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cybersecurity tips small business

Top Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

If you’re a small business and you’re not investing in cybersecurity, now’s the time to change that.

Because if you think your small business is too small to find its way onto a hacker’s radar, your thinking is wrong.

Small businesses are tasty targets for cybercrime. Sure, the ultimate rewards might not be as big as they would be if they attacked a larger corporation, but they still have attractive goods. And many small businesses don’t have as many resources to fight off hackers, making them easier marks.

Says the Small Business Administration:

“Small businesses are especially attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals (bad actors, foreign governments, etc.) want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses to adequately protect their digital systems for storing, accessing, and disseminating data and information.”

Indeed, while the exact numbers differ by survey, roughly 30% to 40% of American small businesses have fallen victim to cybercrime.

So, now that you know your small business should be paying attention to cybersecurity, let’s talk about how to up your efforts:

Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

Put Antivirus Software to Work

This is by far and away the most obvious tip, but it’s also one of the easiest and most effective things you can do. Several effective antivirus products are free, including Avast, Bitdefender and Microsoft Defender. They won’t fend off every type of cybercrime, but they’ll shoulder some of the load.

Educate Yourself, Your Employees

While some cybercrimes happen when hackers force their way in, far more occur after an employee unwittingly opens the door. Thus, you and your workers need to undergo cybersecurity training to recognize (and avoid) the most common types of attacks. For instance, they should know how to sniff out “phishing,” which is when someone tries to trick you into clicking a malicious link that will infect your computer with malware.

Constantly Back Up Systems

Some of the most common attacks, known as ransomware, rely on holding your data hostage and threatening to delete it if you don’t pay up. However, setting up a system of automatic, frequent backups will make you less beholden to these kinds of threats.

Update Passwords Regularly

You and your employees should follow a strict password policy that requires more complicated passwords that are regularly changed.

Keep Your Applications and Software Up to Date

When companies realize their software has a vulnerability, they typically develop security patches and other updates, sometimes within hours. Of course, those updates aren’t any help if you’re not downloading and applying them. So make sure you and your employees are checking for security updates for any software you use. Most apps and programs have an auto-update feature that you can implement.

Protect Your Wi-Fi

There are several steps you can take to protect your company’s Wi-Fi, including regularly changing your Wi-Fi router’s administrative password, changing your Wi-Fi network name to something that doesn’t reflect your router’s model name, disabling SSID broadcasting and setting up guest Wi-Fi for non-employees.

Know How You’ll Respond

All these steps should lower your chances of suffering a cyberattack, but ultimately, there are enough elements of human error that you might still be a victim. That’s why you should also craft a thorough incident response plan, which is a set of steps you follow once you’ve identified a cyberattack. An effective incident response plan, implemented quickly, can help you limit the amount of damage caused by a cybersecurity breach.

Keep Your Business Shielded From Cyberattacks

Most businesses are becoming increasingly digital, and as a result, cybersecurity is increasingly important.

McManamon & Co. provides a wide range of services for small and midsize businesses, including paperless office consulting. In addition to showing you how to digitize most of your existing workflows, we can also point you in the right direction to protect these digital assets. Reach out to us at 440.892.8900 or contact us online today.

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