Alongside the massive developments in the digital technology, the wide spread cyber threats and security breaches are becoming a common news. Given the scenario where the cyber criminals are becoming adepts with the advancing technology, no business can claim that it is free from the risks of cyber-attacks. Though only the news of big enterprises being targeted by cyber criminals hit the headlines often, the innumerable cases of small businesses victimized by the hackers go unnoticed.
An article published in Forbes recently notes that above 20 percent of small businesses are targeted by the cyber criminals with various kinds of attacks and by 2019, the cost of these crimes are expected to go beyond $2 trillion. Since the price paid by small size businesses can be huge, it is important that they take the necessary precautions to safeguard themselves from cyber-attacks. Here are 7 measures small businesses can take in the lines of furthering their cyber security.
Install powerful antivirus and malware protection programs
Equip each of your computers with powerful antivirus software that can combat diverse kinds of malware, adware and spyware. Update it regularly to stay protected against new threats. You can find them in a number of online sources. Get the patches and updates regularly downloaded and installed by turning on automatic update status. Since the antivirus software makers are constantly on the watch for new threats, they make the upgrades to empower their software regularly which the program installed on your computer must get from time to time.
Upgrade your internet security
Install a sound firewall and encrypting information to secure your internet connection. Always make sure your Wi-Fi network is hidden securely. You must protect access to the router by creating a password. For hiding the Wi-Fi network, you must set up wireless access point with SSID (Service Set Identifier) so that the network name is not broadcasted.
Protect sensitive information
Create good policies to guide the employees handle the sensitive data of the company and customers in a safe way. Draft the consequences of violating the company’s cyber security policies and circulate them for creating a mass awareness inside your organization so that your employees stay alerted. Train them on safe online practices like the safe use of social networking sites. Often there are chances that the employees voluntarily or involuntarily reveal company’s sensitive internal business information to the competitors. Educate them on how to post information online without revealing the trade secrets to the competitors and the public.
Instruct the employees to create strong passwords and change them frequently
It is a wise decision to implement multifactor authentication that will need additional information beyond passwords to provide access to important data. Enquire the vendors who are handling sensitive data and find out whether they can provide multi-factor authentication to your account.
Restrict data access within organization
Everyone in the company does not need access to every datum stored. Decide what must be accessed by whom and create the portfolio accordingly. Never allow the employees to get their personal electronic devices to the company as there are chances for data theft. Also, the vulnerabilities in the employee devices could harm your office computers. Also, it is very important to regularly back up all the business related data on all the computers in your organization. The backup data can be stored on cloud for more security.
Restrict physical access to computers
Never allow unauthorized individuals from physically accessing computers. Since laptops can be easy targets for thefts, it is important to lock them up when not in use. For each of the employees working on computers, create a unique user id and password so that you can keep tracking what happens through them. Give the administrative privileges only to key employees and trusted IT professionals.
Formulate regulations for mobile devices
A lot of management challenges arise due to mobile devices more so when they store in them confidential information or facilitate access to the corporate network. In order to prevent hacking, ask the users to password protect all the devices and also encrypt important data. Installing security apps to prevent criminals accessing information is very important.
Cyber security and data file protection are very important for any size business. A small business owner cannot neglect implementing cyber security measures saying his company is after all very small for being targeted by criminals. Also, this is never an issue to be overlooked for want of budget to spend on it. Most small businesses are apples in the eyes of criminals who go by the fact that they have inadequate security measures in place and therefore are easier to attack with least efforts. Any vulnerability found in the storage of security data can cost a heavy price to small businesses and also their customers. Any damage happening in these lines can nearly rob the reputation of the business among the public. Therefore it is time that every business gains enough awareness regarding the importance of cyber security and takes enough safety measures.