If you think large corporations are the only businesses who should be worried about cyber security tips, think again. Your small business is not exempt from hacking attempts. In fact, the 2017 Ponemon Institute Study on cyber security found that more than 50% of all small businesses had experienced a cyber attack.
These attacks are frightening because they jeopardize your business data and result in thousands of dollars lost. Keeping your business secure is an important part of running a business. In fact, the Denver Post reported that 60% of small businesses that “suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months.”
Why Do Hackers Care About Small Businesses?
It might seem counterintuitive. After all, big businesses and corporations have more data and therefore offer a greater reward to hackers and cyber security thieves. However, small to medium size businesses still have profitable data and more importantly, small to medium size businesses tend to have meager security protections making them excellent targets for savvy hackers. Hackers also know that by stealing customer and client data, vendor data, and employee data, they can hack into additional accounts stealing even more money.
Protect Your Business With Your Employees First
Your employees are the first line of attack for many hackers. The 2017 Ponemon Institute Study on cyber security found that 59% of the businesses surveyed do not have oversight when it comes to employee password practices. This means that employees do not enforce the use of unique passwords, or secure passwords (no sharing amongst employees).
Every company, regardless of size, should have a cyber security policy in place that is strictly adhered to by employees. As a business, you are only as secure as your weakest link. It only takes one employee with a weak password or one employee using the same password for every database to leave your company susceptible to a breach.
Your cyber security policy should include password details for employees such as the specific number of characters and types of characters needed for each password. It should also specify that all employees must have a unique password for each device and have strict rules around when and where company data can be accessed. This policy should also reinforce the need to update computers and mobile devices with the latest software and operating systems to add another protection level against possible cyber security threats.
Additionally, employee training can provide protection against security breaches by teaching employees about phishing scams and the dangers of clicking on shady websites or downloading untrusted software. Not all employees are technologically savvy and even technologically savvy employees may lack security knowledge. Simple tips such as not leaving your device unattended or using firewall security when connected to the Internet may be foreign advice to your employees. Invest in employee training and your company will be better prepared to defeat hackers.
Backups Are Necessary, But They Must Be Encrypted
If information is stolen, you will want to have a backup copy. If information goes missing on its own, you will want to have a backup copy. The best way to do this is to have a backup system in place that stores copies of your valuable business data in another place.
The problem with these backups from a cyber security perspective is when businesses fail to take necessary precautions to protect these backups. You should have secure encryption methods that are used to secure all backed up data whether the data is backed up to a physical remote server or to the cloud. Encryption services should involve secure private encryption keys whose details should be restricted from most employees.
Turn the Tables on Your Company: Hack Yourself
With the prevalence of hackers, protecting your information via security protocols and employee training may not be enough. One of the best ways to protect your business against hackers is to “hack yourself.” Consulting IT firms specializing in security often have dedicated IT specialists who can work as “hackers” to attempt to break into your business via your existing cyber security framework.
If these IT specialists are able to hack their way into your system partially or completely, you will know what areas of your current cyber security framework are vulnerable. These firms will give customized recommendations to fix these security vulnerabilities. Removing existing pathways into your security system helps to make it stronger and create a more foolproof cyber security system.
Consulting IT firms are knowledgeable about the latest hacking methods and techniques, which makes them a better choice than your internal IT department when it comes to assessing weaknesses and vulnerabilities from a hacker perspective.
For more information about how you can protect your business from cyber security threats, contact K3 Business Technology. You can reach us directly at 303-770-8050 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always working to keep our clients and their companies safe from cyber security threats.