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Cyber Security Tips for Small Business Owners

Cyber Security Tips for Small Business Owners

When running a small business, you face numerous threats and fears. For instance, you fear that you may lose your employees to your competitors. In addition, most small business owners have the fear of making losses. However, in the digital era, the threat of a cybersecurity attack is causing sleepless nights for many small business owners as the cyber-criminal activities and the cost of cybercrime continue to rise.

Understanding the motive behind the cybercriminal attack can help you secure your business against any attack. Often, cybercriminals attack a given business to gather intelligence. Now that you are aware of the primary reason for cybercrime attack, it is essential to take the necessary measures to maintain the security of your operations.

How do you ensure that your business remains protected against cybersecurity? This article provides an overview of some of the best practices that small business owners need to adapt to help reduce the probability of cybersecurity attacks on their business. However, while planning to adopt a given practice, it is advisable to get information from reliable sources such as the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

1. Ensure That Your Software Remains up to Date

The software we use for everyday tasks can be useful and disastrous at the same time. Often, cybercriminals look for vulnerabilities in software. If your business uses outdated apps, you are vulnerable to a cybersecurity attack. You may want to consider partnering with security experts not only to securely update all your software but also to teach your employees how to keep software up-to-date.

2. Use Strong Passwords

Having a password for all your systems is a great way to keep your company’s data protected. However, you stand a greater chance of keeping cybercriminals at bay if you use strong and secure passwords. Having a reputable password management app can help you generate and use robust passwords. Such an application is useful as it stores all your auto-generated, random, complex and strong passwords. With such an app, you do not have to keep memorizing your passwords. All you need is to remember is the master password for the application itself.

However, if you do not have access to such an application, you can train your employees on how to develop strong passwords. Cybersecurity experts from Computers In The City advise to double down on password safety by requiring 2-factor authentication for company email or even company network access.

A password with ten or more characters is considerably long enough to keep you protected from a cyber-attack, but you need to change it ever 8 – 12 weeks. It is advisable to use symbols, numbers, and both lower and uppercase letters when creating the password. It is also necessary to desist from writing down passwords on the workstation, or laptops since someone can easily get a hold of them if left in such areas.

3. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Virtual Private Networks are a great way to enhance the security of your business against cybercrimes. The reason why virtual private networks are advisable for securing the company’s information is that they offer a platform to encrypt all traffic, whether it is entering or leaving your devices. The implication is that anybody who intercepts your information will only end up with encrypted data that is of no use to them.

4. Track the Use of Personal Devices

It is important to track how employees are using their personal devices to access company information. This is especially the case in a situation where your employees use their personal laptops, smartphones, tablets, or USBs at work. Talk to experts to put a monitoring software in place as that would allow you to limit the access and distribution of company data. Alternatively, you can opt for password changes regularly, or systems to push automatically for security updates.

5. Have Strategies to Limit the Access to Company Information

At times, company information could potentially leak if it is available to careless individuals. As such, it is advisable to have limited access to specific information or data. Often, layered security is necessary for maintaining the safety of your company’s data. Make sure that the sensitive data is only available to certain individuals. Also, use encryption to add security to the company’s information.

6. Adopt an On-Screen Keyboard for Sensitive Data

Cybercriminals take advantage of the use of shared networks to carry out attacks and access sensitive company’s information.

This is attributable to the availability of the keylogging software, which is used in recording your keystrokes to get a hold of your passwords and other valuable information. Virtual keyboards or onscreen keyboards are important when inputting sensitive data because it may help to circumvent keyloggers.

7. Practice Regular Data Backup

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your company in case all your data is accidentally or maliciously deleted? Data backup is something that you need to make an absolute priority if you’re running a business, as it means a lot as far as the existence of the business is concerned. It is important to carry out regular backups and manage your data effectively. The use of data encryption and password protection on your documents prior to storing them is advisable, especially where you have them on a remote server.

8. Carry Out Awareness on Cybersecurity Within the Business

There is an increase in the number of cybersecurity incidents across the globe. Nevertheless, a large number of people are not aware of what cybercrime is, let alone how to prevent the attacks. As such, a large number of small businesses remain vulnerable to cybercrime attacks due to lack of awareness. It is advisable to promote the awareness of cybersecurity within your business. Such an approach ensures that your employees not only understand what cybercrime is but also know how to prevent it.

While awareness is a great approach for dealing with cybercrime issues, it is necessary to test your employees’ level of Information Technology knowledge on a regular basis. Having a policy on cybercrime and the general breach of the organization’s data can help reduce the probability of attacks as everyone becomes responsible.

Cybersecurity is a major threat not only to small but also large businesses. It can be quite challenging to deal with cybercrime issues especially when the employees do not know what cybercrime involves, the reasons behind it, ways of perpetration, or even how to prevent it. As such, cyber security for small businesses starts with creating awareness among the employees followed by the implementation of all the necessary security measures to combat cybersecurity.

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