Photo by Philipp Katzenberger
Originally Posted On: https://blog.sfgate.com/lifestyle/2019/09/27/10-cybersecurity-tips-for-small-businesses/
This year has seen its fair share of cyberattacks, just like the years preceding it. Despite greater awareness of cybersecurity, more than half of business owners surveyed are the victims of cyberattacks.
Cyber threats aren’t just a pain for businesses. They put your customers’ data in harm’s way. If Facebook’s recent data breaches are any indication, consumers aren’t too forgiving when it comes to their privacy.
If you’re not prioritizing security, it’s time to step up. You installed a security system for your office, but what about your digital devices? Is avoiding the issue worth the risk?
Start setting an example now with these critical cybersecurity tips for small businesses.
1. Draft a Cybersecurity Policy
You know the phrase, “teamwork makes the dream work,” right? The same mantra should apply to your cybersecurity efforts. If your staff isn’t on the same page, your company is already exposed to vulnerabilities.
The best way to tackle this issue is to draft a cybersecurity policy. This policy should outline all of your company’s protocols and expectations for cybersecurity.
A robust cybersecurity policy should have standards and rules for social media behavior, file transfers, email security, password management, and company devices. Consider hiring an in-house security expert to manage all your company’s security concerns.
Remember, cybersecurity for law firms, small businesses, and solo entrepreneurs are crucial for survival. Non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, protect your company from future cyber threats as well. You should also have a legal team on standby to help you fight against vicious cyber threats.
Let’s explore more of these issues in-depth.
2. Create Stronger Passwords
By now, it should be clear that simple, one-word passwords are a no-no. However, many businesses are still exposing themselves to hackers by using simple passwords. This trend ends now.
Starting today, change all your weak passwords. Ideally, you want unique passwords that are impossible to guess. Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Don’t include any identifying information in your passwords. Avoid using birth dates, hometowns, schools, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, names of relatives, and personal favorites.
Above all else, don’t use the word “password” as your actual password!
3. Use a Password Manager
The main reason people simple passwords is because they’re easier to remember. This response is understandable but leads to a lot of honest security mistakes. Unfortunately, only one honest mistake can lead to a severe cyberattack.
If you’re worried about juggling too many passwords, you can use a secure password manager. There are different password management software on the market. These apps store passwords and provide 2-fact authentication for added security.
4. Implement 2-Factor Authentication
What is 2-factor authentication, exactly? It’s one of the latest cybersecurity tips trending right now. Everyone from Google to WordPress has implemented 2-factor authentication for users.
Instead of imputing your password alone, 2-factor authentication requires an extra step to sign in to your account. This extra step could be a simple math problem, trivia question, or image-matching game.
5. Secure Your Network
When was the last time you inspected your wireless network? It may not be as secure as you think.
Your company’s internet network should be password-protected. You can create a password through your network’s router settings. Only authorized staff should have access to your sensitive network password.
Next, enable encryption for your network. You should also limit your network’s range for additional security. These cybersecurity tips stop other people from breaking into your network.
6. Understand the Dangers of Public Wi-Fi
Now that you understand the importance of a secure network, it’s time to talk about public wi-fi.
But what about all those people typing away at coffee shops?
The last thing you want to do is to share sensitive data over a public wi-fi network, even if that network is password-protected. Public wi-fi is excellent for internet research, word processing, and brainstorming.
Don’t even check your business email at your local coffee shop! It’s not worth the risk.
7. Backup Your Data
Your company data is precious cargo. Don’t do anything online unless you have a backup.
You should have a backup of your company website, source codes, and software. You never know when a hacker will break in and wipe out your data. Worse yet, a hacker can change your source code and infect your devices with dangerous malware.
8. Cybersecurity Tips for E-Mail Security
You’ve heard time and time again to not click on suspicious links in emails. Despite this advice, emails links are still the primary way for hackers to break into devices.
Outline strict email security rules in your cybersecurity policy. Secure your company email system with 2-factor authentication, regularly empty spam folders, and teach employees the difference between safe links and phishing links.
Immediately block email addresses that send spam and malicious phishing links. Be careful when adding people to email threads. You don’t want any sensitive information leaked to the wrong people.
9. Use Social Media Responsibly
Social media does wonders for marketing, but don’t let it compromise your company’s security.
Remember these cybersecurity tips for social media:
- Don’t post identifying information
- Don’t reveal sensitive company data
- Don’t engage in social media feuds
- Don’t click on suspicious links in direct messages
- Don’t share social media passwords
- Don’t follow potential security risks on social media
Most importantly, don’t reveal anything on social media that exposes password information. Remember, hackers use personal information to guess passwords.
10. Don’t Give Away Personal Information
Last but not least is one of the most critical cybersecurity tips. Under no circumstances, don’t reveal identifying and personal information.
In this article, you’ve learned not to share personal information through email, passwords, and social media. You should also be mindful of what you share in-person and in meetings.
Don’t include sensitive information on public documents, whitepapers, case studies, marketing material, and off-hours correspondence.
Get in the habit of practicing security every day!
Put Cybersecurity First
If your business is still vulnerable to cyber attacks, you know what you need to do. Don’t be a security liability. Remember these cybersecurity tips as you prioritize your security goals.
Cybersecurity is just one part of running a successful small business. Discover even more resources that can help you grow your business dreams responsibly!