Cyber Security Tips for Small Businesses
Small businesses are often targeted by cyber criminals as they’re perceived to be less secure than larger organisations who have more resources to dedicate to protecting themselves. However, there are a number of simple and easy methods that businesses of all sizes can employ to safeguard themselves against attack. These tips for protecting your small business against cyber attacks are uncomplicated and can be implemented immediately.
Passwords are your first line of defence against malicious threats and should be treated seriously. They need to be simple enough to remember but too complicated to be guessable. Advise your staff to choose three random words that are relevant only to them and spell them using numbers in place of some vowels.
If you spell all words in the password correctly, there is a greater chance that it could be accessed via a brute force attack. Use a mixture of characters and cases to make it as seemingly random as possible while still being memorable to the user.
Never use the same password twice and change them regularly. If you have trouble remembering them all, consider using a reputable password management app to store them safely.
2. Two-factor authentication
After you’ve created the perfect password, you need to add another layer of protection. Two-factor authentication requires the user to take a second step to confirm their identity. The most common method of further identification is to automatically send a code to an authorised mobile device via SMS.
Two-factor authentication is a great way of increasing your level of protection but it is more time consuming so it might not be practical to use it for every login. Weigh up the benefits of added security versus time and efficiency to decide when and where to use two-factor authentication.
Cyber threats are constantly evolving so you must continually refresh your methods of protection. Most software companies are continually updating their products to combat the newest criminal techniques so be swift in applying any recommended changes.
Adjust your settings to allow automatic updates on software that you trust so that you keep abreast of any advancements. The security landscape in the digital world is continually changing and not staying ahead of the curve can put your company at serious risk. It’s also necessary to update any passwords or permissions as soon as possible following personnel or staff role changes.
4. Back up
Data loss through file corruption or theft can happen at any time and can be catastrophic if you haven’t properly backed up your information. Back up your data regularly on to a separate device or via a cloud-based service. Encrypt and password protect your backed-up data and don’t store any sensitive information with a third-party who you don’t trust implicitly.
Back up your data only in a location that is completely unconnected from the network you regularly use. If your system falls victim to a malware attack, your backed-up data will be protected only if it is stored on a different network.
Arguably, the best defence against any cyber threat is to educate yourself and your staff on the best and most relevant security practices. Ensure that every individual who has access to your network is aware of the most effective ways to combat and prevent a cyber attack.
Keep abreast of the newest threats by tapping into the cyber security community and giving regular updates to your staff. If they know what to be wary of, they’re less likely to become victims of the most common scams or attacks.
Cyber attacks can happen to any business and if you’re not prepared or sufficiently protected you’ll be much more vulnerable. Luckily, with foresight, planning and constant vigilance, you can protect your business against most attacks without having to spend a fortune on specialist software.