Monday, June 18, 2018

Cyber Security - Essential Advice for Small Businesses

Small business owners rely on the Internet for everything from ordering stock to keeping in touch with customers. Unfortunately, this brings exposure to the increasing threat of cybercrime. In addition to stealing money by fraud and deception, cybercriminals may set out to damage your reputation or put you out of business altogether. 

A business can never be completely safe from the threat of cybercrime, but most online attacks can be prevented by some basic security practices. Online security should be taken as seriously as the need to lock doors and store cash and valuables in a safe. Customers expect and have a right to the security of their data, and it's essential that steps are taken to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.

The following tips will increase your defense against online attacks. 

1) Use strong passwords. 
Strong passwords are an essential layer of protection. All staff should understand the need to have suitable passwords and the risks of writing them down or sharing them. A mix of at least ten letters, numbers, and other characters should be used to create strong passwords. Familiar words, names, and consecutive numbers are particularly vulnerable to hackers.

2) Use security software. 
A firewall and antivirus software can prevent the majority of cyber attacks. Don't cut corners with these protections as you put your business at risk if you connect to the Internet without them. Antivirus software must be updated on a regular basis to ensure the latest forms of malware identified and deleted.

3) Limit personal use of company IT equipment. 
Accessing personal email accounts and social media on company computers carries a high risk. Staff should be given clear instructions on their role in cybersecurity and the dangers of visiting websites not approved for company business. Viruses and worms can be hidden in online games, apps and attachments sent with emails. 

4) Protect your website. 
A company's website is a valuable resource, and it must be protected. Hackers may attempt to corrupt information on a website or take it down completely. Admin level access should be tightly controlled as this is one of the routes cybercriminals use for attacks. Hackers are continually scanning websites for vulnerabilities, so software and plugins should be updated regularly to make sure they are the latest versions.

5) Take a cautious approach. 
Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Their methods are continually evolving, and security software can't protect against all of the strategies they use. For example, cybercriminals might copy the identity of legitimate businesses and use these to deceive you. Common sense and caution are as valuable as antivirus software when it comes to cybersecurity.

6) Plan for the worst. 
Cybersecurity experts advise that planning and preparing for an attack is essential. Do you have the expertise and resources to deal with a cybercrime within your business? If not, who would you call on after an incident? Having a recovery plan can make the difference between a couple of days loss of business or a long-term impact.

The threats are always changing in the age where the Internet and technology have become part of everyday life. Small businesses are regarded as soft targets by cybercriminals, and steps must be taken to protect against attacks.

Robert Blake
877.860.5831 x190

If you have question or need help securing your technology, please give us a call 877.860.5831 x190 or check out our website.

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