It would seem that in today’s world of constantly developing technology, cyber attacks are becoming a lot more common. You have probably heard of a big company’s website, and social media accounts being hacked and thought it wouldn’t happen to you, but the fact is no matter how big or small the organization is, it can become the victim of a cyber attack.
As a small business owner, you shouldn’t be paranoid, but you should be prepared for the worse as the effects of a cyber attack on your small business can have undesired consequences. In this article you will see the best possible ways to protect your small business from cyber attacks, giving you security and peace of mind.
Research and understand the risks
The first thing that you need to do is research and understand all of the risks involved with cyber attacks. You need to know the possible avenues hackers can take to get your information as well as know what effect it will have on your business.
The more you know, the more prepared you will be, and you will be capable of making decisions quickly which is essential, as time often plays a huge factor on the lasting effects of cyber attacks.
Create an incident response plan
Once you have researched the cause and effect of cyber attacks, you now need to have a plan in place as to what you and your company will do if a cyber attack occurs, kind of a fire drill.
There is nothing worse than being the victim of a cyber attack and not knowing what to do next. If you make a rash decision it often makes the attack worse, so you need to have a step-by-step plan in place and make sure everyone at your business is aware of it.
Encrypt your data
It could be bank routing digits, credit card accounts, your employee’s information; it doesn’t matter. ALL of your data needs to be encrypted. Hackers know that businesses store valuable information and when that data isn’t being transmitted over the Internet, it is vulnerable.
If you encrypt your data it will be safe and hackers won’t be able to steal your money or your customers money.
Having a strong password isn’t enough these days, especially if you are running a small business. A common mistake small business owners make is having one strong password for all employees when the best way to keep your data safe from cyber attacks is giving each employee a unique password that changes every few months. Doing so only strengthens you and your company.
Constantly update your software
Make sure that every computer that is used for your business has the latest anti-malware and anti-virus software installed. This software is the first line of defence for cyber attacks, so not having any is a sure-fire way to compromise your data.
But it doesn’t stop there; we have all been in a situation where we are typing away on our laptops or computers, see a notification for updating our anti-virus software and ignore it. That is a mistake that you can’t make when you run a small business.
As mentioned above the methods hackers use to gain access to your info changes almost daily, and anti-virus software also changes to keep up with it. If you don’t keep your software updated, you will be vulnerable to new risks and new forms of attack.
Educate your employees
This is a commonly neglected step, but the fact is your employees need to know just as much as you if you want to keep your business safe from cyber attacks.
That means ensuring they know about all the software, making sure they protect their unique passwords, and being sure that they also understand the dangers and action plan for when a cyber attack occurs. Whether you take them on a course or educate them yourself, just make sure that they know all of the important stuff.
Cyber attacks can cause so many headaches to a small business and in some severe cases ruin their futures, but as you have seen in this article, there are ways to prepare for this and even prevent it from happening altogether. If you are a new business owner or currently own a small business and are not following the tips laid out above, start doing so now to ensure your company’s safety against hackers.
Editor’s Note: This blog article was written by an outside contributor – a guest blogger – for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. However, the opinions and recommendations expressed in this guest blog are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of The Security Awareness Company, LLC. If you are interested in writing something for us, please do not hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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