Hold Off the Hackers: 8 Basic Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses

Up to 43 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses. If that isn’t bad enough, up to 60 percent of all small businesses targeted and attacked wind up going out of business within six months.

If you are a small business owner, those statistics are downright scary.

The good news is, even though hackers and other nefarious individuals are still a threat, there are some cybersecurity best practices you can use to help protect your business.

If you are ready to stand up to hackers, protect your business, and minimize the possibility of devastating losses, then you are in the right place. Learn what to do to safeguard your business here.

1. Ensure Your Employees are Properly Trained

Up to 90 percent of cyber attacks on small businesses can be traced back to (in some way) employees. This illustrates how important proper training actually is.

As a small business owner or manager, it’s up to you to establish certain security policies and practices for your employees. This should include things like Internet usage guidelines, how to create strong passwords, and penalties workers face if the violate these policies.

It’s important that you establish rules to describe how to handle and to protect customer information, and then provide your employees with the necessary training to ensure they understand their role.

2. Limit Access

Using layered security can help you keep your most sensitive data safe, even in situations where your system is breached. This requires you to limit access to specific types of information and adding new levels of protection, such as encryption, more passwords and more.

You can also use the help of a third-party provider, such as Simeio. By restricting access and knowing who is accessing information, you can have more control over your data and prevent a breach.

3. Protect Against Malicious Code, Spyware, and Viruses

You need to make sure each of your business’s computers is equipped with antispyware and antivirus software. It also needs to be updated on a regular basis.

You can find this software online from a wide array of vendors, with some options even being free. Regardless of the vendor you choose, all of them are going to provide updates and patches regularly. This helps to correct any security issues while improving functionality.

You can also opt to hire a managed service provider. This company will ensure all the necessary protections are in place, but it does come with a higher price tag.

4. Create a Mobile Device Policy

Simile to the policy mentioned in the first point about rules and requirements for network use, you also need to create a mobile device policy. The fact is, more employees have their mobile devices at work today than ever before.

It’s up to you to make sure your data is compromised because your workers are using these devices.

If you allow mobile device usage, make sure users password protect the device, install security apps, and encrypt their data to prevent theft when the device is on public networks. You also need policies in place regarding how to handle stolen or lost equipment.

5. Hack Yourself

This may seem like an odd recommendation, but one of the best ways for you to find vulnerabilities in your network is to hack yourself. You can hire an ethical hacker to do this, or an IT service provider.

They can let you know where your weaknesses are and recommend ways to eliminate them. This step alone can provide significant protection for your small business.

6. Backup Your Data

You need to back up the data on your computers on a regular basis. Some of the critical data that should be backed up include financial files, databases, electronic spreadsheets, accounts receivable/payable, human resources files, and word processing documents.

It’s smart to set up automatic backups. You can set this to be done daily, weekly or on a custom schedule. Make sure you store the backed-up information off-site or on the cloud to ensure if something does happen, you can still access this critical information.

7. Protect Your Data with a Clean Machine

You need to keep your machines clean. This means having the latest web browser, operating system, n security software.

With this in place, you have the best defense against all types of online threats, including malware, viruses, and more. Also, make sure you have set your antivirus software to run another scan after all updates.

8. Plan for an Attack

You need to plan for an attack. Even if one never comes, pre-planning is going to help you protect your business. To do this, it is a good idea to work with a third-party service provider.

Remember, you should hope for the best but always plan for the worst. This is exactly what you need to do when it comes to your small business and the threat of cyber-attack.

With the help of the pros, you can have a disaster plan in place if your business is ever breached. This ensures everyone knows what to do in these situations.

Cybersecurity Best Practices: Now You Know

When it comes to cybersecurity best practices, they are going to be similar across all industries. After all, protecting your data and information is critical for any business, regardless of its size or niche.

If you found the information here helpful, then make sure to check out some of our other blogs. For example, we have information on how you can create a stellar social presence online.

Our goal is to provide business owners with information that will help them grow and succeed.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.