Best Tips to Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Attacks

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Small businesses are at high risk of suffering from cyberattacks which is a serious case for the well-being of companies. The 2017 report has revealed that small businesses have less protection and a few resources dedicated to fighting issues related to cybersecurity. 

On the flip side, large corporations are at great risk of being attacked by hackers since they have a lot of information to offer. Analysis has revealed that businesses spent about $34,604 on cybersecurity matters. 

In addition, very few small businesses have a strategy of fighting things to do with cybersecurity. It has come out clearly that many entrepreneurs do not know how to protect their businesses from cyberattacks

What is a cyberattack?

Cyberattack refers to an unauthorized attempt to destroy, expose, or access data. Research has unveiled that most small businesses suffered a cyberattack within the last year. This is a clear indication that small businesses are at a high risk of incurring losses due to cyberattacks. 

Best Tips to Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Attacks

However, it is valuable to understand that there are different types of cyberattacks. Let’s look at some of the most popular cyberattacks capable of affecting business operations across industries. 

Phishing

Phishing refers to the act of scammers sending fraudulent emails as well as messages that appear as if they came from a reputable company. This might include sources such as your reputable bank, or your reliable credit card provider. 

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In most cases, the phishing scam tells you to click on various links or open the attachment that comes together with the email or message. At this point, scammers get it easier to steal sensitive such as the details of your credit card and your bank login information. 

Man-in-the-middle attack 

This is a newly established type of cyberattack that occurs when hackers intercept communication between different parties to acquire personal data and the login credentials of different sites. 

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Note that this cyberattack type commonly happens in places with a free Wi-Fi network. The hackers set up a fake Wi-Fi connection with a similar name to that of the nearby business. 

Once you get connected to the network, the hackers can monitor all your online activities. They steal your personal information using the Symantec Corporation operational model.

Malware

Malware is a short form of malicious software. It operates against the user's intentions, which come in the form of a virus. In most cases, it appears like a Trojan horse or a worm. It focuses on affecting the normal functioning of your PC to acquire information. 

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On the other side, ransomware comes in the form of malware that demands money to prevent negative consequences. The consequences might be deleting your data permanently or publishing your private information to the public members. 

After identifying different types of cyberattacks, how do you protect your business from such cases? 

Let's shed light on some of the top protection means that small business owners can adopt to prevent issues related to cyberattacks.

1. Develop a cybersecurity plan 

Every business needs to have a cybersecurity plan that incorporates a training program for all the employees and an incident response plan to help you fight such cases. The immediate step in securing your network is ensuring that employees comprehend all the security policies. 

Besides, the training should not be a one-time thing. You need to schedule a yearly or a semi-yearly training program as well as refresher courses to elevate security standards to the top of your mind. Ensure that all employees understand the benefit of updating their software.

Also, adopt the security best practices and let everyone within the business environment understand what needs to be done in case such things happen. Remember that the faster you take action against cyberattacks, the better. 

The analysis done by cyberplanner has revealed that most of the businesses affected by cyberattacks do not have any plan against cybersecurity. When responding to attacks, you need to understand whom you have to conduct, where data backup is stored, and when the law enforcers are contacted. 

Small business owners need to understand that there are federal laws governing things to do with cyberattacks. 

2. Use a firewall and antivirus software 

In the current world, you need a shield to enhance the safety of your business data. A firewall is a digital shield that guarantees total protection against unauthorized access to business data. Also, it protects the data against malicious software such as viruses. 

Remember that there are different types of firewalls that are further divided into different categories. The two categories are hardware and software. This means that the choice of the firewall you intend to use depends on the work you have at your disposal. 

There are various firewalls that are capable of scanning the presence of viruses within the company system. If the firewall you have does not scan viruses, you need to acquire an antivirus software that will take responsibility for scanning your computer. 

An antivirus identifies and eliminates any form of malware that has managed to penetrate through your computer operating system. Firewalls can protect a significant number of cyberattacks and guarantee the safety of your personal information. 

It has the potential to prevent data breaches by giving you regular alerts on fraudulent issues. This eliminates the heavy task of identifying the problem when you note something going wrong.

3. Be smart about passwords 

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, small business owners should learn the best practices for creating passwords. Businesses protect unauthorized access to data with the use of passwords.

Therefore, it is necessary for businesses to be creative in creating passwords that guarantee total protection. The respective authority says that a good password should be at least eight characters long. 

Keep in mind that the length of the password is more important than its complexity. As a business owner, you should allow your employees to create long passwords that they long enough for them to remember. 

When handling sensitive information, you might require to have multifactor authentication. This includes two identifying factors, such as the use of a password and a unique code prior to accessing the stored data. 

