Technology is constantly progressing, becoming better and better as the years go by. According to Small Business Trends at the end of 2018, 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses, and out of those small businesses 60% of the companies go out of business within six months of one single cyber-attack. Cyber criminals are also getting smarter and finding new avenues to target any data that is put out there. This is putting everyone at risk. As a small to medium sized business, you may be a perfect target for cyber hackers present in the digital world. Smaller companies typically have a fewer amount of security layers to access any websites or databases owned by the company.
Now more than ever, it is important for small businesses to understand the risks that cyber-attacks hold against smaller companies. Security protocol should be at the top of the priority list. There are some simple steps you can take to protect your company and its assets.
Backup Your Data Regularly.
Every business has company and/or customer data stored. Information that cyber criminals look for is customer’s payment info, from your delivery service, or from an online client portal. Backing up your data regularly will secure your business assets no matter what catastrophic cyber-attack strikes. You should also back-up your data on a third-party platform or data center that is unrelated/linked to your primary content location. This way, hackers may attack or hold your data hostage from the primary location, but will not have automatic access to your safety net as well. The following platforms have been rated as the best cloud backup services in 2019: iDrive, BackBlaze, Acronis, Carbonite, SpiderOak, and Zools.
Configure Your Router and Firewall.
Installing firewall software for your computer or server will add extra levels of security for all of your data that is being passed back and forth from your computer to the internet. There are many firewall software applications available at many different levels. You can find the right one that fits within your company’s budget.
Install an Anti-Malware Protection Software.
An anti-malware software will help protect you from any malicious software transmitted through your Wi-Fi connection, spam emails, and unsecured websites. This not only includes viruses, but any Trojan horses, worms, spyware and key-logger programs, ransomware, rootkits, boot-kits, and even adware. Just like your firewall software, the anti-malware will add even more layers of security for each employee’s device.
Secure Your Wi-Fi.
This may go without saying, but having unsecured Wi-Fi leaves the door wide-open for hackers. Securing your Wi-Fi network with a strong password will help lower your risk of cyber theft. This especially holds true when you are using your Wi-Fi or hotspot in a public location other than your business location. If you’d like to offer your clients free Wi-Fi connection while they wait on your services, we suggest having them ask for the password or only allowing employees to utilize the Wi-Fi connection. We would not recommend having it easily accessible to anyone who walks through the door. Please note, your Wi-Fi password should be changed out regularly.
Utilize Strong Passwords.
Not only do you want use a strong password for your Wi-Fi connection, you’ll want to incorporate this tactic throughout your whole business. Require your employees to create strong passwords on any platform that permits them access to company data. One of the biggest keys in having a strong password is to change it often. A strong password is typically at least six characters long. Typically, strong passwords are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and include uppercase and lowercase letters. We also recommend having a password unrelatable to your business. For instance, if you own a dry cleaning service, it wouldn’t be best to make your password “DryClean#123”. Hackers could make the correlation between the password and your business.
Conduct a Risk Analysis.
You can either seek a professional or engage your management team to perform your company’s risk analysis. You will want to identify and prioritize your assets in order to identify any of your company’s threats and vulnerabilities. There are four major things to look for in your cyber risk assessment: relevant threats to your organization, internal and external vulnerabilities, impact if those vulnerabilities are exploited, and likelihood of exploitation. These four items should give your management staff a good start when looking to reduce long-term costs, provide a template for future assessments, provide greater self-awareness, help avoid breaches and other cyber incidents, and improve communication.
Implement a Security Policy.
Education is key. One of the best ways you can stay protected is by having security protocols in place and training all employees. Keep your employees informed by writing out a formal policy and guideline for them to follow. This policy could go over Wi-Fi security, password format, and spam emails.
How Can Choice Insurance Agency Help?
Choice Insurance Agency can help reduce your chance of loss in a variety of ways – one of them being cyber and data liability coverage. We have protected dozens of small-mid sized business against loss due to a cyber-attack. We understand that smaller businesses may not have the resources to protect themselves, which is why we offer the best rates with over 25 different carriers to find the policy that best fits your needs. According to a survey conducted by the National Small Business Association, small business owners can lose $32k, on average, from just one cyber-attack. We can offer your business insurance solutions to help protect your data and assets against potential attacks that can result in a loss of thousands of dollars within your business. Call us for a quote today!