Data breaches and compromised websites frequently used to spread malware can be risky for your business; including small businesses. In fact, small or medium-sized businesses are likely to suffer more consequences of cyber-attacks than large enterprises. Large enterprises have the benefit of huge financial reliance as well as organizational resources to combat any attacks.
Why are Small Businesses a Target?
Every security breach has circumstances. However, there are a few reasons why small enterprises often fall prey of cybercriminals. Small businesses often lack sufficient technology as well as defence systems, so it would take less effort and know-how for a cyber-criminal to breach their systems.
Small businesses serve as middlemen for a hacker to get what he or she really wants. They provide goods and services directly to consumers and/or as contractors, which gives cybercriminals access to large enterprises.
Can your business operate with your website offline for weeks? What will you do if your email service isn’t working for several days? How will you salvage the reputational fallout of client data being compromised? You don’t want to imagine this let alone wasting time trying to identify and resolve the problem.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your business will be 100% hack-free no matter how many layers of security you set up on your system. However, below are a few tips to make life a little bit harder for the hacker.
Set Up a Password Management System
Passwords make to the top of the list of a majority of security policies, but also make up a huge chunk of successful site compromises. Large businesses purchase costly password management systems to manage their operations. At the same time, consumers are now turning to password vaults to generate, store, and access them. Neither of these are recommended solutions for small businesses, being too costly and simplistic respectively.
Alternatives are there such as the business version of the LastPass that is affordable and is designed with enterprise-oriented features, which include setting minimum password standards and applying tailor-made policies that restrict access to selected devices.
No matter how elaborate passwords are, they are still vulnerable to compromise. For instance: if a hacker gets into your business email or social media account, by use of password resets, he or she is likely to get access to some info that will enable them to hack your system. Put simply, passwords alone are not sufficient and 2-Step verification should be used.
With a 2-Step verification, if someone tries to access your company service from an unauthorized device, he or she will be required to provide an authorization code in addition to the username and password. The authorization code is either generated by an SMS text message on a registered phone or by an authorized code generating an application.
Why Don’t you Try a VPN?
Think of a VPN when it comes to protecting your business privacy online. A VPN implements encryption technologies such as Secure Sockets Layer, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, IP security, and Transport Layer Security to form a virtual encrypted tunnel between a VPN server and your device. Provided your traffic is in the tunnel created between your PC and the VPN server, no hacker can see what you’re doing or where you’re headed.
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A majority of small enterprises tend to assume that they don’t really need a formal security policy. However, these documents aren’t just for enterprises. Even small or medium-sized businesses can benefit from employing such a plan. It is easier to create a formal security policy than you could imagine.
Surprisingly, if done right, this could form the backbone of your entire security structure. The secret here is to understand that this not just a formal document in your file; you should see this as a dynamic structure to enable you to understand what data security is in relation to your business. A good data policy should not only entail how to protect your business data but should also entail how to react in case things get awry.
Lock your Network
If you use Wi-Fi in your business, then it’s time you made sure that it meets the current WPA2 standards. This version comes with a stronger encryption key than the previous versions. This makes your network more secure and difficult for someone to break into. Don’t forget to have a very strong password for your network. Try a password with an average of 13 characters and a combination of lower and upper case letters, and if possible, special characters.
Look into Cyber Insurance
There is such a thing a cyber-insurance. In the event that a cyber-attack happens, you’ll run out of options on what to do. This is why it’s important to have someone who’ll be ready to bear the cost and cover the following:
- Cost of informing your clients about the breach
- Liability cover for any confidential information exposed
- Reimbursement for expenses as a result of business operation interruption the cyber-attack caused
You should always be ready for a data breach and the steps you take to reinstate your operations will depend on the structures you had in place to protect your firm from cyber-attacks. Secure your network and systems with a strong password, and if that’s not enough, try a 2-factor authentication.
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