Posted on: 5 June 2017Share
Cyber-attacks can happen to anyone and to any business—regardless of size. In fact, if you own a small business, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing an attack if you lack resources dedicated to cyber security. You may feel your business is not a target because there is not much to steal. However, your small business has plenty of valuable information that criminals are looking for, like bank account information, customer and employee records, and access to your company's finances.
Here are 5 ways you and your employees can be more cyber secure.
Strengthen Your Passwords
One way to combat cyber-attacks is by protecting all your accounts with strong passwords. Once a criminal is able to get through your password, they have all your small business information at their fingertips. They can steal your information and create long-term damage for you, your employees, and your customers.
Choose a password that is at least 8 characters in length and includes a combination of letters, numbers, spaces, and punctuation. It may be hard for you to remember, but it will make it difficult or impossible for a hacker to crack. Do not use the same password for many accounts; hackers love how easy this makes their job. Also don't fall for creating a password out of your birthdates or children's names. Hackers can quickly figure this information out using social engineering and surveillance.
Think Before You Click And Open
Cyber criminals rely on several types of malware as a way to get their hands on your information. Often these find their way into your computer via links attached to emails, online posts, and instant messages. Once you or employees click on an attachment or email, that malware is installed. Hackers now have access to your computer and are free to monitor and control your online activity and use personal data. Here are a few common types of malware and what they do once they infect your computer:
- Ransomware. This malware restricts your computer access until you pay a ransom to unlock it.
- Botnets. Controlled remotely, this malware gathers sensitive data like social security numbers and credit card numbers
- Trojan. This aptly-named malware disguises as an ordinary file so you'll download it, allowing hackers access to your computer.
- Rootkit. This nasty malware creates a handy back door so hackers can gain access to your computer's information.
Train your employees to stop and think before clicking open an email that looks strange or unfamiliar. Instead, just delete it.
Important data is vulnerable to not just different kinds of malware, but also other complications like computer malfunctions, theft, or even accidental deletion. Because of this, make sure all your important work is backed up both electronically and physically. If your data is ever stolen or lost, you have a copy to work from.
Guard All Devices
As more and more devices are used for work, your chances of being cyber attacked increase. Make sure you and your employees keep an eye on every laptop and mobile device. To stop theft or unauthorized access, don't leave your devices unattended either inside your business or out in public places. Lock them when they are not being used.
One way to detect any weak areas in your system is by penetration testing. This test challenges your current cyber defenses by behaving like a hacker trying to bypass those defenses. When complete, the test gives you a report of any vulnerability in your system. This way, you can improve your security and upgrade any areas that need it.
You can actively help combat the risk of cyber-attacks by beefing up your passwords, training your employees to think before they click, backing up your data, guarding all devices, and getting a penetration test. Sometimes this is not enough and you find you are a cyber victim. In this case, digital forensics can investigate the cyber-attack and help determine what occurred to prevent it from happening in the future.