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Many small business owners assume that cyber attacks only happen to big companies, banks or governments. Yet, limited digital security knowledge & lack of cyber defenses actually make small businesses vulnerable to cyber attack. However, a little education can protect your small business from cyber attack.
Cyber attacks on all businesses, but particularly small to medium sized businesses, are becoming more frequent, targeted, & complex. (Forbes)
With cyber attack insurance premiums running as high as $35,000 per year, prevention is the smartest, & most budget-friendly approach for small business owners. Follow these four steps to protect your small business from cyber attack & maintain the ongoing trust of your valued customers.
Conduct a Cyber Threat Assessment
Small business owners simply don’t have enough cyber security – or the right solutions – to protect their digital assets. & The Insurance Bureau of Canada agrees. They recently gave employees at small & medium sized businesses a “C” for their cyber-security knowledge.
Conducting a thorough threat assessment is the first step to knowing where & how your business may be vulnerable to cyber intruders. Consider contracting a cyber security specialist to help you analyze your digital ecosystem & data storage practices. This will help to identify weak areas & create a security action plan.
Install a Firewall & Anti-virus Software
Cyber attackers use highly sophisticated automated software to seek out & infiltrate poorly defended networks.
Ensure your business doesn’t get caught in their net by installing a firewall. This controls incoming & outgoing data & helps prevent unauthorized access to your network.
Other practical steps you can take to protect yourself include:
– ensuring your anti-virus software is always up to date
– updating your browser & applications like Java & Flash to the latest version
– protecting your WiFi by making it invisible to outsiders, encrypted & secure.
Regularly Change Your Passwords
Many businesses overlook the importance of regularly changing passwords that guard critical systems & confidential data.
Refresh your passwords every two months, ensuring they are at least 8 characters long & a mix of letters, numbers, & symbols.
Avoid using personal information, like a name or birthdate, as these combinations are much easier for cyber attackers to guess.
Invest in Employee Training
Employee education is one of the most important defenses against cyber attack. For lack of training, your own team members might inadvertently install malware or release confidential information to a criminal masquerading as a trusted contact.
According to this infographic by Judge.com, a staggering 95% of online security breaches involve human error. Ensure your staff understand best practices in digital defense by:
– developing an easy-to-read cyber security guide so employees are better equipped to:
– identify & deal with malware, email attachments, phishing, & other threats
– meeting regularly to discuss new potential online threats so team members know what to watch for
– encouraging team members to speak up if they notice suspicious behavior on your network.
By implementing these preventative measures, your company will be better positioned to evade cyber attack & get on with the business of growing!
We’re no cybersecurity specialists, however you can contact us on keeping you accounting information safe & recommending top notch IT professionals.