Top Tips for Protecting Your Business from Cyber Threats
8 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Digital Security
You may think your business is too small for hackers to target. But the fact is, almost two-thirds of cyber-attacks are now directed at small to medium-sized businesses. And the damages can be devastating. In recovery expenses alone, these breaches can cost thousands of dollars. And that doesn’t account for loss of valuable data, damage to computer equipment, loss of income due to system shut down, privacy lawsuits and more.
While no protection measures are 100% effective, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks to your business. Here are some of the best ways to protect your business, quickly and economically. You will want to research all of these measures in more depth, but this list will point you in the right direction.
- Encrypt Your Data: Most operating systems come standard with a function to encrypt your files without slowing down your drive. Essentially, the encryption tool creates another set of passwords for your data, so even if a hacker accesses your network or cloud, they still need these passwords to obtain your data.
- Use Strong Passwords: To create a strong password, experts advise that you include a combination of: upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers, blank spaces and special characters. Also make your passwords at least ten characters long, the longer the better. An even better solution is to use a password manager. This is an online app that automatically creates hack-proof passwords for you.
- Add a Firewall: Firewalls can be hardware or software. A firewall secures your system by controlling web traffic coming in and out of your business based on predetermined security rules. A firewall should be standard security equipment on any business computer or network.
- Install Antivirus Protection: Antivirus or anti-malware applications are designed to prevent, detect and remove malicious software, including viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, adware and ransomware. Some antivirus apps also protect against other cyber-threats including infected URLs, spam, phishing attacks, social engineering and denial-of-service attacks.
- Upgrade Programs Regularly: The most popular applications and operating systems from companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple are always improving their level of security. By continually updating your programs to the latest versions, you will have the most secure computer system possible. Almost all “updates” are security updates and should be downloaded upon the first onscreen notice.
- Secure Your Equipment: Most cyber-attacks occur when physical electronic equipment is stolen. To prevent this, make sure your office computers are physically locked down. Smartphones can also hold a wealth of company data, and they are easily lost or stolen. To protect against this, you should use encryption software, password-protection and even “remote wiping” for your company smartphones.
- Backup Regularly: Today, many cyber-attacks are designed to disable your system or erase all your data. For this reason, it’s wise to have a backup source for all your information. An automatic system for frequent backups to an outside hard drive or the cloud is easy to use and well worth the cost.
- Educate Your Employees: Employees can play a key role in preventing cyber-attacks. It’s a good idea to establish a company policy about cyber-security and internet practices, including how to keep information safe, what websites are prohibited – and especially what type emails and attachments should not be opened.
You’ve worked hard to start and build your small business. Protect it with these easy but essential steps against cyber threats.