Most small businesses believe that big companies are more susceptible to cyber threats. However, this presumption is false and, in reality, works the other way around. For people who produce malware and viruses, no business is too big or too small. If they see a window of opportunity, they will take advantage of it and attack.
Just recently, a ransomware called WannaCry affected almost 150 countries worldwide. This cyber attack held numerous companies’ computers, data, and sensitive files to demand ransom money.
Small business owners like you shouldn't wait for this to happen to you. At the very least, have a plan in place to ensure that you are as protected as you can be. This way, when these types of attacks come your way, you will be ready and your data will be well-guarded.
Here are some essential steps on how you can prevent cyber security breaches:
1. Educate employees on cyber security and possible threats
For you to effectively protect your business, it is important to educate your employees on the various cyber security threats that can affect you. Everyone who has access to any sort of digital data or information must be informed and trained on proper data storage, handling, and disposal to help prevent any breaches.
This may not matter much to a determined hacker, but the point is that you don’t have to make it easier for them.
2. Identify data that may be at risk
Create an inventory list for all your data to keep everything organized. This should include customer data, employee records, innovative marketing strategies, and most importantly, sensitive data and financial records. This will allow you to keep track of where the data is stored and how secure it is, and to perform regularly scheduled checks to ensure that no malicious or fraudulent activity has taken place.
3. Take protective measures
Always remember that prevention is better than a cure. Don’t wait for a security breach to occur before taking action. Put protective measures in place by installing antivirus, firewall, and antimalware tools. Install these programs to every employee's computer to protect the files they access every day.
But it’s not just the hardware and software that you have to worry about—in some cases, people can pose a significant threat, too. This is why it is important to check a potential employee’s personal background using a reputable background check provider like MyLife. Doing so helps you ensure the safety of your business, as it will help you weed out anyone that may have a history of fraud, cyber crime, and more.
4. Back up files automatically
Make sure to backup all confidential information like emails, memos, or anything that has to do with the company, on a regular basis. It's important to do this so that in the event of a cyber security attack wherein the cybercriminals attempt to steal your information or restrict your access to it, you won’t have to worry about losing all of your data.
5. Always use updated security programs
Security programs are there to protect you from being breached by threatening malware and viruses. However, in order for the software to serve its purpose and function properly, it needs to be updated constantly.
It's important to keep them up to date because cyber criminals are constantly creating new and advanced online threats such as viruses, malware, worms, and spyware, and these applications will need to be enhanced to keep them well-equipped to deal with the newest and most malicious threats.
Also, since these security programs are your best bet in guarding against and defeating such threats, it’s important to invest in the highest quality software to ensure maximum protection.
6. Ensure better wireless network protection
In today’s day and age, wireless connectivity is essential to the everyday operations of every business. However, it can also be the best route for cyber security threats to enter. For instance, if you own a small bed-and-breakfast with free WiFi as one of the amenities, you can open yourself up to liability if your guests end up getting their personal information stolen, their credit cards hacked, or become the victim of other cyber attacks while connected to your network.
You can prevent this by taking steps to protect your wireless connection. Securing your network and restricting access helps prevent possible hacking, and is of course an essential step in safeguarding against online security threats.
7. Restrict unauthorized access
Make sure that every employee only has access to the information they need in order to do their job. Doing this prevents people from seeing confidential files that wouldn’t be useful in accomplishing their daily tasks.
In addition, remind your employees to regularly change passwords for further protection.
8. Create a safe and responsive recovery plan
Whether there’s a threat or not, it’s important to have a plausible backup plan that can be used in the event that your business experiences a breach. This is so you can quickly save the rest of the remaining unaffected data and avoid bigger problems.
Cyber attacks can happen anytime, without any warning signs. But with these simple yet effective steps, you can definitely protect your business from different kinds of cyber security threats that surround the world wide web.