Most small business owners don’t believe they will have to worry about hacking attempts. As many as 87% believe hackers will overlook them to focus on larger companies with more to offer.

The truth is that small business is a huge target for many cyber thieves. Why? Because most hackers know that many small businesses don’t have the budget for sophisticated cybersecurity. As many as 50% of small businesses have been the victims of cybercrime and it’s easy to see why.

If you have no security measures or plan in place to deal with cybercrime, your small business is at risk. What’s at risk? Money via credit card gateways, customer and employee information, vendor information, and more. Such breaches of data can jeopardize your reputation along with your relationships with your customers, vendors, and even your employees. Many businesses hit by cyberthieves go out of business in less than a year.

Cybersecurity Measures to Protect Small Business

Businesses of all sizes should have effective cybersecurity measures in place. In understanding and implementing some basic measures, you’ll be better able to defend your business assets, both financial and data.

Strengthen Public Access Points

How easy is it to access data within your business? Do you have WiFi access points? If you do, only employees who need such access should have it. If they can be given access without being given one of the passwords, even better.

It’s nice to offer our customers convenient access to open WiFi but do so wisely. Any open, public network should be established separately. Guest access should be completely separate from the access of trusted employees. It’s a simple measure that keeps unauthorized people away from your internal WiFi and files.

Strengthen Internal Access Points

When it comes to access to your business’s accounts and computers, employees should have only the access they need to do their job. If they have no need to access a certain level of files within the business, they should have no network access to them. If they have no need to use a computer or device with access beyond their role, they should have no physical access to them.

There should be an easily established hierarchy within your internal network allowing you to assign roles to different employees so you can control the access they have with great specificity. It should allow for individual logins for each employee. Rules should be established stating that employees may not share their access with other employees.

Back It Up

The data your business uses should be backed up to secured computers on a regular basis. More than one backup is an ideal system to establish. If one backup fails or goes missing, you have an additional copy.

All copies, whether they are stored on physical computers or within a cloud, should be secured. By using encryption and strong passwords, you keep all the important information your business needs safe and prevent data loss.

Computer Updates

Often overlooked as a security measure across all computers and devices are updates. When updates are offered for your computer or device’s operating system, or any essential software used, more often than not, the update contains security patches to protect against recent threats. It’s not only important to process such updates, but it’s important to do so expeditiously.

You don’t have to wait for them to be offered. Any time you can check for new versions of software, including security software. If you use the cloud, that software is usually updated for you by the provider. If any mobile versions of software are utilized by your employees for your business, make it a policy that they’re required to keep those updated.

Employee Training

Your employees are vital to your business and need to be trained in security policy and procedure. They should understand your cybersecurity policy and if you don’t have one, now is the time to craft it. It should outline procedures on the protection of customer, employee, and vendor information. It should outline the protocols to follow in the event of a cyber attack.

Make sure employees use strong, secure passwords for every account along with password protection for each device they utilize for your business. If two-factor authentication can be used, require its use. PGP encryption is also a good choice for the decryption and encryption of directors, emails, files, and more.

Finally, send out periodic reminders of your policies to employees to keep them fresh in their minds. Any changes to cybersecurity protocol should be distributed to all employees as soon as possible.

Takeaway

Small businesses are just as susceptible to attack as larger companies and should establish solid cybersecurity measures as soon as possible. Through the smart use of backups, encryption, employee training, and smart access architecture, your company stands a better chance against hackers and other cyber thieves.

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Finn Pierson
Finn Pierson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who specializes in business technology. He is drawn to the technological world because of its quickly paced and constantly changing environment. He believes embracing technology is essential to capturing success in any business and strives to inspire and encourage top technological practices in business leaders across the globe. He's a fan of podcasts, bokeh and smooth jazz. His time is mostly spent learning the piano and watching his Golden Retriever Julian chase a stick.