Cybersecurity has become an increasingly important issue among entrepreneurs and small business owners alike. Whether you’re an individual or a business owner, cybercrime can be devastating to your bottom line and potentially ruin your brand if you don’t take precautions now. Hackers are constantly on the lookout for weak spots in your company’s cyber security system, hoping to steal valuable information like your customers’ credit card numbers or get access to personal data from your employees’ social media accounts. This guide will help keep your small business cyber-safe with tips on how to stop cyber-attacks, how to detect them early on, and what to do if one happens. Learn what steps you can take today to protect yourself from losing money, time, and customers.
Implement Cybersecurity Policies and Procedures
In order to ensure that your small business is cyber-safe, it is important to have specific policies and procedures in place. Cybersecurity policies should include information about how data should be stored and accessed, who has access to the data and what needs to happen if a breach occurs. For example, employees need to know that they can’t take an electronic device with them when they leave the office. There should also be policies in place concerning when and where computers can be used as well as guidelines on downloading software from unknown sources or opening emails from unknown sources.
Educate Employees on Cybersecurity Risks
– Make sure your employees are educated on how to stay safe online. This could include making sure they always use two-factor authentication when logging in to their work computers or requiring them to never click a link or open an attachment without first checking with the IT department.
– Update your software and operating systems often, as this will help make sure that you’re protected against new vulnerabilities as they come out.
– Be wary about phishing scams by reading emails carefully before opening attachments, clicking links, etc.
Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
A good rule of thumb is to have different passwords for every account and service, never reusing them again even if they are complicated enough not to get hacked. Make sure you use a different email address when registering with new websites or services too. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and should use a combination of letters, numbers, symbols, and special characters to create an unbreakable code. You also want to enable two-factor authentication on your accounts where available. Two-factor authentication will require you to enter a username and password as well as a security code sent via text message or generated through an app like Google Authenticator. It’s more secure because it makes it harder for someone to steal your login credentials.
Secure Your Network
– Encrypt your data: Turn on SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption on all of your websites. This prevents hackers from stealing sensitive information like credit card numbers or passwords.
– Use two-factor authentication: Enable two-factor authentication on any accounts that offer it, including your email and social media accounts. This makes it harder for unauthorized people to get into the account by requiring a second verification step before giving them access. It can also provide an extra layer of security if someone does manage to steal your password.
Be Vigilant about Cybersecurity Breaches: Keep an eye on what you’re clicking: Malware downloads through spam emails, malicious links, and attachments, so always be wary about what you are clicking or downloading.
Regularly Back up Your Data
Regularly backing up your data is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you are protected in the event of a cyber-attack. Periodically backing up your data ensures that if something does happen, you can restore your files with minimal effort and downtime. You should also make sure that any sensitive information is encrypted so it can’t be accessed by unauthorized third parties. If you’re not confident in your ability to encrypt sensitive information, contact an IT professional who can help. Don’t Use Generic Passwords: Generic passwords like password 123456 are highly vulnerable to hacking. Make sure your passwords have at least 8 characters and include upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, use different passwords on different accounts.
Protect Sensitive Data
Your business’s sensitive data should be encrypted and stored in two places. One is on your computer with a password, the other is on an external hard drive that you keep locked away at home. This prevents you to lose all of your data if your computer crashes or gets stolen.
Dispose of Data Securely
Whether you’re disposing of an old computer or flash drive, be sure to delete all data first. Formatting the device might not do the trick, so be sure to use a program designed specifically for this task like KillDisk. This will overwrite the data on your hard drive and make it impossible to recover. You can also destroy devices using hammers, grinders, or other tools. For example, if you’ve disposed of your old laptop by smashing it with a hammer, take the time to dispose of the screws as well (in water). When discarding CDs or DVDs, try erasing them first with a tool like Darik’s Boot and Nuke which makes recovery virtually impossible.
Avoid Phishing Calls or Messages
With phishing calls or messages, hackers pose as someone trustworthy in order to get you to provide sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers.