The profitability and health of your small business is important to you, which is why it is vital to defend yourself against malicious hackers hoping to steal your most valuable information. In fact, more than 43 percent of small businesses suffered a cyberattack in 2015!
Luckily, many data breaches are preventable by implementing a cybersecurity plan and educating your staff about best practices. Here are ten simple tips to safeguard your business.
#1 Create a Security Review Team
Before you address a problem, you need to understand it. Develop a security review team to examine your current policies and determine what is working and what can be improved. In the unfortunate case of a security breach, this team will be your first point of contact to assess the damage and manage the problem head on.
#2 Improve Your Passwords
Passwords are our first line of defense, yet many employees use weak passwords that can easily be broken by automated brute force attacks. Cybersecurity experts recommend replacing easily-deciphered passwords with more robust passphrases. For example, "margaretthatcheris110%SEXY" is a much stronger password than "Security_123".
#3 Avoid Suspicious Materials
Spam email attachments and fraudulent links are still the top methods hackers use to crack organizational security. Online users are often fooled by links redirecting them to bogus sign-in pages where they enter personal information. This is referred to as phishing and is especially problematic as many people use the same login credentials for several accounts.
#4 Restrict Shadow IT
While most companies provide tools and services for their teams, some employees prefer using free technologies downloaded from the internet. Because this software is unregulated by IT, it is referred to as shadow IT. These downloads sometimes carry Trojans meant to loot company information. Even if the downloaded program is legitimate, IT will be left unaware if the program is breached.
Educate your teams about the risks associated with shadow IT. While banning free services isn't realistic, requesting that employees at least disclose the services they are using will greatly reduce the number of security gaps in your network.
#5 Keep Your Software Up to Date
You may not realize it, but clicking the "remind me later" button on software notifications could put your organization at risk. Exploiting outdated software and browser plugins is hacker 101. Known security gaps are often remedied with each update, so don't procrastinate. Turn on automatic updates.
#6 Manage Mobile Devices
Businesses everywhere are moving to mobile as more employees are working remotely; and savvy hackers have taken note. Close security gaps by implementing mobile device policies to better encrypt and protect information transferred from smartphones and tablets to your network.
#7 Avoid Insecure Connections
Free Wi-Fi is tempting, but personal, financial and business information transferred over these unsecured networks can easily be intercepted by hackers. Some cybercriminals may even create public networks to lure unsuspecting users. Only connect to Wi-Fi sources you know and trust.
#8 Report Security Warnings
If you think you may have exposed your computer to a sketchy email attachment or insecure Wi-Fi connection, be sure to report it immediately. It's better to address the problem before it festers.
#9 Continued Education
Remember, a cybersecurity plan isn't a checklist. It's a process meant to match the constantly evolving threat of cybercrime. Quarterly seminars are a fantastic way to remind employees about cybersecurity and update teams about newly discovered privacy gaps.
#10 Invest in Cyber Liability Insurance
Every cybersecurity plan should incorporate cyber insurance to provide comprehensive protection against cyberattacks, data breaches, identity thefts and more. In the case of a breach, it's important to know your company and customer data are covered.
Protect your business, your customers and your reputation against all cybersecurity risks with CyberPolicy. Visit us today to see what our cyber insurance and cybersecurity offerings can do for your small business.