6 Tips for Small Business Cybersecurity
There has been a lot of news lately about cybercriminals hacking businesses and government agencies and holding hostage their computer systems and data until a ransom is paid. Two of the most recent and prominent hacks have been the Colonial Pipeline and the world’s largest meat processor, JBS.
Just because you run a small business, don’t think that cybercriminals aren’t interested in you, too. In fact, small businesses are more vulnerable because they lack the resources for business cybersecurity that larger businesses can afford. And with the pandemic, we saw an explosion of employees working remotely, using their personal computers and technology that may not be protected by your business’s firewall. According to current research from internet security companies, 43% of cyberattacks target small business.
Everyone knows that protecting your business’s physical assets is crucial. But how should you protect your business’s digital assets?
Here are six tips to help harden your business cybersecurity:
1. Create a culture of digital safety.
Take the time to educate your employees about digital safety. Most data breaches occur because of negligent employees or contractors. Talk to your staff about business cybersecurity and how best to keep company records and passwords secure.
2. Secure your systems and equipment.
Limit the points of entry into your systems to keep your customer data safe by extending access only to essential employees. Also be sure to set up strong firewalls. Just as you would protect your paper records from fire and flood, keep backups of your data off-site so you can quickly restore operations in the event of a breach or system failure.
3. Scan your emails.
Criminals look for the easiest way to break into your business, like an unlocked window or door. Cybercriminals look for the easiest point of entry, too, and that’s email. Most breaches occur by an employee clicking on a link for a phishing or other email scam. Be sure your internet security software scans email for suspicious viruses and malware. Teach your employees how to look for and recognize suspicious-looking emails.
4. Use strong password protection.
We all get lazy and create passwords that are easy to remember. But that’s the key to the door for a hacker who can run very simple software to simply guess passwords. Set up policies for complicated passwords and require employees to change them frequently. You may also want to implement a two-step verification system to log into your business systems.
5. Invest in anti-virus software.
Beefing up your internet security systems can be an expensive investment, but on the other hand, the costs of losing your data, exposing your customers’ data, or even being forced to pay a ransom can be devastating.
6. Stay current.
Be proactive by staying current on business cybersecurity technology. Threats and criminal methods are always evolving, and internet security companies frequently release patches to their software to meet those threats. Be sure to update your software so you have the latest threat removal technology.
Securing your business’s physical location and physical assets is a no-brainer, but don’t forget that your digital records and data can be even more valuable. Stephane Nappo, global head of information security for Societe Generale, says it this way, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only a few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.”
Numbers by Victoria is a West Palm Beach bookkeeper who offers virtual bookkeeping services and other financial options for individuals and small businesses. Since our services can be performed virtually, we’re able to work with people all over the United States. To contact Numbers By Victoria, or to learn more about our bookkeeping services, please visit: www.numbersbyvictoria.com.