If you own a small or medium sized business(SMB) then hopefully you’ve thought about protecting your business from cyber attacks. Cybercrime is no joke. In fact, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, it’s projected to cost the world $6 trillion by 2021.
On top of that, according to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, a stunning 58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses. Even worse, VIPRE reported in 2017 that 66% of SMBs would close their doors if hit by a data breach.
So, cyber attacks are common, their most important target is SMBs and they lead to the closure of 66% of the small businesses they attack. If you own a SMB, this should be enough to worry you—to say the least.
With that in mind, today we are going to discuss five tips to protect your small business from hackers.
Secure Your Software
Getting software security solutions should be one of the first steps you take to protect your small business from hackers. After all, if you don’t have the most basic security elements nothing else you do will matter.
Implementing a quality firewall to protect your internet connection is the first step toward protecting your data. Then with a second level of protection from real-time security software from McAfee, Bitdefender or the like, you can really start to build a resilient security system for your business.
Digital trends has a great list of the best antivirus software programs for business in 2020. You can’t go wrong with any of the programs on the list. Securing your software doesn’t take a genius, it just takes consistent effort and a little cash, but trust me it’s well worth the effort.
Secure Your Hardware
Many SMBs stop adding security solutions after securing their software, forgetting the importance of physical security and so much more.
One physical break in can lead to thousands in damage, so just like your home you should consider buying a security system to help prevent, or at least mitigate, the damage done by break-ins.
Securing your hardware means more than preventing break-ins, however. Unfortunately, accidents happen so you need to make sure your hardware is in a place where a single falling drink can’t ruin thousands of dollars of equipment. The stories of clumsy employees ruining thousands of dollars of data storage are simply too common to ignore.
Data archiving is one of the best ways to protect your small business’ data from cyber attacks.
Data archiving moves your data off local disks and storage and into cloud storage. This means hackers will have to deal with security systems from large companies like Apple, Amazon and others who offer cloud storage solutions instead of just your local software security. This added element of protection can really help business owner’s peace of mind.
Companies like Archiware even allow your data to be stored in offline solutions like LTO tape or disk so there’s no way hackers can get to it without physically removing the data from your office. This is an excellent solution for photographers, videographers or other businesses with large quantities of valuable data to protect.
Change Passwords Consistently
This one may sound obvious, but it’s important to consistently change your passwords to prevent cyber attacks. Not only will this save you from hackers, but it could also save you from disgruntled former employees who may try and take advantage of you after leaving the company.
The fact is, according to the Federal Insider Threat Report, approximately 50% of federal agencies were targeted by insider threats in 2015. If federal agencies can be targeted like this, your SMB could be too. So remember, change your passwords consistently, it’s well worth the extra couple minutes per month.
Finally employee education is vital to avoiding cyber attacks. This is because the majority of successful cyberattacks use phishing to get information from employees that allows hackers to enter secured data storage.
If you think your employees are too smart for that, you’d be surprised. Recent research from Duo shows that more than half of phishing campaigns resulted in at least one set of user credentials becoming exposed. On top of that, The Keeper Security/Ponemon Institute’s SMBs report shows the number of SMBs reporting negligent employees and contractors as the cause of data breaches increased to 60% in 2018.
This means it’s vital to change the mindset and culture of your business to assume you are a target of potential phishing scams. That way your employees can be more aware.
There is a lot more you can do as a SMB owner in 2020 to protect your business from hackers than ever before. Just being aware that SMBs are targets is a start, but these days you have options to protect your business, from employee education to data archiving. So don’t wait to start thinking about security until it’s too late, get started today.