Cybersecurity For Small Businesses: 10 Important Tips To Keep Your Money & Data Safe
You may think that small businesses are not vulnerable to cybercrimes just like big corporations. But in fact, about 43 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Micro companies, in general, are not as secure compared to large-scale businesses because of budget issues and because they are “small.” Although these businesses are literally less far-reaching compared to large corporations, the security threats they experience are not small, at all. They easily fall victim to hacking, malware, spyware, ransomware, and security breaches because of their low-priced and dated protection.
Cybersecurity should be one of the top priorities for your small business, but how do you keep your business protected from these cyber threats without spending too much? Here are some cybersecurity tips that are simple yet effective for small business owners. These can help reduce the risks of ransomware, malware, and hacking.
1. Use strong passwords
If you use passwords that are very easy to figure out such as 1234, 0000, or ABCD, it would be like a walk in the park for hackers to acquire your system’s password. Strong passwords are comprised of alphanumeric and special characters that are case-sensitive. The more random the combination, the better it is. If your passwords are secure, it will be difficult for someone to figure it out and hack it. Inform your employees as well to create secure passwords.
2. Decrease the number of attempts for entering the password
Someone who will try to access your system will try all sorts of different passwords randomly until they hit the jackpot and open your account. This can mean that your account is still not safe even with a 6-digit pin that has a million unique possible number combinations. You have to be aware that there are password-cracking software nowadays that can guess your code in a few minutes. So to avoid falling victim to these hackers, you should limit the number of attempts for your authentication process. In most cases, the number of attempts is limited to 3, so after the third attempt, you can no longer try to enter the password.
3. Password manager software
A password manager tool that creates and stores the password can be helpful for you. But you have to think carefully when choosing one. Remember that this tool stores all passwords in its database; so for a hacker, all he needs is to crack one code. That is why you need to think of its advantages and disadvantages before you use one for your business.
4. On-screen keyboard option
If you are not yet aware, there are hackers that can record your keystrokes using keylogging software. This is common if you’re using shared networks. What you can do to avoid this is by using an on-screen or virtual keyboard. The keylogging software will not be able to track keys that you enter on the on-screen keyboard because you’re only operating it using mouse clicks. This is commonly used in financial establishments.
Data backups are important. But you have to be careful of any negligence or mishandling of these backups because this can make your data vulnerable to theft. Example, if you choose to keep your data in the cloud, you have to encrypt and keep your documents protected with a password before storing them on the cloud or a remote server, so that no one can access your data easily.
6. Inform your employees about cybersecurity
Although you might think that security breach is not so common for small businesses, it is good that you educate your employees about cybersecurity. We do not want to wait for a security breach to happen before we train your employees about it, right? Here are some things you need to remember when teaching your employees about cybersecurity.
- Train everyone. No exemptions.
- Conduct seminars about cybersecurity often
- Talk to employees about cybersecurity regularly
- Inform them how they can recognize a possible attack
- Test your employees’ cybersecurity knowledge
- Be able to identify threats within your company
- Emphasize policies about hacking, data breach and use of devices in your company
7. Do not store the customer’s CVV or any credit card information
Keeping the customer’s credit card information with the customer’s permission can make transactions in the future more convenient. On the other hand, this can put your customer’s confidential information at risk. While it can be a little more convenient to store the CVV number, it would not bother the customer at all to enter the CVV during checkout. This is for their safety, as well.
8. Control Access to your systems and network devices
Never let any outsider or unauthorized person use your system and other devices. If there is a need for someone to use or access it, in the case of a technician from another firm, let them use a general computer or make sure to have someone supervise them during their tasks. Lock or shut down your computer after leaving them and make sure your employees do the same, as well. Also, make sure to monitor your employees’ personal devices.
9. Update your security software always.
Make sure your security software is up-to-date. Do not ignore the prompts on your screen that remind you to upgrade and update your software. This will make sure that your computer is protected from malware, ransomware, and hacking.
Software manufacturers provide software updates to address security risks for their products that can be exposed to hackers. These updates usually contain vulnerability fixes and enhancements. What is good about these updates is that they are added onto the existing installation. Make sure you choose a quality and trusted software to protect your system.
10. Keep your networks secure
Make sure your Wi-Fi network is hidden, or if not hidden, is secured with a password, to avoid any unauthorized access. You can hide your SSID or Wi-Fi name and encrypt and set a password for your access point.
There are simple ways to ensure that you don’t fall victim to hackers. All you need to do is keep these tips in mind, so you can avoid any security risks that can harm your business.