It is a common misconception that only big corporations and governments are targets of cyber criminals. However, research shows that 43% of all data breaches are towards small businesses.
Is Your Business Cyber Safe?
If you are a small business then cybersecurity is something that might not have passed through your mind, after all there are so many things you have to juggle as a business owner. So we have put together a list of essential steps to take to protect yourself from cyber attacks as a small business.
What can be affected from a cyber attack?
First, let’s understand what a cyberattack might mean for your business. Money, data and IT equipment could all be at risk. If a hacker gains access to your network, they could do a lot of damage with what they find, such as:
- Access to client data
- Customer credit card information
- Banking information and credit card details
- Pricing structure, product designs, expansion plans, manufacturing processes, etc.
These attacks won’t just affect you. Cybercriminals may use your network as a springboard to infiltrate the networks of other businesses whose supply chains you are a part of. This will significantly impact the trust and reputation of your business.
What are the effects of a cyber Attack?
A cyberattack will drastically impact any business. According to mybusiness.com.au, more than half of small businesses that are targets of a cyberattack shut down within six months of an attack. While that seems as the worst case scenario, even the best case scenario will leave your business crippling. There are several consequences you can expect even from the smallest of cyber attacks such as:
- Monetary losses caused by theft of banking information
- Monetary losses from business interruptions
- High costs to eliminate threats from your network
- Reputational harm from informing clients that their information was hacked
Steps to Protect Your Business from Cyber Threats
As a small business the last thing you want is another problem on your plate, and while it may seem like you’re helpless against cyber attacks, you are not. We have put together the top 3 steps you should take to decrease your chances of falling victim to a cyberattack.
Employee Education and Training
Employees are the most prevalent reason for a cyber attack on your company. Employees who accidentally provide attackers access to networks account for 43% of data loss. Employee-initiated attacks can occur in a variety of circumstances. These include misplacing a work tablet, revealing login credentials or opening fraudulent emails that have the ability to spread viruses. Invest in cybersecurity training for your employees to prevent insider attacks. Show them how to deal with suspicious emails. A great website for affordable cyber safety training is www.cybersafe.training.
Software Updates and Employee Access
Make sure to keep your softwares up to date, have automatic updates outside of business hours so it does not disrupt your business’ workflow. Updating your softwares makes sure you have the latest security updates that keep your business safe from innovative cyber attacks.
Remember to delete accounts and/or passwords when an employee leaves, it is also good practice to change passwords regularly for good measure i.e every quarter . You don’t want anyone outside of your company having access to your information, no matter how trustworthy they may seem.
When you can, use multi-factor authentication to make sure there are as many roadblocks as possible for a cyber attack. This will significantly lower the chances that your accounts will be hacked. If you can’t use multi-factor authentication, use pass-phrases for your passwords to protect your accounts and devices. Pass-phrases are four or more random words as your password. This makes it harder for hackers to figure out what your password is. Pass-phrases are most effective when they are long, unpredictable, and one-of-a-kind.
Backup Your Information and Files
Do you regularly back up the files and data for your business? If there is a cyberattack, it is possible that data will be lost or changed. Would your business still be able to run if something like that happened?
Using a backup program to make copies of your files automatically and stores them in a safe place may well be helpful so if you are attacked, you will be able to get all of your files back from your backups. Choose a tool that lets you automate or schedule the backup process so you don’t have to keep telling yourself to do it. If a cybercriminal attacks your computer, you should keep copies of your backups in a place that is not connected to the internet. This will make sure that the backups don’t get encrypted or locked out.
Tip: Change you passwords after backing up your files to avoid having your back up files hacked.
- Train and educate employees about cybersecurity, risk and prevention.
- Update software
- Change passwords regularly and after back ups.
- Delete accounts/change passwords when employee leaves your company
- Enable multi-factor authentication where possible
- Use pass-phrases for passwords
- Regularly backup files; use a software for a streamlined process
- Backup files to offline server to avoid inaccessibility.
In conclusion, if cybersecurity is something you had not thought about but want to know more about, Gerald and Rose has a team of experienced business owners and advisors that can guide you through adequate digital security set up.
Alternatively, if you are in need of digital services such as websites, social media or digital advertising services, we also have specialists who can help take care of your marketing needs so you can focus on doing what you do best, run your business.
Contact us today to discuss the perfect solution for your business.