Securing Your Small Business in the New Year

With each new year comes new resolutions.

If you're a small business owner, those resolutions or goals probably have to do with growing your business in 2019. Maybe it's hiring more employees, or expanding your operations. Perhaps you've got a goal to upgrade your equipment, or a commitment to be more organized.

But one resolution that should be on every small business owner's list in the new year is to take control of their business's cybersecurity.

For the majority of SMB owners, cybersecurity sounds like a daunting task, as many don't even know where to start. This makes cybersecurity easy to neglect, and their business an easy target for a cyberattack.

If you're among the many SMB owners who don't know where to start, here are seven easy ways to secure your business in 2019.

Backup Your Data: It's important to back up your data as 140,000 hard drives fail in the U.S. each week. What would you do if you lost all of your customer records tomorrow? Make sure you don't have to answer that question by storing your data in two different locations. If you store your data in the cloud, also back it up on a physical drive to ensure it's secure.

Update & Strengthen Passwords: It takes code-breaking programs only 15 minutes to crack a simple 8-character password. To strengthen your passwords, change them regularly and don't recycle old passwords. It's recommended to use between 10-12 characters, use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and use multi-factor authentication.

Take Cybersecurity Training Courses: A whopping 97 percent of people are unable to identify a sophisticated phishing email. Phishing emails are the preferred method of attack for hackers as 91% of cyberattacks start with malicious mail. Training yourself and your staff to correctly identify a phishing email is an important step in overall cybersecurity for your business.

Implement A Clean Desk Policy: Most data breaches aren't caused by malicious outsiders. In fact, leaving computers or documents unattended is the cause of 47 percent of all data breaches. Even though your small business may not have suffered a cyberattack, the damage from leaving sensitive documents laying around can still be the same. Implement a clean desk policy to help ensure proper security of sensitive information.

Get Cyber Insurance: On average, it takes 206 days for a business to even realize it has suffered a data breach. Because it can take so long for a breach to be discovered, enterprise-level organizations are beginning to require that third-party vendors that they work with get Cyber insurance. In fact, the 2018 State of SMB Cyber Insurance report shows that Cyber insurance is the fastest growing insurance coverage among SMBs. Once reserved just for larger corporations, advancements in online shopping platforms and underwriting methods have made it easier and more accessible than ever for SMBs to get Cyber insurance. Protect your business, reputation, and your customers by getting Cyber insurance.

Create A Plan: A whopping 54% of small business owners have no contingency plan in place for handling a data breach. Would you or your employees know who to contact if you suffered a cyberattack? A contingency plan lays out the steps you and your employees should take to act quickly to mitigate the damage of a data breach.

Manage All The BYODs: Did you know that 87 percent of companies allow BYOD at work? These mobile devices are great for getting things done on the go, but can also be entries into your network if lost or stolen. Track all these devices with a mobile device management system, require all devices accessing company data to be password protected, and have a written security policy for BYODs.

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