From extortion to robbery, small businesses are always the target of criminals. Today, their biggest threat may be cyber attacks. Fireeye reports that 77% of all cybercrime is aimed at small businesses, but only 42% of small business owners are concerned about cybersecurity.
One cannot overemphasize the importance of cybersecurity on Main Street. According to the National Small Business Association, up to 60% of small businesses that experience a major cyber breach will be out of business within six months. This isn’t really surprising considering that according to Visa, the average breach cost is $3.5 million.
Adding network security to your business doesn’t require spending thousands of dollars or hiring your own IT staff. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that small businesses follow these five affordable best practices to protect business and customer data.
1. Update your security software
Keep your software up to date, including performing automatic security updates to operate your network security practices. You should also look into antivirus software vendors like MacAfee or Norton.
2. Protect your files
Back up important files offline, as well as in the cloud and external hard drives.
3. Create strong passwords and enable multi-factor authentication
Most devices, networks, and platforms require a password, and you should use a strong password that includes numbers, characters, and different cases. Update your passwords every 2-3 months and create different passwords by device for optimal security. Enabling multi-factor authentication also provides an extra layer of protection and allows you to use a second device to access a temporary code to complete the sign-in process if you forget your password.
4. Secure your router
Once your internet connection is established at your home or office, change the default network name and password shared with your internet provider’s support team. Update it with your own network name and password and disable remote management.
5. Train your staff
Conduct quarterly or six-month training for your support staff on cybersecurity best practices and risk factors.
Today’s rapidly evolving technology era has allowed small businesses to grow and penetrate the uncharted territories of the internet and data. Unfortunately, the geographic limits of crime have also been completely redefined. Small businesses should take these simple and sensible steps to protect themselves.