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Don’t Get Hacked: The What, Why, and How of Small Business Cyber Security

Are you a small business owner looking to protect and secure your data? If so, you’re likely aware that cyber security should be a priority. But with so much information on the internet, it can be hard to discern what’s worth your attention and what isn’t.

What Is Cyber Security?

Are you a small business owner who’s secretly hoping no one will notice you and target your data? Think again. Cyber attacks are on the rise, and a staggering 53% of small businesses reported being victims of cyber crime.

So, what is cyber security? Simply put, it’s the practice of protecting networks, programs, and devices from digital attacks. These attacks are meant to access, change, or destroy sensitive information, extort money from victims, or to interrupt normal business processes. With over 60% of data breaches targeting small businesses, having an effective cyber security plan in place is essential.

The best way for you to protect yourself against these digital attacks? Educate yourself about the different types of cyber threats out there and prioritize the areas in your business where you need to focus on security measures. The good news is that most hackers aren’t after you specifically—they’re after easy targets and vulnerable networks. By understanding the basics of cyber security and taking preventive steps, you can make sure your small business isn’t easy prey.

Why Is Cyber Security Important for Small Businesses?

You already know that cyber security is an important aspect for any business. But why is it so invaluable for small businesses? Simply put, small businesses are prime targets for cyber criminals. They often lack the resources, technology, and training to safeguard their networks against sophisticated attacks. Even just one successful breach can have devastating results, such as irreparable damage to your brand’s reputation and lost customer trust.

That’s why every small business needs to make cyber security a top priority. Investing in the right cyber security measures and best practices isn’t just prudent—it’s necessary to ensure your business is secure and able to continue operations without interruption. It also helps you stay compliant with industry regulations, maintain customer trust, and protect the valuable data that your company relies on every day.

Achieving Comprehensive Cyber Security

Achieving comprehensive cyber security is easier said than done, but it’s a crucial step in protecting your business. Comprehensive cyber security means taking steps to protect your data, devices, and networks from malicious threats like malware, ransomware, viruses and phishing.

So how do you go about starting the process?

Research cyber security solutions

With the amount of sensitive data that businesses have today, a comprehensive security solution is key. Researching solutions for your business is the first step to finding a plan that fits your needs — and there are a lot of options out there for small businesses.

For instance:

  • Firewalls: Keeps unauthorized users from accessing files on your private networks.
  • Intrusion detection software: Monitors outgoing traffic to detect suspicious-looking activity.
  • Encryption software: Scrambles data so that it can only be accessed with an authorization key or password.
  • Multi-factor authentication: Uses two or more factors (like passwords and PINs) to verify someone’s identity before they gain access to sensitive information.
  • Anti-virus software: Scans files regularly to make sure they haven’t been infected with malicious software codes.

It’s important to understand the specifics of the types of protections out there for small businesses in order to determine which ones might make sense for you. Every business has unique needs, so make sure you have a full understanding of both the risks and protections available before selecting one or more solutions.

Tips for Keeping Passwords Safe

Passwords are a key element of your cyber security, and basic tips can go a long way. Here’s what you should do to keep your passwords safe:

  1. Change passwords regularly: Change all passwords every three months as a minimum. This can be done through a password manager, which helps you remember complex passwords (we’ll look more closely at these in Step 5).
  2. Keep different passwords for different sites: Use a different password for each of the sites that you log into, including personal accounts and those for business purposes. To make this easier, create a ‘formula’ for your different accounts that allows you to easily recall the individual passwords.
  3. Avoid risks: Never share your password with anyone and avoid using obvious things like birthdays or pet names that could be guessed by hackers. It is always best to use combination of words, numbers and special characters.
  4. Check security feedback: If available on the website you are using, check the feedback on how secure your password is before setting it so that you can be sure you have made it strong enough to deter hackers from accessing it

Basic Steps to Protect Your Business Online

Protection is the name of the game when it comes to cyber security for your small business. You don’t want to be the one who spends all their time, energy and money on something that ends up not helping protect you. So how can you do it? Here are some basic steps:

Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN is an encrypted network tunnel between two points. It helps keep your data secure, especially when you’re using public Wi-Fi or connecting to a remote server. It also prevents hackers from being able to access your data by creating a secure connection between your devices and the server.

Use strong passwords

Make sure you choose passwords that are complex and difficult to guess, like ones that use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and other characters. Also avoid using personal information like birthdates or names as part of your password—hackers can easily guess these!

Update software regularly

Software updates are important because they often contain patches for security vulnerabilities which hackers use as an entry point into your system. Make sure you’re keeping all of your software up-to-date to reduce the risk of any malicious malware entering your system through outdated software.

Use firewall protection

Firewalls are essential for small businesses because they help protect systems against malicious attacks. Firewalls act like a shield between the internet and any computer systems connected to it, allowing only authorized users access while keeping out any uninvited guests.

Tools for Monitoring Your Business’s Online Presence

You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to find out your business has been hacked. Unfortunately, hackers are getting more sophisticated, which means they can send your data elsewhere before you even know it. That’s why monitoring your online presence is an essential component of staying safe and secure.

Here are some tools you can use to monitor your business’s online presence:

  • Web monitoring and online reputation management services: These services give you visibility into what’s being said about your business online, so you can monitor any negative comments or suspicious activities that could potentially harm it.
  • Security awareness training: Training your team on cyber security basics is a great way to stay on top of potential threats and keep them from happening in the first place. This could include topics such as secure passwords, how to identify phishing emails and data safety practices.
  • Network security tools: Firewalls, antivirus software and malware protection tools can help protect your business from cyber attacks and other unwanted intrusions. These tools should be regularly updated in order to keep up with the latest threats.
  • By monitors your business’s online presence—and taking the proper steps to protect it—you can rest easy knowing that you’re doing everything in your power to keep yourself and your customers safe from cyber criminals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cyber security awareness is essential for small business owners today. From identifying the threats, to understanding the why and how of cyber security, small business owners can no longer assume their data and systems are safe.

Investing in a good cyber security solution, implementing the proper cyber security policies, and training employees on cyber security best practices can help strengthen a business’s defenses against attackers. With a little knowledge and effort, small businesses can protect their data and systems from outside threats and stay secure and competitive in the digital age.

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