Almost half of small businesses in the United States had at least one cybersecurity attack in 2017, according to the latest “Small Business Cyber Risk Report” by business insurance provider Hiscox. The firm added that 66% of owners and high-level executives find cyber attacks as one of the top concerns in their business, next to fraud.
These concerns, however, aren’t necessarily addressed. Hiscox asked the help of market research firm Forrester Consulting to evaluate the preparedness of over 4,103 small business professionals in different countries when it comes to cyber attacks. The report found that seven out of ten businesses don’t have a backup plan for cyber attacks – costing small businesses approximately $34,604 every year. This is unfortunate.
Using digital methods to simplify processes like record keeping and internal communication is essential for business owners like you, but you should also be wary of its consequences. You don’t want employee and customer data in the hands of bad actors. It’s even more frustrating to find out that your company payroll is suddenly wiped clean.
Protect your small business from cyber attacks. Here are simple steps you can do.
Keep Everything Updated
Every device in your business should have updated software and operating systems. Not only will bug fixes ensure that they’ll run smoothly, but these will also make them more resilient against cyber attacks. Hackers come up with over a million new ways to infiltrate devices every day. Software companies often address these threats through periodic updates.
The next time you open your computer and the update reminder comes up, don’t skip it no matter how long it takes. Check your company smartphone’s settings page and tap on the option to manually scan for and install software updates. Make sure the anti-virus program you have installed updates in the background as well. Add security operations to your ServiceNow system to protect your data better. These small but significant steps to ensure you have the latest software thickens your shield against cybersecurity attacks, even if the changes aren’t really noticeable.
Be in the Know
According to the Hiscox report, the top three cyber-related insurance claims were for ransomware, hackers, and loss or misuse of data. If these terms are foreign to you, then you need to be familiar with them to consciously avoid them.
Let’s start with number one: ransomware. This is when a hacker locks you out of your device and holds your business data hostage. They then ask for payment or “ransom” to give you your precious data back. Even if you do pay, there’s a large possibility that the attacker won’t keep their end of the bargain. Even when they do, you have no way of knowing whether they mirrored the data in their server.
The second term is hackers. These are people who gain unauthorized access to computers through hardware or software. They mainly do this to collect and sell sensitive data or to spy on users, the third term.
To keep yourself updated with cyber attack trends, subscribe to reputable tech news sites like CNet, Wired, or TechCrunch. The more you know about them, the better.
Lock Down the Hardware
Sometimes the lack of cybersecurity doesn’t come from malware or hacking but from the lack of physical security in your computers. Ask a professional to secure the system unit to a wall or the ground to prevent people from snatching it away easily. You should also be wary of your USB ports, as someone could put an infected flash drive there without you noticing.
If you have a server room, it should only be accessed by you and your IT professional. This is the simplest, but most important step. Remember that once your hardware security is bypassed, hackers have free reign over your device.
The cost of cyber attacks on small businesses is just too expensive to ignore. This is why you should always keep your devices updated and take extra measures to keep their software and hardware safe. With breaches happening every day, you can never be too sure.