What Small Businesses Should Know About Cyber Security
Cyber attacks have been big news over the past couple years between hacks of websites, retailers, and notable movie studios alike. Still many entrepreneurs might assume that they are running too small of an operation to really be a target of one of these attacks. Unfortunately that’s not at all the case.
According to a recent Forbes article, 71% of all cyber attacks affect businesses with less than 100 employees. While this statistic may be shocking, it is more understandable when you consider that smaller businesses have fewer IT resources than larger corporations would, making them more susceptible to attack. Because of this it’s time entrepreneurs take cyber security seriously in order to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers from becoming victims.
The first step in preventing a cyber attack is to educate yourself and your staff about what types of threats exist. As Entrepreneur reports, 95% of breaches occur due to human error. Being able to identify likely malware threats and having best practices in place (such as not downloading attachments from unknown senders) will help reduce your chance of computer infection.
Another common issue, phishing, can also be curbed by taking such measures such as verifying the authenticity of any emails that seem suspicious. Phishing is a common starting point for ransomware attacks, which can lead to a complete shutdown of your computer systems. It is also important for businesses to have up to date security software and firewalls in place to further secure their systems.
As we saw in the aftermath of the Sony hack, your emails are never truly secure. That’s why relying on email for financial transactions is not always the smartest idea. Verifying transactions over the phone can be a safer route. In fact using the phone for other private matters, such as talking with employees, vendors, or clients might also be a smart idea in order to protect the contents of your conversation.
Another commonsense way to keep safe is to make sure that your passwords are protected. This includes making your passwords stronger, changing them often, and not storing them unencrypted in the cloud (or posting them around the office on those infamous yellow sticky notes). Additionally utilizing programs such as LastPass can help protect your passwords while making access easier for those who should have it.
Cyber security breaches not only affect your business and all of its data but also that of your employees and customers. With so much at stake, it’s alarming to think that many small businesses mistakenly think they’re immune. By taking the time to plan ahead and keeping abreast of the possible threats that exist, you can help protect your small business from a breach.
Also published on Medium.