Cyber Security Protection Strategies for Small Businesses: As a small-business owner, you may think your organization is protected when it comes to cyber security. But the truth is, it’s probably not. Almost 80 percent of the more than 1,000 small businesses surveyed by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec say their companies are safe from cyber threats; however, 83 percent don’t have a formal cyber security plan.
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, small businesses must pay close attention to their cyber security. Hackers and cyber criminals are constantly finding new ways to penetrate systems and steal data, and small businesses are often seen as easy targets. However, there are a number of steps that small businesses can take to protect themselves.
Is your small business safe? Following cyber security protection strategies put in place by experts is a great idea. In fact, Michael Kaiser of the National Cyber Security Alliance says, “For American businesses,cyber security is not a nice thing to have—it’s critical to their survival.”
Why Hackers Are Targeting Small Businesses
Maybe you’re thinking, “I only have a small business with fewer than 100 employees. Why would hackers target us?” Well, hackers have realized that it’s often easier to attack unguarded small companies than large ones that have cyber security plans.
Furthermore, cyber security is a growing concern for organizations of all sizes. Earning an online public safety degree may be a good idea if technical security interests you. This way you could protect your company and help other businesses as well.
What Small Businesses Can Do to Safeguard Their Companies from Cyber Attacks
One of the most important steps is to create a strong password policy. All employees should have unique passwords that are difficult to guess. Passwords should be changed on a regular basis, and employees should never share their passwords with anyone else.
In addition, businesses should invest in quality cyber security software and make sure that all systems are kept up-to-date. Firewalls and anti-virus programs can help to block attacks, and data Encryption can make it difficult for hackers to access sensitive information.
Finally, businesses should create a disaster recovery plan in case of a successful attack. By taking these steps, small businesses can greatly reduce their risk of becoming a victim of cyber crime.
The first step is to realize that your business is at risk. Once you do that, you can begin to take action to protect your important information. When it comes to security, businesses are often vulnerable on the technical side and on the human side. To be secure, they must address issues on both sides—Web servers, email servers and databases, and employee accesses, physical infrastructure and more.
10 fundamental cyber security protection strategies for MSMEs developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Here is a list of the 10 fundamental steps developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that can help small businesses protect themselves:
- Protect information systems and networks from damage by viruses, spyware and other malicious code.
- Provide security for your Internet connection.
- Install and activate software firewalls on all your business systems.
- Patch your operating systems and applications.
- Make backup copies of important business data/information.
- Control physical access to your computers and network components.
- Secure your wireless access point and networks.
- Train your employees in basic security principles.
- Require individual user accounts for each employee on business computers and for business applications.
- Limit employee access to data and information and limit authority to install software.
In October 2012, the FCC launched the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, an online resource for small businesses to help them create customized cyber-security plans. On the website, it released 10 tips for small businesses. Many of them are mentioned above; the ones that are not are below.
- Create a mobile device action plan. Require users to password-protect their devices, encrypt data and install security apps. Set in place procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
- Secure your Wi-Fi networks. Set up your router so it doesn’t broadcast the network name, and password-protect access to the router.
- Employ best practices on payment cards. Check with banks or processors to ensure trusted and validated tools and anti fraud services are being used. Don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Web.
- Passwords and authentication. Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Implement multi-factor authentication.
Concerning password security, you should encourage employees to log out from a site when completing a transaction. And consider investing in a password manager, such as Norton Identity Safe.
Another good tip is to never use links in emails to access a transaction or financial website; instead, always type URLs into browsers directly.
Personal Cyber Security Tips for Small business owners
As a small business owner, you are likely always looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. However, it is important to remember that skimping on cybersecurity can have severe consequences. A data breach can not only damage your reputation but also lead to hefty financial penalties. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of being hacked.
First, make sure that all your devices are password protected.
Next, invest in reliable antivirus software and firewall protection.
Finally, educate your employees about basic cyber security protocol so they can avoid accidentally clicking on phishing emails or visiting malicious websites. By taking these precautions, you can help keep your business safe from online threats.
Read below top 10 personal cyber safety tips – how to protect yourself online?
Overall, it’s very important to stay up to date on security issues. New threats appear every day, so it’s a good idea to have someone within your company or a consultant who can help protect your small business from cyber security threats. You also want to check computers on a weekly basis to make sure antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall and operating systems are up to date.