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Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Business

Phil Cohen

It is often a misconception that because a business is small, it is not a target for cyber attacks. Many small business owners share the mindset that they don’t have much to steal when in reality, that is completely false — 43 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Best practices for cybersecurity should be a priority no matter the size of the business.

Small businesses are appealing to hackers because they have a fair amount of data with minimal security. Every small business faces different cybersecurity threats. Using essential cybersecurity tactics for small businesses will make your company safer.

5 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

Businesses are responsible for protecting the information of both their clients and employees. How can your small business ensure you aren’t the next victim of a cyber-attack?

Below are 5 cybersecurity best practices your small business can follow to ensure you are protecting your small business’ data from potential hackers and cyber attacks.

1. Know the risks and cover the basics

The lack of knowledge amongst employees can cause your company to become the next casualty in a data breach. Establishing basic cybersecurity best practices can protect your data from avoidable issues. Employees should be informed on basic rules for cybersecurity such as not reusing the same passwords, keeping information stored in a specific server or cloud-based system and locking the computer whenever they step away from it.

One of the easiest cybersecurity best practices is teaching your employees to identify phishing attempts and potential hackers. Train your employees on cybersecurity awareness such as not opening suspicious emails or clicking links and attachments.  Clearly outlining your company’s policy will only be beneficial to your protection. According to the 2018 State of Privacy and Security Awareness Report, 75 percent of employees put their organization at serious risk for a privacy or security incident. Talk to your employees about these risks.

You can learn more in our small business cybersecurity guide.

2. Invest in proper security technology and stay up to date

The best defense against viruses, malware and other cybersecurity threats is to make sure the latest software and operating systems in your office are up to date. This is an easy small business cybersecurity tip you can implement into your company. Make sure all the computers and other devices are equipped with the necessary antispyware and antivirus software to prevent, detect and remove any threats.

Also, your company should install firewalls to prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing private networks within your small business.  Firewalls are the first line of defense against hackers and viruses. They protect your confidential information such as bank data from those not authorized to access it and protect against unwanted users. These tools help improve your business’ cybersecurity greatly and prevents any attacks on your systems.

3. Secure your Wi-Fi networks

Another cybersecurity best practice for small businesses is securing your Wi-Fi network. Since Wi-Fi involves transmitting data over the air, anyone in proximity can try to gain access. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is password protected, hidden and encrypted.

To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). This small business cybersecurity tip can protect your business’ personal and financial information from being compromised. Once someone gains access to your network, they can steal data or hijack your system, putting personal and/or financial information at risk.

4. Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication

One of the easiest cybersecurity tips for small businesses is to make sure everyone is using strong, complex passwords. Your employees should use unique passwords, not easy ones such as their first name and birth year. Those kinds of passwords are unchallenging to figure out. A strong password contains at least 10 characters and includes capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

Companies also should make sure employees are changing their passwords every 3-6 months. If you really want to get serious about your passwords, adding multi-factor authentication steps is another technique to protect your small business’ cybersecurity. Having multiple passwords can cause confusion so these passwords should be stored in password management systems like LastPass, KeePass, 1Paswords in case your employees forget their passwords.

5. Back up all data regularly

Backing up your important files and information is one of the most imperative cybersecurity best practices. Regularly backing up all data protects your company from losing any critical information in case it is lost, stolen or destroyed. This way if a hacker gets in your system and deletes it, it isn’t gone forever. All important information should have a copy. Both offsite storage and external drive storage are potential necessities.

You owe it to yourself, your employees and your customers to make sure that your business is protected by following these small business cybersecurity tips. Preventing cyber-attacks should be one of your top priorities if you are a small business owner. Staying on top of cybersecurity best practices will only benefit your small business.

Funding the development and maintenance of cybersecurity protection is important, but it requires funds. If your business is looking to become protected against cybercrime but lacks the necessary funding to do so, invoice factoring for small businesses can help.  Factor Finders can help match you with an invoice factoring company that meets your wants and needs.

If you want more information on factoring or are looking to get started, just give us a call or fill out the online form below!

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