Small businesses are up against some big fish, and I’m not talking about competition, I’m talking about cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are now specifically targeting small businesses. There has been a slow increase in the number of small businesses being targeted by hackers as large enterprises up the ante with their IT security.
You may think your small business isn’t on any attacker’s radar. Well you are very wrong! Small businesses are an ideal target for hackers. The lack of resources most businesses have to adequately protect their valuable data and information is making it very easy for hackers to steal that information. Not having a cyber security plan for your business is making it an easy target for attackers. Don’t be a duck sitting in open water! Devise a plan to combat these criminals and protect your information.
Understand what you are protecting your business against.
Cybercriminals have a variety of tactics that are geared towards finding information, destroying data and even draining your bank accounts. One of their more effective tactics is called social engineering. This is when the attacker releases malware, malicious software, in the disguise of a reputable email or advertisement that you might consider clicking on. When the attachment is opened the malware quietly crawls through your network uncovering passwords, information and data while wrecking your software performance along the way.
Be proactive when it comes to protecting your business:
- Install an Antivirus software
- This is probably one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to protect your business’s information. Antivirus software is a program that is used to prevent, detect and remove malware. The program searches your hard drive for any known or potential viruses. It is a very easy and effective way of protecting your data against cyber criminals.
- Use a Firewall
- The second easiest thing you can implement is a firewall. A firewall is a software or hardware-based network security system that controls all incoming and outgoing network traffic. It is essentially the gatekeeper for all network traffic. The firewall will allow data packets through if they meet a certain criteria. If they fail to meet the criteria the data packet will be blocked. By installing a firewall you protect your business’s internal network while screening outside networks that can’t be trusted.
- Data backup and storage in the cloud
- Please keep your data backed up in the cloud! Attackers can be ruthless when it comes to data and can easily destroy it. If you only store your data on your hard drive you are going to have some problems. Update your vital information on a regular basis automatically to the cloud. Better to be safe than sorry.
A bit overwhelmed by all of this? Hire some help!
There is a lot more that goes into IT security like Wi-Fi protection, monitoring and maintenance , securing mobile devices and a whole lot more. Many experts recommend that small businesses outsource their IT security making it one less thing they need to worry about. It can be a nightmare capturing, storing and protecting your data, why not hire some extra help so you no longer need to worry about cyber attacks?
And REMEMBER when your business’s information is susceptible to attacks your CUSTOMER'S information is just as vulnerable.
“How Cyber Criminals Operate.” Carnegie Cyber Academy. May 22, 2013. http://www.carnegiecyberacademy.com/facultyPages/cyberCriminals/operate.html
David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth, “Cyberattacks against U.S. corporations are on the rise.” The New York Times. May 12, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/us/cyberattacks-on-rise-against-us-corporations.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Kim Lachance Shandrow, “10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Cybersecurity plan for you business.” Entrepreneur. April 23, 2013. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226456
Christine Parizo, “Small-business cybersecurity: Mitigating employee and customer threats.” Search CIO-Midmarket. May 22, 2013. http://searchcio-midmarket.techtarget.com/feature/Small-business-cybersecurity-Mitigating-employee-and-customer-threats?utm_campaign=sciom_cio&utm_medium=social&utm_source=sprout&utm_content=1369400544