In July this year (2019), New Bedford’s computer network was attacked by ransomware. Cyber-criminals demanded $5.3M in cryptocurrency in exchange for releasing the city’s data. Luckily, the town had reserved backup systems and did not need to pay the ransom. However, not every cyber-attack ends happily. Many organizations, government units, businesses of all sizes fall victim to cyber-attacks that often cost thousands if not millions of dollars.
Everyone’s a Target
Small businesses should no think that hackers won’t target them. In fact, it’s easier for hackers to target and attack smaller businesses and organizations as their cybersecurity measures are oftentimes quite lax.
When it comes to cyber-attacks, everyone is a potential target, and your small business may end up with you having to close shop. Small business owners need to know these essential cyber-security tips to keep their data safe:
Your business should treat the passwords to your business computer, network, website, or cloud-based business apps with as much care as it would its locks and keys. You would want to have a pick-proof, durable, and high-quality lock and key to restrict unauthorized access to your shop and its cash register. You should have the same mindset when it comes to your password and password protection; have a strong password and even a stronger/more secure network. Not only is it important to limit those who know the password to managers and key personnel, but it’s just as important to have strict policies to password sharing and also on the regular updating of passwords.
#2 Training and Orientation
Every single one of your staff should be aware of the basic cybersecurity threats and issues, which can be difficult if you have non-tech-savvy staff. It’s important to be patient and carefully discuss the common types of attacks and what to do in case of a cyber-attack in your network or website.
#3 Updated and Reliable Security Software
You wouldn’t trust some stranger to offer free service as a security guard for your shop, so why should you settle for free security and antivirus software? Your small business should consider having a reliable and regularly-updated cybersecurity software to guard its system against cyber-attacks, viruses, and malware that can wreak havoc to your network, website, and business data.
#4 Data Backup
Sometimes, security breaches still happen despite one’s efforts. It’s important for even small businesses to keep an encrypted backup of all its essential files, which may include customer data, financial reports, and other sensitive or business-related information. Regularly scheduled backups can help minimize the damage caused by a security breach and also protect you against cyber ransom (blocking access to certain files or systems.
#5 Web Archiving
It’s also prudent for a small business to invest in website archiving for its official website, and also its official social media accounts. Having your social media account and websites archived is a good way to preserve data, and can also be used as legal and non-refutable evidence if there are any legal issues later on resulting from website vandalism by a hacker or any unauthorized person who got access of the website.
A business should treat cyber-attacks as a threat that is as dangerous as a robbery. You need to keep your business secure, not only in your physical store or offices but also online. When information is power, your data, website, and customer information are vital to surviving the business world.