Is your business safe from cyber attacks? Just because your business is small, doesn’t mean you’re not a target. In fact, around 61 percent of cyber breaches target small businesses – that’s about two-thirds of all cyber attacks!
Cyber attacks on your business could be devastating. About 60 percent of small businesses hit by these attack close their doors within six months of this breach.
Small business network security has become even more important in recent years and your data is valuable. We’ll show you how to protect your business and your customers from being hacked.
1. Educate Your Employees
Human error can be the main cause of cyber attacks. Simple mistakes like failure to update passwords, leaving accounts open, and accidentally downloading destructive files lead to bigger problems.
You should educate your employees on proper security measures such as:
- Updating passwords frequently
- Creating strong passwords
- Spotting phishing scams
- Accessing work documents on unsecured networks
- Downloading software on work computers
Explaining proper cybersecurity will help you mitigate some risk to your network. Be sure you communicate often. You should also explain why it’s important to regularly update software for both personal and business devices.
Passwords should contain numbers, letters, and special characters. Make sure employees don’t write down their passwords in easy to spot locations. You would be surprised at how many people leave passwords on their desks and use “password” as their password.
You need to have security policies in place and make sure employees know these procedures. These policies should include rules on:
- File sharing
- Reporting lost devices
- How often to update passwords
- Network access on and off premises
- Security applications
- Reporting a suspected breach
Even with security personnel, employees can still make mistakes if they don’t know the dangers of their actions. Your employees need to know how to use company property correctly and follow these security protocols.
2. Monitor Personal Devices
You may not have the resources to provide all your employees with the equipment they need such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops. This means that your employees may use their personal devices to access company data to work.
If your employees use personal devices, you will need to secure these devices also with security updates, monitoring software, and password rules. There’s a line you have to watch because you can’t invade personal privacy. You can protect your business with the proper security procedures on employees’ personal devices.
Do your employees have antivirus security programs on their devices? If your employees use their personal devices regularly, check on some antivirus apps and programs. It can save your employees from a personal attack as well as your business information.
3. Safeguard Your WiFi Connection
Your WiFi network can be an easy entry for cybercriminals if it’s not secured properly. You need to take steps to secure this network. First, you should use a firewall to encrypt all your data that goes through the network.
Also, be sure you create a password to protect your router that only employees use. You should hide your network so others can’t try to access it.
For public WiFi options, set up a second network just for customers and vendors. You should not allow the public to use the same network as employees. Make sure employees are using the secured network especially for the sensitive information.
Your network password should also be strong. You should implement a practice for employees sharing passwords. Updating the network access password regularly will also help increase your security.
4. Use a VPN
If your employees need to access your information off-site, you should set up a virtual private network (VPN). This adds another layer of security to Internet browsing. If an employee has to access your information over an unsecured or public network, this extra layer of security helps reduce risks of attacks.
VPNs send data first through their servers to hide your IP address and encrypt the data. This includes passwords and browsing history. You can reduce the risk of hackers intercepting passwords and business files with this extra security when they are offsite.
Some larger corporations create their own VPNs. This may not be an option for a smaller business – but don’t worry! There are several VPN services available to find the right option for your business.
As with anything else, do your research before choosing a VPN service provider. Free services are not a reliable option and you should take caution. You need to make sure this provider is reliable before trusting them with your private information.
5. Use Two-Factor Authentication
If you can use two-factor authentication, you should do it! Cloud databases can be hacked if users don’t turn on this authentication. Cloud infrastructure is a very vulnerable area for cyber attacks.
Your users will have to enter a second piece of information in addition to the password to access information. Have you seen questions like “who was your first-grade teacher?” or “where were you born?” These are examples of two-factor authentication.
You need to have your own safe practices – such as extra passwords and encryption. Don’t rely on your cloud provider. Layered security can help protect your most sensitive data on the cloud.
How Strong Is Your Small Business Network Security?
Have someone hack you or hack yourself to find out. Work with an experienced IT staff to plan a data breach to see how secure your information is. You can then create the best plan for backing up information and getting your business back up and running.
You also need to check the strength of your business apps in addition to your network. Do you use a software developer? Learn more about the company that has all your information and what safety procedures they use with your information.
Looking for More Information to Keep Your Business Safe?
Now that you know about small business network security, learn other ways to keep your business safe from cyber crimes. Check out other articles on stopping hackers using Internet security systems and protecting yourself from scammers.
Follow our blog to gain more insight on how to keep your business safe.