Small businesses are generally not well secured due to being labeled as small businesses, but their security threats are not necessarily small. On any given day, they can fell to the hacking, malware, ransomware and data breaches due to their cheap and dated protection. But with the few steps, you can avoid such cyber security risks.
If you think that your small business is not vulnerable to cybercrimes like big corporations, you need to think again. 43 % of cyber-attacks target the small businesses! This is because cybercriminals are aware that small businesses have cheap and out dated security systems with less knowledgeable staff.
Therefore, cyber security must be the topmost priority for your small business as you can’t afford to lose the expensive and valuable data costing you heavily.
Here are simple yet efficient cyber security tips for the small business owners to minimize the risks of hacking, malware, and ransomware.
Use Strong Passwords:
If you use passwords like 1234 or ABCD, it would be a cakewalk for a hacker to crack your system code. This is why you must use strong passwords composed of numerals, alphabets and characters. If your passwords are strong, it is a tough job for someone to crack it. Encourage your employees and users to create strong passwords.
Minimize the Number of Password Attempts:
A hacker will try all of the passwords randomly till they successfully open up your account. It means that your account is not safe even with a 6 digit pin creating a million unique possibilities.
Remember, a password cracking software can guess your codes in minutes. So, you must limit the number of attempts at all stages of your authentication process. This point is as useful as creating strong password for your system.
Choose Your Password Manager Software Wisely:
Password manager tool creates strong passwords and remembers them for you. This is why many businesses prefer using password manager software. If you are considering the same, you have to think many times because of the various concerns. For example, your all passwords are stored in its database, meaning a hacker can get all if he goes for just one.
Therefore, you have to think on its pros and cons before using it for your business.
Prefer On-Screen Keyboard to Feed Sensitive Information:
Nowadays, hackers are so sophisticated that they can record your keystrokes with the help of keylogging software, especially when you are using shared networks. What you can do to avoid your information leaking to other ends is that by using virtual or on screen keyboard, keylogging software can’t keep the track of the on screen keyboard being operating with the mouse clicks. Many financial institutions offer virtual keyboards as an input option you must use. And insist your employees and staff to follow this tip, too.
Be Careful About Backups:
What about your data backup? While data backups are essential to effective security, mismanagement and mishandling of backups can make them vulnerable to the theft. For example, if you choose cloud storage, your data is stored at remote location. Any negligence means that someone can gain access to your data easily. Therefore, you must encrypt and password-protect your documents before storing them on the cloud or remote server. You must go extra mile to encrypt your sensitive data. In this way, you can have a peace of mind knowing that you have an extra layer of protection for the remotely secured documents.
Educate Employees About Cyber Security
When security breaches are more common than you think, it is good to educate your employees about cyber security before you have any breach. Here are the few strategies to keep in mind to train your employees in cyber security:
- Train everyone—from top to the bottom
- Conduct seminars frequently
- Regularly talk to employees about cyber security
- Tell them how to recognize the attack
- Regularly test your employee’s IT security knowledge
- Clear your policies about hacking, data breaching and use of devices in your organization.
- Identify the inside threat in your company
Avoid Storing the Customer’s CVV Number
Getting the customer’s card details, with customer’s consent, can help you make the future checkouts convenient. On the flip side, this practice makes your customers data exposed to the hackers. The optimal solution is that you must store all credit card information without keeping the CVV number. And it would not bother the customer at all to enter the 3 digits during transaction. But keeping the credit card information safe would be far more important for your customer.
Control Physical Access to Systems and Network Components:
Don’t permit outsider or unauthorized person to use your system. If it is required, in the case of technician from another firm, provide them the general PC or have someone to supervise them during the tasks. Lock your computer up after leaving them and insist your staff to do so. Apart from that, you have to monitor the personal devices of the employees.
Update Your Software Regularly:
Never ignore the pop up messages on your screen which remind you about upgrading your software. Allowing software updates is one of the most important things you can do with your computer security. If you don’t, your computer is vulnerable to malware and hacking.
Software vendors release software updates to address the security risks in their existing products that could be exposed to the hackers anytime. They generally contain vulnerabilities fixes and product enhancement. Good thing is that they get automatically installed over the existing installation! Besides updating your software, always choose the quality and reliable vendor for security products.
Secure Your Networks:
Make sure your Wi-Fi network is hidden and secure to avoid the unauthorized access. And here are the ways to do that:
- Hide your Service Set Identifier available in wireless access point and router.
- Encrypt your wireless access point
- Disable access from the outside network
- Scan your network regularly
With these efficient security solutions, you can avoid the potential security risks that can harm the reputation and finances of your small business.