Is your company thinking of adopting cloud computing or are you just using email and maintaining a website, cybersecurity should be a part of your plan. Theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing physical theft. Every business that uses the Internet is responsible for creating a culture of security that will enhance business and consumer confidence.
10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business
Broadband and information technology are powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers, and their data from growing cybersecurity threats.
1. Train employees in security principles
Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, Set up training on how to spot phishing emails sooner than later. Establish an appropriate Internet use guideline that details penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
2. Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks
Keeping clean machines; having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available.
3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
A Firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system's firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.
Multi-Layered Protection – Cyber security is like your home security. You don't just have locks on your doors, you have flood lights, alarm systems, and video surveillance. Cyber security is much the same where you place protections on multiple layers in order to stop or at least slow down attackers.
4. Create a mobile device action plan
Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
5. Make backup copies of important business data and information
Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically and store the copies in the cloud and perform regular restore tests.
6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Create the process to remotely wipe the laptop if required. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router, so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect administrator access to the router. The same goes for the guest Wi-Fi network as well.
8. Employ best practices on payment cards
Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have added security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs and should not be able to install any software without permission.
10. Passwords and authentication
Require employees to use unique passwords or pass phrases and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.
A recent study by Nationwide Insurance, which surveyed 1,069 small-business owners in the U.S., found that more than three-quarters of entrepreneurs think cyber-attacks are unlikely to affect their businesses and 41 percent said they believe attacks most frequently happen to large businesses. That attitude is risky for these entrepreneurs, because the study also found that 45 percent of small-business owners have actually been victims of attacks -- without even knowing. Meanwhile, only 13 percent of surveyed business owners admitted to being victims of cyber-attacks. From entrepreneur.com article Aug 29, 2017