The holidays are a chaotic time for everyone, especially small business owners. Not only are they caring for the needs of their family, they are delivering their customers the excellent service that small business owners pride themselves on.
A previously hidden worry of business owners is cyber security and the safety of their financial details, proprietary information and the data they keep about their customers. On any given day, you can open any news outlet website or turn on your TV and hear about a massive cyber security breach resulting in lost money, hefty fines, and damaged reputations.
Though media outlets focus on huge breaches and massive customer databases, 58% of breaches and data thefts hit small businesses. Protecting your business, especially over the holiday season, shouldn’t be a cause for worry.
Why does my small business need cyber security?
Small businesses hold more valuable information than most people realize. Customer data, payment information, financial statements, banking details, and other sensitive data are at risk of falling into the wrong hands. This data feeds a thriving black market and losing it can spell disaster for your business. As if that’s not bad enough, many global government agencies will then impose harsh fines against your business for losing sensitive information. Small business owners are also vulnerable to focused encryption attacks by a type of malware, called ransomware, that can cost you all your data, forever, if you don’t pay a ransom demand. In some cases, the data is not restored even if you do pay.
What can I do to protect my business?
1. Security Software. The right security can protect your small business against all kinds of attacks, from ransomware to Advanced Persistent Threats. E-threats are growing ever-more sophisticated and you need a trusted, innovative security solution to defend your business against hacking and viruses.
2. Update passwords every 30 – 90 days. Avoid losing data and confidential information. An unauthorized person can obtain your passwords in a variety of ways, including through a breach or a former employee. Consistently changing passwords ensures that, if someone finds an old password of yours, it will no longer be useful. Use a digital password keeper (not the ones already in your browser or phone, or a post-it under the keyboard).
3. Secure your network. Are you letting your customers use the network that you use for your POS system or company computers? This would expose your network to potential harm. Segment your wi-fi to allow guests to use a secure network that doesn’t run your most important systems.
4. Perform regular backups. Ensure you are regularly backing up your most sensitive information. The data can be backed up on physical hard drives or on a cloud server. In case of a breach or ransomware attack (or even an act of nature), backups let you access and restore your most valuable information.
5. Apply security updates. Not all software is perfect. Hackers can exploit flaws that software developers may not know exist. If you run the software, you may open yourself to hackers. Make sure you update to patch these vulnerabilities (use a Patch Management solution).
6. Train your employees. Remind your workers to not open unwanted or unsolicited email on their computers or click on links or files they’re not expecting. Only enter personal information on sites you trust and that are current on their security certificates. Don’t let your employees bring their own devices and add them to your secure network. Remember that information security is the responsibility of everyone in the company.
7. Even if you educate your employees, it’s still necessary to limit their privileges and user access and to use tools that harden the attack surface (like Application Control whitelisting and Device Control).
"When choosing a security software, look for one that provides multi-layered protection and uses advanced Machine Learning algorithm to prevent, detect and stop cyber-attacks. Also, look for a solution that provides single console and centralized management, with a minimum footprint on your IT systems, to make sure your employees are not slowed down by it."
How Bitdefender Can Help Your Business
Bitdefender provides an easy-to-install, comprehensive security solution designed for small businesses. The Advanced Business Security solution has all the machine learning and artificial intelligence of the enterprise version but with a more streamlined, easy-to-use single management console for centralized protection of all your devices. You can monitor these devices from the comfort of your office, or from your phone for quick on-the-go updates, anywhere in the world.
Get started today and rest easy over the holidays.
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