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7 Important Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business Owners

As a small company in today’s market, following cybersecurity tips is vital.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), there was a 7% increase in reported instances from 2020 to 2021, and the total number of complaints reported was 847,376. 

A cybersecurity plan might be the last of your concerns for a small business. Still, according to the previously mentioned IC3’s report, during 2021, an estimated $6.9 billion was lost due to cybercrime. 

Small businesses need effective cybersecurity plans, and know how to roll them out. 

Before we go into what cybersecurity advice your company should follow and implement, let’s focus on what cyber threats target smaller companies. 

Biggest Cyber Threats for Small Companies

There are several major cybersecurity attacks methods that affect smaller businesses. These include:

Phishing or Business Email Compromise (BEC)

BEC is a scam where the criminal sends an email to a recipient, where to access information needs to click a link. 

This link either opens a malicious attachment or takes you to a website with malware. These ransomware programs allow criminals access to sensitive information on your system. 

According to the FBI’s IC3, phishing has cost the global economy $43 Billion. 

Drive-by Downloads

Certain malicious websites will try to install software on your machine when browsing the web without your permission. Drive-by downloads can happen without any notification from your devices and can access them without the proper security software. 

Watering Holes

Taking its name from a surprise attack at the safari watering hole, the same tactic is true of watering hole attacks. 

The attackers hijack a website without the owner’s knowledge and offer users the option to download new software. This software is malware and allows criminals to access information on your machine. 

Now that we’ve covered the usual methods attackers will use to gain access to your company’s system, let’s talk about small business cybersecurity tips.

Practical Cybersecurity Tips for Your Company to Follow

Before moving forward, educating your employees about cyber threats is always in your best interest. Not only will it lower your chances of any data breaches, but in time help keep your company operating at its best capacity. 

What else should your team do besides education to ensure your company is safe from cyberattacks? 

Keep Software Updated

When formulating your business cybersecurity plan, setting aside time during the week for your employees to update their systems is critical. 

While most of us find updates somewhat annoying around deadlines, the importance of allowing them to install is that they are more secure.

Operating systems like Windows and IOS only update their security systems after identifying an issue. 

Pick a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Investing in your own private network is not affordable for a smaller company. But with a VPN, you can create secure network connections. 

For remote employees, having access to a VPN will make attacks unlikely. And with most VPNs operating with end-to-end military-grade encryptions, attackers are not likely to access any information. 

While it might be tempting to take the free VPN, use a pay-for-service. 

Also, some come with firewalls as well as anti-virus software. 

Install Anti-Virus and Firewall Software

As we mentioned, most cyberattacks occur via phishing. When an attacker does gain access to a system, you want to be able to remove their malware. 

Also, stop the spread of this malware across your company’s servers. This is where installing anti-virus software and firewalls come in. 

Anti-virus software will detect and neutralize these viruses on your machine. With firewalls, they monitor all traffic in and out of the network. 

Any suspicious traffic will be flagged down, and it will notify those responsible for cybersecurity. 

Make Backups

A physical backup of your data will ensure that sensitive information is secure. Most hackers are hoping that small businesses don’t back up as their number one tactic is to hold information  for ransom.

By allowing secure backups that occur regularly, you can circumnavigate this threat. 

Create Strong Passwords

Your server’s first line of defense is its password. Weak passwords, or comprised passwords, can allow easy access to systems. 

Using a password generator and keeper will guarantee that criminals can’t simply access your information. 

If you are required to share passwords, most password storage solutions will allow for the secure transfer of information. But instead, communicate in person, verbally. 

Use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) Logins 

A system that works exceptionally well is to use 2FA logins. This requires the user to confirm they are accessing the system. 

With its one-time use password, the likeness of being a victim of being hacked is little to none. 

As this will be for work devices, these should be directed to secure phones. It’s in everyone’s best interest that personal phones and computers are separate from work devices. 

Mixing business and pleasure will make them more vulnerable. 

Never Use Public Wifi

While your work machine will utilize all these security measures, accessing a public WiFi spot opens your devices to anyone operating it. 

These servers can circumnavigate all these systems you’ve installed. Public WiFi means networks on public transport, cafes, and communal working spaces. 

If your employees are working on the move, insist they use the portable hotspot. This will limit criminal access to your devices. 

Other General Tips

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about educating your staff members, it would be in your best interest to invest in specialist help. 

Companies like Azure Consulting can assist with training and a general assessment of what steps you need to take as a small company. 

And in the unfortunate event your company is a victim of a cyberattack, it’s best to have a trained professional assist with the situation. 

This is especially true if it is done by a professional. 

Make Sure You Know These Cybersecurity Tips 

When it comes to cybersecurity tips, just remember to keep calm. Those who panic make mistakes. Then follow the laid out plan laid out by your cybersecurity consultancy. 

And for those interested in keeping up to date with technology trends, you can follow our Trending in Technology page

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