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Vigilance and Preparation: Small Business Cyber Security

Now that most businesses are moving online to maintain their business viability during these uncertain times, the importance of cybersecurity is even more evident. Over the years, established conglomerates have been hard hit and lost considerable market share and prestige due to cybersecurity leaks.

Small businesses are much less likely to be able to recover from the loss of trust that a cybersecurity hack can cause. Physical assets can be protected by security guards. Even their loss will not cause much disruption to productivity if you utilize the benefits of hiring a commercial insurance firm like Young Insurance Brokers Inc.

But the loss of secure business data and sensitive customer information is not as easy to recover from. Customers will most certainly withdraw their accounts from a company they can no longer trust. To a small business, losing any amount of revenue will have a serious impact. Thus, it is in your company’s best interests to understand the best ways to prevent or recover from a cybersecurity attack.

Regular Backups

It is imperative that a backup of your key systems and data are made weekly. This will save your business in the event that any hacker manages to break into your system and lock you out. Sometimes, hackers will steal the information, wipe it from your systems and try to hold it for ransom.

By having a secure weekly backup, you can comfortably report the hackers to the police as your IT department re-secures your systems. You can then upload the weekly backup and continue work with very minor disruption to productivity. You will still need to report the breach to clients, but the speed and ability with which you handled recovering from the situation may allay their fears. Seeing that your business is prepared for every eventuality will impress your clients.

Automate Security Patches

Instruct the I.T department or your remote service provider to automate all security patches. These automated updates can be deployed late at night when no employees will be in the office and can go through smoothly without disrupting workplace efficiency.

It is much more efficient to have security patches be automated as human error can occur at any time if employees are given a choice in the matter. You cannot guarantee that a busy employee will not forget to apply the update in a timely manner. Automatic updates will bypass human error altogether and have the system secure and ready for your employees by the next day.

Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

This will secure your systems against most types of attacks and probing efforts by hackers. Regular updates of both types of software are necessary to keep your systems safe from sudden attacks as well.

Make it a priority to remind your employees to keep the software current. This is even more necessary if your employees take work laptops home. Advise them not to use the work devices for personal usage as this can compromise the safety of the work systems.

Include it in company policy that employees are to never access company data or systems on their personal devices. When you are working with sensitive information that is of interest to hackers, they will come in from every angle. Trying to cut corners by insisting that employees use their personal devices will expose your business in many ways that will be impossible to secure and leave it wide open to security breaches.

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Two Factor Authentication

Passwords are no longer the only form of security that a system can have. Instill the need for two-factor authentication across all devices. Where passwords are needed, use a reputable password management tool and require different passwords for different systems.

Insist that employees practice memory tricks to remember the passcodes and discipline employees who write down their passwords or passcodes in easily visible places. These employees will need cybersecurity training and if their behavior does not improve, you may want to move them to a department where are no longer allowed access to secure data.

Encrypt Everything

Your systems are not the only thing that needs to be secure. Communication with the client and internal communications needs to be on secure networks and encrypted. This is the best way to avoid leaking sensitive data.   Regularly check your firewall and ensure that your system upgrades to the latest in firmware. It might be a good idea to secure your internet router with firmware as well. This is especially important if you offer Wi-Fi within the office as that network will need to be encrypted.   If you absolutely must offer clients Wi-Fi within your office, have a second internet router for this specific purpose. Make sure that only customer-facing employees have the information required to connect to this Wi-Fi to avoid any avoidable faux pas.

Right now, with so many people working from home, if your employees have any issues with their work device, they may not be able to come into the office to have it fixed or replaced. If this happens, and only in an instance where there is no IT assistance that can be offered, you can allow your employees to access work systems.

Give them a list of approved VPNs that they can use as well. This will help them to use a secure one that will not leave too many opportunities for compromising activities. Regular cybersecurity training and utilizing best practices in business cybersecurity will help your employees to provide you with their best efforts at all times as well.

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