Don’t ever think that just because you have a small business that your network isn’t at risk. Today more than ever small businesses are falling victim to cybercrimes. One of the reasons for this is that smaller businesses are ignoring some important security rules, making them easy targets.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is all about securing your computer equipment and network. If you have an open internet connection, you’re opening the doors of your business for hackers to come in and steal your valuable data and information. Each year businesses lose billions of dollars to fraud and data breaches. Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you’re not at equal if not more risk to information theft.
Every day, hackers are coming up with new threats. This means you need to implement multiple layers of protection and techniques so you can address each new potential risk.
Without following security rules your network quickly becomes under-protected. It’s time to make sure that your data is secure by following some simple security tips for small businesses. Take it one step further by relying on established providers to help you make the right decisions about your network security.
Security Policies for Employees
It’s important that your employees understand about network security. Small errors can lead to big mistakes, such as downloading malicious files and not updating passwords. Have company security policies in place and make sure that your employees understand what these policies are and what procedures they need to follow.
Regularly meet with your employees to discuss network security. Talk about how easy it is to click on the wrong link and compromise network computers. Even links that look like they’re from a legitimate email can put your business at risk. Educate your employees to contact the sender via another email or on the phone to confirm that a link or attachment is valid.
Mobile Phone Plans
With most people using company Wi-Fi on their own mobile phones or using company phones, another security challenge opens up, particularly if employees can access your company network. Make sure employees password protect their cell phones and other handheld devices. Any data that’s being transferred to or from the network should be encrypted. As well, install security apps that secure information while company phones are on public networks. As a last security measure, have a procedure in place for immediately reporting stolen or lost phones.
Limit Employee Access
Only provide your employees access to their own computer or those data systems that they need to access to do their jobs. Even on their own computer, don’t allow admin rights. They shouldn’t be able to download or install software without permission.
Outdated software is a big security risk and vulnerable to hackers. This includes your anti-virus program and operating systems – keep them updated with the latest patches to protect your software from malware, viruses, and other risks.
Improve Password Protection
Even if you only have a few employees, make sure you have strict standards when it comes to passwords on network computers. Use prompts to remind you to update passwords regularly.
Strong Password Rules
Have a policy in place for strong passwords. With so many usernames and passwords to remember it can be tempting for you and your employees to use weak passwords or write them down in a notebook. This immediately makes your network vulnerable. Consider using a password management app that stores and manages passwords for you.
Protect your Wi-Fi
These days Wi-Fi is a must for any business. Your Wi-Fi network can be an easy entry point for hackers. There are few things you can do to secure your internet. Use a firewall and make sure that data is encrypted before it moves through the network. You should also have a secure Wi-Fi password that only your employees can access. You can also hide your network name so that no one outside the network can attempt to access it.
Block Email Attachments
Configure your network to block certain email attachments that are known to pose a security risk, such as .exe, .bat, and .bas.
Add VPN Security
Use a virtual private network for added network security. A VPN provider will mask your IP address and route your business data through their own servers. It can also encrypt sensitive information to keep it safe from hackers, such as passwords and your browsing history.
Back Up Data
You should be doing regular backups of all your data. This includes documents and files, financial information, and any other business data that’s sitting on the network. You can set a schedule for automatic backups, being sure to store the backups offsite. Or consider cloud computing where backups are automatically stored in the cloud.
With 43 percent of cyber attacks now targeting small businesses, you can’t afford not to protect yourself and your business. A data breach and cyberattack can quickly damage your business in ways you may not recover from. By taking the proper precautions you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to hackers.