In this day, a business owner can’t afford to ignore the issue of cyber security. There are news revolving around data leaks, theft, and hacks almost daily. These attacks end up causing business owners massive losses in data, finances, and reputation. These create stress and cost more to remediate the acts of cyber criminals. These cases aren’t isolated to corporations; small businesses suffer, too.
In fact, statistics show that small businesses suffer more with 60% of them closing down within six months of a cyber attack. The reasons your business may be a top target for cybercrime is because their networks are more vulnerable. While corporations dedicate a favorable portion of their budgets for data and network security, most businesses don’t. However, business owners can take some steps to enhance their protection.
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is the practice by individuals, corporations, and businesses of protecting networks, systems, and software from digital attacks. The aim of the attacks is, normally, to access, steal, change, destroy data or extort money from owners. Sometimes, they’re used to interrupt the normal running of business processes. There are many forms of cyber attacks and ways to assess vulnerabilities. You may go over at this website to read more on the cyber security threats facing businesses.
It’s important to ensure implementation of effective cyber security measures as cyber criminals are becoming more and more innovative in their ways.
Look at this business owner’s guide to cyber security and see some simple steps you can take to ensure you’re less vulnerable to cyber attacks:
1) Put Your Cyber Security Policies In Writing
The first step is having a policy that outlines and provides the guidelines to be followed by everyone when using your online systems and software. This can minimize the risks of attack and keeps everyone aware of the processes laid down to protect your business assets and data.
A cyber security policy should include:
- The laid down measures to minimize threats
- How, where, and what data needs backup, including backup management practices
- Different responsibilities for employees and data access
- Your best security practices, such as what should or shouldn’t be done
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a cyber security planner that can help you draft your security policies.
2) Secure Your Networks With A Firewall
Your network is among the most vulnerable places for cyber attacks and it’s highly targeted by cybercriminals. Safeguard your network by setting up a firewall as a basic method of defense. A firewall acts as a shield that keeps off unnecessary network traffic from your network. A firewall can identify trusted and untrusted traffic, then acts accordingly by deflecting the untrusted traffic.
Ensure that even employees working remotely should use firewall in their home networks.
3) Enforce Data Access Control
To ensure that your business data is safe, controlling access is crucial. Controls put in place authenticate and authorize personnel to access only the level of information they’re allowed to access and use. If there’s no data authentication and authorization of data, there’s no security, and anyone may be able to access and use the data to their liking.
However, monitoring each person related with data is difficult and time consuming, even invasive in some cases. For this, you can use additional passwords, security questions, encryption, and many others. Layered security practices are excellent methods in case your data falls into the wrong hands.
The steps needed to authorize access can repel attacks. Authorization through a code sent to personal phones works best since an attacker will rarely have access to such information. Also, ensure that each person knows the consequences of not following the set cyber security policies and guidelines.
4) Use Strong Passwords That Are Regularly Updated
Passwords, just like access control, ensure that only authorized persons can access their accounts, while keeping unauthorized people out. However, many people use basic passwords that attackers can guess and hack quite easily.
Here are some basic rules to follow when creating a password:
- Let the password be at least ten characters long.
- Use a mixture of uppercase, lowercase, numerals, and special characters.
- Avoid using a common phrase.
- Avoid using your birth date, name, or personal information that can easily be found in your social media accounts.
- Use a different password for each account.
- Update your passwords often and avoid recycling them.
Your Business Data Security Is In Your Hands
As a business owner, aside from dealing with the normal challenges of running a business of keeping your employees motivated and happy while hitting your sale targets, you have to worry about cyber attacks. However, it’s easy to downplay cyber threats if your data hasn’t been compromised or you feel like you don’t have enough to become a target.
But, cyber criminals are now targeting businesses through their vulnerabilities. This gives you a reason take cyber security practices seriously to ensure that your data, finances, and reputation are protected from attacks.
It’s sad that 60% of businesses don’t survive six months after a cyber attack. Don’t allow your business to become a statistic. Follow this simple guide and enhance your protection against cyber attacks.