You might opt for the operational model of a bank card, which requires the card and a unique code to access your bank details.

4. Secure your wi-fi network

It is crucial for small business owners to understand that Wi-Fi equipment is not safe once purchased. When the device is new, it comes with a default password. However, you need to ensure that the device is encrypted with your own password.

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 The router has options that give you room to access different types of passwords. Among all the choices, the safest option is Wi-Fi protected access which is also referred to as WPA2. This option guarantees you total protection from hackers. 

In addition, you might need to hide your network. This option prevents the router from broadcasting the network's name to all strangers who pass by with their devices. If your customers need access to the network, you can create a guest account with a different password. 

Creating a guest account prevents your visitor from accessing your main network account with sensitive details. Besides, you enjoy the freedom of working on your projects without being worried about hackers tapping into your business network. 

5. Ensure you have the right partners and platform 

Always remember that security starts with you. Besides, cyber security is only good depending on the security of your platforms. Besides, your business partners have a significant contribution to the wellbeing of your business in terms of security. 

You need to evaluate things such as your payment card industry data security standards to ensure that everything is working appropriately. Note that this is meant to protect you against digital data security breaches across all the payment methods that you choose. 

Also, you need to check whether your hosting company has staff that does regular patching security vulnerabilities. This is meant to help you better understand the guys you are dealing with and the security capabilities to protect your business. If you're using WordPress as your CMS, for example, consider getting proper web hosting for WordPress for security.

It is evident that having some of the best partners surrounding your business creates an awesome and reliable environment that contributes to your business's success in the long run. 

6. Protect your business assets with cyber insurance 

Currently, there is an increased rate of cyberattacks hindering the operation of small businesses. It is high time that business owners prepare for cyberattack cases instead of keeping wondering if it can happen at their places of work. 

Acquiring an insurance cover is one of the best ways you can adapt to prepare in terms of cyberattacks. The insurance policy aids in mitigating the risks ranging from the compensation of workers to liabilities and many more. 

On most occasions, small business owners tend to overlook the impact of cyber insurance. When a business has been faced with issues such as cyberattacks or data breaches, the cyber insurance policy comes in to help the business recover from financial losses. 

Also, the insurance pays for all the steps during the recovery journey until the business gets back to its feet. However, when looking for a cyber-insurance provider, it is crucial to be mindful and opt for the most trusted service providers with a successful track record. 

Besides, ensure that you review all the outlined policies in detail to grasp all the points and understand how your small business will benefit from the program. Due to the increased cyberattacks against small businesses, cyber insurance is an awesome choice. 

7. Think physical 

Most small business owners believe that cyber threats are only found online; this is not the case! Sometimes, the threats might be introduced by someone within your business environment and affect the company's normal operations. 

In addition, it might be introduced by third-party individuals such as the contractor. This is why it is vital to restrict staff members and third parties from accessing things such as IT equipment, systems, and other sources of business information. 

Ensure that all items are physically secured to avoid cases of unauthorized access from outsiders. You can also put regulations such as the ban of using removable media sources such as USB drives within the business environment to prevent data breaching. 

Protect any kind of data stored in the media files to prevent issues related to malware, and the data getting lost due to viruses. Create and maintain an inventory of all the IT equipment within the business environment.

Furthermore, create room for the advancement of IT standards to make it easier for the company to adapt to changes across the industry in the long run. 

8. Backup your data 

When running an online business, you automatically understand the power of having a data backup. It is very awkward to lose all your business data, and you lack an alternative about how you will get back the essential information regarding your business operations. 

It is always advisable to keep your data safe by ensuring that you have an awesome backup plan that guarantees the safety of your data. You need to ensure that you have a copy of your business's vital information

Think about the most appropriate information about your business that requires a backup. This might be the personal information of your customers, staff members, and customer account information. 

Secure your financial details, your operational data, business documentation, and other types of manuals regarding the business. Having a copy of all this information can greatly help you tackle things to do with cyberattacks. 

It is vital to ensure that all the operational data for your business is copied on a reliable backup plan that can be easily used in case of cyberattacks. The backup plan offers a foundation after cases of data breaches and helps the business get back to its normal operations. 

Bottom line: best tips to protect your small business from cyber attacks 

According to analysis, small businesses lose over $29 billion every year from causes related to cybercrime. Every business owner needs to create a strategy to eliminate cases of cyberattacks. It is valuable for small business owners to implement the above-outlined hacks to eliminate possible losses.

About the author 

Ryan Erwin

I have more than 12 years of experience in the field of Digital Marketing and Data Analysis, currently working as a Digital Marketing Specialist at PPCexpo on a no-code visualization tool called Scatter Plot Generator.

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