10 More Cyber Security Tips For Your Small Business
Dan Levenson May 09, 2017
Cyber security is a growing concern for all businesses with an online presence, but especially for those that are smaller in size. There are an ever-expanding number of threats from hackers, identity thieves, and spammers—and smaller businesses are often more vulnerable.
Cyber threats are potentially devastating to your business. They can also harm your credibility and trust with customers, making it harder to recover the way a large business might.
To add to the tips we’ve published in the past, here are 10 more essential cyber security tips for your small business.
1. Enforce clear policies for security.
Only provide passwords to employees who need access to specific programs and services. Passwords should never be shared with everyone in the company.
Set up guidelines for internet use on company computers for your staff. Make sure employees understand the consequences of violating the security policy. Whenever someone with access to your accounts leaves your business, remember to change all of your passwords.
2. Don’t send sensitive information via email.
Email is very useful for casual communication, but it’s seldom secure. That’s why financial institutions never write out entire credit card numbers and other sensitive data in emails.
Using encrypted email helps to make it more secure. You can, for example, set up filters to remind users if they’re sharing sensitive information.
3. Be cautious on the internet.
In many cases, individuals and businesses make it easy for hackers by making common mistakes such as clicking on suspicious attachments or responding to phishing emails. Make sure everyone in your company knows not to fall victim to common scams.
4. Use secure settings on social networks.
If your business is active on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media sites, take the time to upgrade your security and privacy settings on these sites.
Instruct employees never to download apps without permission. It’s often best to separate personal and business usage on social sites. For example, if employees log into your business account with their personal profiles, you incur additional risks.
5. Use secure cloud computing.
The cloud is very useful for storing data. However, there’s a wide spectrum of security options on the cloud. Popular cloud storage options such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud are all fairly secure options (as long as you use good passwords and two-factor authentication). If you handle sensitive data in your business, use a service that specializes in secure cloud storage.
6. Encrypt sensitive data.
If your data isn’t encrypted, it’s fairly easy for hackers to gain access to it. This is crucial if you’re handling customers’ personal and financial data. You or your IT team can place encryption protocols on your networks, email, cloud storage, and operating systems.
7. Use secure passwords for all logins.
Use strong passwords that are difficult to guess. When possible, use two-factor authentication for sensitive accounts. The requires an extra step to log into an account and prevents unauthorized people (or bots) from gaining access.
8. Protect your devices.
Make sure all of the computers and other devices used in your business have the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Be sure to buy this type of software from reputable vendors (some malware is actually disguised as anti-virus software!). Keep this software updated to maximize effectiveness.
9. Keep your network secure.
If you use WiFi, password protect access. Even with passwords, however, public WiFi networks are easily breached. It’s best to keep your network hidden from public view. Hiding your router’s SSID is the best way to prevent hackers from accessing your network.
10. Back up all your data.
Cyber criminals often use ransomware, which locks your data until you pay them to retrieve it. To guard yourself against this, make sure you have copies of all important material such as files, spreadsheets, financial data, customer information, and any important documents.
It’s also a good idea to store sensitive information offsite or using a secure cloud storage service. This ensures your data is safe if your computer crashes and if something happens to your property or office space.
Stay safe out there!