There has been a boom in entrepreneurship in the internet era when it has become easier than ever to kickstart a business by using websites or social media pages.
While the convenience, cost savings, and market penetration are unparalleled, cyber security is mounting concern because small businesses particularly those that make use of online platforms are increasingly at risk.
For some small businesses, hacking their website could result in a complete shutdown or considerable financial loss. Here are some crucial cyber security tips for small businesses to utilize in 2022.
1. Employee Awareness
Many cyber hacking attempts are successful because the person on the other end of the spectrum is not sufficiently literate in malware prevention or cyber security. Invest some resources in training your employees on how to prevent malware from entering the company’s computers and how to use software like firewalls effectively.
Even simple aspects like not clicking on phishing links or monitoring emails can prevent hackers from gaining access to your business. It is also useful to train your employees to never share personal information even in communication attempts that seem like your bank or financial institution.
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2. Invest In A Great Firewall
As a business, you should never underestimate the importance of a subscription to excellent antivirus software and firewall. Antivirus Software Escrow can detect and eliminate cyber threats and hacking attempts. Experts say that more than 90% of all attacks can be successfully prevented by using a great antivirus and the rest requires personal safety measures such as multifactor authentication and being vigilant about phishing attempts.
Some of the hacking attempts you should watch out for that can be successfully prevented by a good antivirus are Trojan horses, browser helper hijackers, adware, spyware, LSPs, keyloggers, and ransomware.
3. The Smaller The Better
A major misconception amongst small business owners is that hackers are only concerned with causing security breaches in large and lucrative companies. The truth of the matter is that smaller businesses are actually more enticing to hackers because there is considerable financial gain to be had without all the high-quality top-tier cyber protection that global giants possess.
Smaller companies may also lack all the sophisticated IT personnel to deal with cyber threats and new hacking tools that are cleverly disguised as browser add-ons among other things. Small business owners should not think they are immune from malicious attacks, they may even be more susceptible.
4. Create An Inventory To Keep Track
Any small business can have any number of computer systems online as well as social media accounts, other personalized webpage controls and also financial information that can be hacked. Make a detailed inventory of all devices your business uses as well as all accounts and user pages you control. You can only protect and anticipate malware attacks if you have an inventory in front of you and can single out any loopholes that exist in your cyber security.
Even iCloud accounts and Google accounts should be added to this list as they can be very vulnerable to attack and contain a host of valuable information. Using penetration testing services for your business can be immensely helpful as they deal with isolating vulnerabilities and weak points in cyber security wherever they may exist from websites to computer networks and apps.
Better yet, you can deploy an automated pen testing tool that persistently scans and weeds out vulnerabilities in your IT setup, allowing you to be proactive about protecting against common issues, without as much manual intervention required.
5. Create A Bulletproof Security Policy
When you are trying to run a successful business, planning, strategizing and rules are everything because they point towards discipline which helps achieve goals. Drafting a security policy can be helpful for keeping your cyber security concerns in check especially when it relates to new employees who may have some careless habits.
Sometimes something simple as sharing a password or clicking on a link can mean a complete financial hack. Share your policy wide with all your employees especially if they are going to be working remotely or using public Wi-Fi or even outsourcing to external IT experts, designers or freelancers.
6. Monitor And Test
Malware threats are evolving and experts say that new, dangerous viruses are created almost weekly. You cannot just install an antivirus on all your computer systems and call it a day. Sensible cyber security measures mean around-the-clock monitoring and testing.
This is easier to do if you are using multifactor authentication on all your business accounts because you will get a lot of alerts before a hacker actually gains entry. Using a security key for your accounts as a backup authentication tool is also brilliant because overriding one of those is rather impossible at this point and it can provide valuable protection.
7. Protect Client Data Along With Yours
Many small businesses depending on their area of work and expertise have access to considerable personal client data such as people’s contact info and oftentimes their bank information which they may have used for purchases. If you have e-commerce card payments enabled on your websites and platforms you need to make sure your service provider or payment portal is as secure as can be and that hackers cannot enter and steal the financial information of customers.
Furthermore, protecting client and customer data is also vital for your brand image and for cultivating trust in the industry.
8. Back-Up Information To Be Safe
A part of running and expanding a small business which includes selling and marketing widely on online platforms is to expect a hacking attempt or a malware attack. No business can keep sailing successfully without ever being compromised or coming face to face with some hurdle but it is all about preemption and preparation.
Have backup mechanisms whether it is protected cloud storage or external hard drives to make sure important information is never lost and you are able to return to operations even if your firewall has taken a hit. Some businesses to this day prefer keeping hard copies of vital documents, permits, and other data under lock and key (with fire protective equipment) because they deem it safer than putting that information in the cloud or on a computer system.