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How to Improve Cyber Security for Small Businesses

Cyber security is absolutely vital for small businesses. According to recent statistics, the average data breach in the US results in costs of $8.19 million.

Could your business survive if it had to pay out that much money? For many small businesses, the answer is no.

It’s much better to prevent a data breach than have to deal with the consequences of one. In this guide, we’re going to take a look at how you can improve cyber security and bolster your business’ online protection.

Are you ready to learn more and start shoring up your defenses? Then read on!

1. Create a Strong Password Policy

Many people use the same password for everything. Many of these most common passwords are very weak and include such highlights as “passw0rd” and “abc123.”

There are two different schools of thought on what you should do to make your passwords stronger.

You could go down the traditional route of ensuring that passwords feature special characters, letters, and numbers. This isn’t a bad idea and it does work. Yet these passwords can be very difficult to remember.

You could also follow the “correct horse battery staple” example and conjoin some common and memorable words into one long string. This has the advantage of being much easier to remember while still being pretty secure.

Whichever method you use, passwords shouldn’t be the only thing between your data and the outside world. You should also ensure that you use two-factor authentication when logging into your network. Your employees can carry an authenticator dongle or you can have a code sent to them via text.

This extra layer of security can stop a lot of attacks in their tracks, so don’t overlook them.

2. Beware of Phishing

Phishing is a term that we’re sure you’ve come across before. It’s where attackers will send fraudulent emails attempting to gain personal information or access to your network.

The attackers may claim to be representatives of a prospective client or to be from Paypal, your bank, or any other entity. There are only a few tell-tale signs that the email isn’t genuine, such as the sender’s domain not matching the genuine article.

Spearphishing is a more targeted version of phishing. The attackers may claim to be someone you know and may even be able to tell you many details about them. They will have obtained these details from social media or hacked emails.

Spearphishing is particularly hard to spot, as attackers might use authentic company logos on their emails.

Never give out personal information over email, as it is, in most use cases, very insecure.

3. Use Cybersecurity Software

Everyone at your business must use cyber security software: if possible, they should use the same software. If you have more than a handful of employees, we would recommend that you install endpoint security on their computers and manage it yourself.

You also need to make sure that you are using a firewall, as this can protect you from hackers.

4. Think Before You Click

When you’re online, it’s all too easy to click on a link and get infected with malware. This may sound outlandish but it’s not: many pieces of malware spread through drive-by-downloading, where your computer downloads the virus without your knowledge.

Clicking on the wrong site could land you in a lot of trouble. Yet this isn’t the only way that drive-by-downloads spread. You also need to turn your pop-up blocker on.

Any pop-up could serve a piece of malware to your computer. Blocking them is the best policy. In the rare circumstances that you need to know how to allow pop ups on Mac or PC, you can turn them on, as long as you block them again afterward.

5. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

Your wi-fi network is as much a part of your business as the premises are. If your wi-fi network is unsecured, you’re essentially leaving a door open for anyone who wants to come in and steal your files.

Make sure that you have a strong password on your wi-fi network and that only employees access it. For even tighter security, we’d recommend that you change the wi-fi password every month and have everyone log on again.

6. Don’t Allow All Devices Onto Your Network

It may sound mean, not allowing your employees to use their phones on your wi-fi network but it’s good security policy. Do you know, for sure, whether their devices are free of malware?

We’d be willing to bet that the answer is no. The only way to be sure is to have your IT department check it and vet it.

If you can’t do that, don’t allow any unknown devices access to your network. Only let vetted machines, preferably that you keep on your premises at all times, onto your network.

7. Only Allow Employees Access to the Data They Need

If you allow employees access to all data, unfettered, there’s a huge disaster waiting to happen. You should only ever allow employees access to the data that they need.

This is good for two reasons: one, there’s a lower chance of data leaks. Two, if a data leak does occur, you already know who could be responsible.

You Must Improve Cyber Security At Your Small Business

It may be easy to think that you won’t be targeted or that you won’t get infected with malware. Yet your odds of infection or attack are higher than you think. You must put these tips into practice and improve cyber security at your business.

For more interesting and informative articles like this, check out the rest of our blog!

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