We’re all aware that cyber security refers to protecting and strengthening your computers and internet-based systems from unintended or unauthorized access, modifications, robbery, and obliteration.Photo by Matthew Henry
A lot of modern small businesses use web-based technology and tools to carry out their day-to-day functions. The internet and the cloud have become integral to the smooth functioning of small businesses.
Technology helps with conducting long-distance conferences, advertising, buying and selling, researching, identifying new markets, communicating with customers and suppliers, and even conducting banking transactions.
While you can bring attacks in the physical realm under control with the help of technological aids and state-of-art security cameras, the virtual world is a different ball game. The internet might be a boon, but it also has its fair share of weaknesses.
Along with its benefits, there are many risks, which are only growing by the day. Small businesses often fall prey to cyber attacks due to loopholes in their cyber security measures.
Below are a few cyber security tactics that all small businesses should have in place to protect themselves from virtual perils.
1. Install Reliable Antivirus Software
A good, reliable antivirus program is a basic must-have of any cyber security system. Apart from that, anti-malware is also an essential. These programs work as the final frontier for defending against unwanted attacks should anyone get through your security network.
Antivirus and anti-malware detect and remove viruses and malware, adware, and spyware. They scan through and filter out potentially harmful downloads and emails.
2. Protect with a Firewall and Install Encryption Software
A firewall is necessary, as it helps you protect your inbound and outbound network traffic. Firewalls can stop hackers from attacking your network by blocking certain websites. You can also program firewalls to restrict anyone from sending out proprietary data and confidential emails from your company’s network.
If you deal with data pertaining to credit cards, bank accounts, and social security numbers on a daily basis, it makes sense to have an encryption program in place. Encryption keeps data safe by altering information on the computer into unreadable codes.
That way, even if someone does steal your data, it will be useless to the hacker because he won’t have the keys to decrypt the data and decipher the information.
3. Ignore Suspicious Emails
Make it a habit never to open or reply to suspicious-looking emails, even if they appear to be from a sender you know. If you do open the email, do not click on suspicious links or download attachments. Doing so might make you a victim of online financial and identity theft, including “phishing” scams.
Phishing emails appear to come from trustworthy senders, such as a bank or someone with whom you might have done business. Through the email, the hacker attempts to acquire your private and financial data, such as bank account details and credit card numbers.
4. Limit Access to Critical Data and Do Regular Back-Ups
Keep the number of people with access to critical data to a minimum. For example, limit them to the company’s CEO, CIO, and a handful of trusted staff. Formulate a clear plan that mentions which individual has access to which sensitive information in order to have increased accountability.
Every week, back up your data to an external hard drive or the cloud yourself. Or schedule automated backups to ensure that your information is stored safely. That way, even if your systems are compromised, you still have your information safe with you.
5. Communicate Cyber Security Policies to Employees
Having a written cyber security policy listing the the dos and don’ts of using office systems and the internet is helpful, but not enough. You have to ensure you communicate the policy’s details to your employees and that they understand them.
Your employees need to be able to put your policy into practice. That is the only way of making such policies effective. And make sure you amend your policy regularly according to the relevance of its content.
Having your business disrupted because of attempts to steal confidential data and money is a very real threat. Although a business can never be completely safe from such dangers, there are several security practices, processes, and systems that can help you bust security threats.
Keep your eyes and ears open to suspicious behavior on the part of your employees and outsiders. Use surveillance systems to identify those with vested interests in your company. Aside from those strategies, the above tips should come in handy for amping up your cyber security measures.
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