Small businesses are not safe from cyber security threats. Protect your business by taking the necessary precautions.
Experts predict that cyber security threats will continue to hound small businesses this year. With the handsome payoffs cyber criminals get from committing these crimes, and the false sense of cyber security among small business owners in the country, you can expect to see more frequent and more serious malicious attacks in the immediate future if people do not take the necessary steps to protect their business, their customers and their data.
According to an article published by the National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College, small businesses should prepare for an increased frequency of ransomware attacks (both at the network and cloud levels), web-based infection and browser –based exploits (disseminating malware to visitors by infecting poorly secured websites), and cyber theft (stealing credit card information through weak payment system used by small businesses).
Since most systems are using open source software, experts believe that hackers are continuously searching for hidden vulnerabilities embedded in these codes. There is also a strong possibility that these people will try to access confidential data on business network systems by using second tier entry points such as network printers.
Protecting Your Business from Cyber Security Threats
Based on the results of a survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), 77% of small business owners in the US believe that a safe and trusted Internet is critical to their success. They also believe that their business is safe from cyber security threats. However, 83% of these businesses do not have a formal cyber security plan in place.
If you want to remain safe against these threats, here are some tips that can help you secure your business, your customers and your data.
- Educate employees. Develop strict internet security policies and guidelines, and train employees on internet safety. Keep them informed about the latest threats and teach them what they should do if they suspect malware on their machine.
- Stay up to date. Always have the latest security software, browser, and operating system to protect information, computers and networks. Keep everything current.
- Draft a disaster preparedness plan. Identify critical data and use appropriate backup solutions. If your employees use their mobile phones to hold confidential information or access the corporate network, a mobile device action plan should also be created.
- Secure Wi-Fi networks. Keep your Wi-Fi network secure, encrypted and hidden. Do not broadcast the network name and use a strong password.
- Limit employee access and authority. Do not give any employee full access to all data systems and do not allow anyone to install software without permission.
- Control access to business computers. Do not allow unauthorized individuals to use or access your business computers. Require employees to use strong passwords and change them every three months to ensure better protection. You may also consider implementing multi-factor authentication to protect more sensitive information.