Know How to Protect Your Small Business From Cyberthreats

iStock-637748256.jpg

With October serving as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, there are many ways a small business can keep its business safe and secure not just in October, but year-round as well. Insurance company Nationwide recently surveyed over 1000 business owners about their cybersecurity awareness and disaster planning.  Research found that 45 percent of business owners have been a victim of a cyberattack without knowing it. Only 13 percent knew that it was a cyberattack.  Small business owners believe that because of the size of their business that they are not as much as risk as larger business owners.

However, that is simply not true.  The Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute reports that 50 percent of small businesses surveyed have experienced a cyber breach in the last year.  Simply, small businesses are targeted by hackers because they have more digital assets than individual consumers and less security resources than larger corporations. 

Since many small business owners are susceptible to cyberattacks (and worse, aren’t aware that such an attack could happen to them), what can these owners do to prevent or minimize cyberattacks?  Having cybersecurity experts on the team is helpful, but small businesses may not have that luxury.  For small business leaders that seek to limit these cyberthreats themselves, there are several solutions to enhance an organization’s cybersecurity presence.

·         Antivirus software – The most common defense against most types of malware.  This includes maintaining up-to-date versions of the antivirus software used and all software programs a business uses.

·         Firewalls – An extra layer of protection executed through hardware or software to combat unauthorized users from access computers and networks.

·         Data backup – Any information compromised or lost from a breach or attack can be retrieved, usually from a cloud backup.

·         Encryption software – Protects sensitive data such as employee, customer, client and financial information.

·         Two-factor authentication (2FA) – A computer user enters his or her username and password and a separate alpha and/or numeric code is sent via a text to a mobile device to complete the authentication process.

·         Cybersecurity Insurance – Many insurance carriers now offer specific coverage for small businesses to fit most budgets and potential risk levels.

·         Employee education – Teaching employees the importance of identifying potential breaches and insider threats goes a long way in safeguarding computer systems, networks and information and keeping a small business safe from cyberthreats.

Sean Paradis