Interconnected mobile, high-speed internet, desktop and laptop devices and web-based tools and digital applications can increase the productivity of a small business. However, all the benefits associated with the internet comes at a stiff price in case your business becomes a victim of cyber-crime.
Small businesses are targeted by thieves and troublemakers who want to steal important information such as business or customer data, financial information and so on from your website, social media accounts or any other place you store data online.
The U.S government crime data has shown that digital information theft has surpassed physical property theft as the most commonly reported type of business fraud. This is one of the major reasons why business out there should be concerned over cybersecurity.
Any business owner who does not try to protect their business could end up exposing their business to cybercriminals. If you want to know about the things you need to do to protect your business and customers from cyber-attacks, then this article was written with you in mind.
Below are 10 tips given by the Federal Communications Commission’s cybersecurity experts to help you out.
Ensure That Your Machines Are Always Clean
It is a good idea to have the latest security software installed on all your computers to protect against cyber-attacks. Doing this is a good way to protect your computer against malware, viruses and other online threats that are changing from time to time.
Installing key software updates as soon as they are available and setting antivirus software to run a scan after each and every update is something that every business owner out there should do.
Ensure That Your Wi-Fi Networks Are Secure
Do you have a Wi-Fi network at your workplace? If the answer is a yes, then it is a good idea to ensure that it is encrypted, secure and hidden. Setting up your wireless access point or routers to prevent it from broadcasting SSID which stands for Service Set Identifier (network name) is a good way of hiding your Wi-Fi network. Having a password can help protect access to the router. By getting a good company to sort this out it can turn out in the long term you can get online for less.
Train Your Employees In Security Basics
Have basic security practices and policies in place for all your employees. This may include things such as requiring strong passwords. Also, establish appropriate Internet use guidelines which state penalties in case an employee violates your policies.
Establishing rules of behavior which describe how to handle and protect customer information and other important data.
Provide Firewall Security For Your Internet Connection
What is a firewall? It is a set of programs that are related and are used to prevent outsiders from having access to data on private networks. Ensure that the firewall of your operating system is enabled or you can choose to have a free firewall software installed.
You can get free software on the internet. If you have employees who work from home, make sure that they use home systems are secured by a firewall.
Come Up With A Mobile Device Action Plan
Mobile devices create huge security and management challenges especially when they are able to access the business network. This is why it is highly recommended that users protect their mobile devices using strong passwords, have security apps installed and encrypt data to deter unauthorized persons from having access to confidential information whenever the mobile device is on public networks. Also, ensure that you set reporting procedures in case any equipment is stolen or lost.
Back Up All Important Business Information and Data
It is a good idea to back up important data and information on all your computers on a regular basis. Some of the most important data include spreadsheets, word processing documents, financial files, databases, human resources files and accounts receivable/ payable files. If possible, back up data automatically or at least on a weekly basis. Store the copies either in the cloud or offsite.
Control Physical Access To Your Computers and Create User Accounts For Every Person
Try as much as possible to prevent unauthorized persons from using or accessing your business computers. Laptops are usually easy targets for theft. They can also be lost. Therefore, it is a good idea to lock laptops up when they are not being used. Create a separate user account for every employee. You should also ensure that you only give administrative privileges to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
Protect Payment Card Systems and Information
You can achieve this by working with card processors or banks to make sure that the most trusted anti-fraud services and validated tools are used. You may be having certain security obligations contained in the agreements with your processor or bank and it is good to ensure that you know your liabilities. Separate payment systems from programs that are less secure. Remember to also avoid using the same computer to surf the internet and process payments.
Limit Authority to Install Software and Access Information
Avoid providing any of your employees with access to all data systems and instead, give your employees access to the specific data systems they need for their jobs. In addition, no employee should install any software without seeking for permission.
Get Tough On Passwords
Make sure that all your employees use strong passwords. Also, ensure that the passwords are changed every 3-6 months. It may be better to consider multi-factor authentication that needs you to give additional information and not just the password for one to access information. Find out form your vendors who deal with confidential data such as financial institutions to find out whether or not they can provide multi-factor authentication.