Cyber security experts estimate that roughly 43 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. Companies both large and small rely on digital systems that can effectively manage sensitive customer data.
Business owners need to understand how vital small business cyber security is to safeguard this data from loss and theft.
You can learn more here about small business cyber security tips. Put these steps into motion today. Then you’ll be able to fend off any malicious attacks on the “dream” you’ve tried so hard to build from the ground up.
What Does ‘Cyber Security’ Mean?
Cyber security means protecting your online networks, desk-top computers, and hand-held devices from cyber attacks. A cyber attack will try to damage or read your company’s confidential information.
Cyber attacks are an everyday concern for company employees and owners. It only takes a single threat to confidential files to completely shut down your operations.
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Types of Cyber Security Threats
Vandals release new cyber attacks on small business security systems every day. Most of these threats have similar methods for invading a company’s security network. Some of these cyber security attacks include the following:
Denial-of-service (DoS) Attacks
Denial-of-service attacks (DoS) will invade your company’s network so that you can’t respond to any customer requests. This attack’s main purpose is to block your company from serving your clientele.
The DoS attack will shut down your operating system and take it offline. Once your system is down and vulnerable, hackers will try to launch more cyber attacks against your damaged system.
Ransomware infects and restricts access to a network system. Access is only released when a user pays a “ransom” or fee amount.
A user will get instructions on how to hand over the ransom amount. Then they get a decryption code that will unlock their systems. A ransomware fee can range between hundreds to thousands of dollars.
A watering hole is a legitimate website captured by a cyber criminal. A watering hole then converts these legitimate sites into malicious websites.
Once a watering hole attacker invades your site, they’ll know which websites you visit on a regular basis. Once they have this information, they begin to infect these other sites with malware.
Phishing attacks happen when data is stolen from another online user. Examples of common data stolen include login passwords or credit card numbers.
A cyber security attacker disguises themselves as a trusted entity. They convince a victim to open their emails or text messages.
These messages include persuasive language to convince the victim to open an attachment or click on a link that contains malicious codes. Once the user opens or downloads the infected code, malware invades the victim’s system.
Drive-by downloads install viruses on any operating system without permission. These attacks generally happen when no online security is installed. Drive-by-downloads will also occur when a business uses outdated operating systems.
Drive-by-downloads will penetrate a network’s security firewall. Drive-by-downloads attack a system’s firewall with code fragments that go unseen.
A drive-by download can also attach itself to another system. This malware introduces the code they need to penetrates other systems.
Small Business Cyber Security Strategies
Are you ready to bring your small business cyber security up to it’s highest level of protection? If you are, consider these seven cyber security strategies. They could be the answer to making sure your business stays as safe as possible.
1. Updated Software on Your Networks and Other Devices
Use a current version of security software on your business’s online browsers. An updated software version will help you protect your sensitive data from malware or other viruses.
2. Procedures for Mobile Devices
Make sure that your mobile devices (i.e., tablets, phones, laptops) also have anti-virus software installed. Anti-virus software will safeguard your sensitive data when you want to access it in public networks.
A personal device should also have individual password-protections as well.
3. Safeguard Your Wi-Fi Network
Protect your company’s Wi-Fi network by hiding or encrypting it. You can use your network router’s Service Set Identifier (SSID) function to mask your Wi-Fi. You can also safeguard your router with a password to fend off unauthorized uses.
4. Leverage Existing Cyber Security Resources
There are various organizations that provide free cyber security resource information. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers this Cyber Security Planning Guide resource.
There are also many training resources available that can provide you examples of online communication rules and practices.
One of these resources is the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS)housed within the Department of Homeland Security. You can also visit BITS Technology Group to read about cyber security.
5. Obtain Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates
An SSL certificate confirms your website’s identity. This certificate will help you scramble your data into an unreadable format. Then, your data returns to a readable format with the help of decryption keys.
6. Create a User Account That Limits Access to Your Company’s System
Each of your employees who have access to your company’s electronic files should have their own individual user account. This rule tip applies to contractors as well.
Your employees should have access to only those networks they need to do their work. Make sure you store or lock up any company mobile equipment or laptops when they aren’t being used.
7. Activate a Firewall
Launch a firewall system so that any cyber criminal out there can’t penetrate your network. You should install a firewall on all devices that your employees use to work on when they are at home.
There are plenty of sources of firewall software that are free of charge and ready for you to download.
What Are Your Next Steps?
Start by checking any mobile devices that you and your team use and make sure they have current security software installed.
Leverage the resources listed above to find out more about cyber security training opportunities. Plan some time on your calendar to change out your multi-login questions and passwords every two or three months.
You can also check out our website for more small business cyber security tips. Put these strategies in place today and you won’t become the next small business cyber security victim.