Being a small business owner is full of potential problems and difficulties, and in this day and age cyber security is the newest one. This new threat can destroy small businesses in a single moment, so protecting against it is vital. Here are 5 practices to provide successful cyber security for your small business.
Beware of Emails
When protecting your small business, the first step is understanding the threat, and to do this you need to be aware that over 90% of malware comes through emails. Emails are vital to any modern business, and hackers know this and that is why they target them. Having malware detection set up on your email server can change everything, but the first step starts with you and your employees. Having the understanding not to open email attachments you don't know can save your entire business.
Don’t Neglect Physical Security
Cyber security does not just mean online, and you need to protect every aspect of your business to stay secure. Locking the office door probably isn't enough. Installing at least the essentials of physical security equipment is vital for protecting computers, servers, and sensitive paperwork. Criminals will be able to find your logins and passwords manually or even hack directly into your servers, and both of these will bypass all of your cyber security. This means protecting your business online means protecting it physically. Using security systems, advanced locks and cameras will ensure this.
Educate Your Staff
While malware and viruses are becoming more advanced, the majority of breaches of computer networks comes from user ignorance. Hackers can use poorly chosen and insecure passwords to get into any security system, no matter how high-level security is. With the majority of malware coming through email attachments, that doesn't need to be impressive computer skills from the hacker, just making the email and attachment enticing enough for someone will click is enough. You can install and maintain the world's best cyber security, but if your staff still falls for the same old tricks and doesn't secure their logins your network will be just as susceptible to hacking.
The key to changing this is education. Bring in cyber security experts to talk to your employees about proper internet practices. Have a handbook made up that is specific to cyber security for every employee to read and keep by their computer. This is a common but simple problem, and it has an equally simple solution.
Update Your Hardware
The older and more antiquated your computers, software, and servers are, the easier they will be to hack. Older technology does not have inbuilt protection, and if a model has been around for a long time then hackers will be familiar with it. This familiarity can lead to disaster with your system because they will know the easiest ways to use your hardware against you and get into your cyber network through it. Updating your computers and servers will be costly in the short term, but in the long term, it could save your company and protect further into the future.
Get Advanced and Reliable Antivirus Software
While the other practices are all preventative to make sure hackers and malware don't get near your system, this is the only way to protect yourself if they do. Of course, a good antivirus system will shield against attacks as well, but the most important thing is that if a hacker does get into your system you are able to stop them before they do any damage. Antivirus will prevent malware getting into your system, but if it does it will instantly find it, quarantine it, find out where it came from, and then destroy it. All of this without any damage being done to your system. Research antivirus before you get one and do not pick the cheapest option. This could be the most important purchase for your business.
Cyber security can seem complicated, but when broken down it's straightforward. Just these simple practices will protect your business now and in the future, and allow you to operate with peace of mind. So, remember to beware of suspicious emails, don’t neglect physical security, educate your staff concerning cyber security related issues, and use current antivirus software.
Justus Daniel Eapen is a policy level Organizational Transformation Consultant with over 25 years experience in Banking & Government.