Today we rely on computers more than ever before. Many small businesses do almost everything online and it makes sense. The internet provides the perfect place to buy, sell, update and engage customers, generate leads and promote your brand's awareness. However, as online communication and reliance has grown, so too has cyber crime. Unfortunately for all of us, small organizations are often prime targets for cyber criminals. Statics show that 71% of cyber-attacks happen to businesses with less than 100 employees.
What can you do to protect your small business?
A security breach could cost you thousands to sort out and put your customer’s personal information at risk. The problem with cyber-crime is that companies often don’t know they have been hacked until the damage is done. Getting cyber smart now could save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run. A good place to start is by identifying your weakest areas. For example, if you have a company email account, ensure all employees are vigilant when it comes to opening only safe emails.
Many cyber criminals use emails to send viruses and malware. If you don’t already have a filter for spam that identifies precarious emails, it is well worth it to invest in one. Similarly, it is also worth installing antivirus software to any work computers. These programs will defend your computer's shared drive and prevent your businesses information from being compromised. Always keep your systems updated as hackers modify their scams and phishing techniques almost as quickly as web security companies improve theirs.
Teach your employees about cyber security
Have a system in place that protects your information. Ensure all computers have passwords that are not easy to guess and change them routinely. Choose unique passwords for all machines. It might be tricky to remember, but in the event of an attack, it will slow hackers down and might even stop them in their tracks.
Teach your employees the warning signs and encourage them to keep the company's personal information private. Also make sure you change passwords when employees leave your company - promptly.
Avoid sharing information via email where possible. Always phone a company to confirm they are legitimate before wiring them any money. Keep all of this in mind whether you are dealing with clients, banks or even work colleagues.
In the unfortunate event that a breach of security does occur, make sure you have a plan in place so all employees know exactly what to do. Working together might not stop an attack but it could certainly limit the extent of the damage the cyber criminals can cause.
Have routine employee meetings. Remind them of your security procedures, change passwords and make sure everyone is on board with what to do in the event of a breach.
If in doubt bring in an expert
The reason cyber criminals often target small businesses is because many smaller corporations have access to their customer’s personal and financial information. However while this information is sensitive, it isn’t always well protected. Hackers know this. They can use this information to defraud your customers and clients and even extort money out of your company.This could cause customers to lose trust in your company and if the information is misused, you could end up being liable.
Many small companies have actually gone out of business as result of a cyber-attack. To ensure that all the bases are covered it is worth contacting an IT security consultant. They can identify vulnerabilities in your company's web security immediately and implement a program immediately to protect your systems from cyber-crime.
It is also possible to get cyber liability insurance to cover you in the event of a security breach. Some policies will even pay your legal fees so it is definitely worth looking into if you want added protection or feel you need it.
In any event, cyber crime is on the rise. Make sure you do everything you can to protect your company from an attack.