – both online and off – is another way to protect your business’s information and property. When searching for a cloud security provider or an on-premises security company, take the time to research them thoroughly to be sure they are trustworthy and reliable.
Cyber-attacks cost businesses millions of dollars each year. It’s easier than ever these days for hackers to get their hands on your company’s data, so take the steps listed above to protect your business from potentially devastating loss.