How Secure Is Your Business In Cyber Space?
January 16, 2017
Cybersecurity is the act of securing cyberspace. As a small business owner, you may not realize how much your business depends on cyberspace. Everything from credit card processing and cloud based software to email services and maintaining a website can be affected by cybercrime. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing physical theft.
Many small businesses feel that they will not be targeted because their business is smaller. This is not the case, larger businesses are doing more to protect themselves in cyberspace leaving fewer opportunities causing cybercriminals to target less secure smaller businesses. As technology has progressed business owners can no longer afford to leave themselves unprotected.
The FCC released an online tool kit to help in assisting small businesses with their cybersecurity efforts. The following are just a few tips business owners can take advantage of in order to build up their efforts to ward off cybercriminals.
Train your employees in basic security principles. It is important that an employee understands basic procedures that can help secure your network. Something as simple as only allowing staff to access the computers and having your employees change passwords frequently can save you a lot of trouble.
Keep your security software up to date. Running free versions of software may seem cost effective up front, however paying the cost damages from a cybersecurity attack will be at a much greater cost. A firewall will help protect you from outsiders accessing business data. Be sure all employees who use personal devices are also using firewalls to protect their systems. Also, secure your Wi-Fi network by making sure it is encrypted and hidden. Businesses should password protect their router as well.
Another high-risk area is payment processing. Be sure to follow all guidelines set forth by your processing companies and the Payment Card Industry standards of security. It is best to isolate your payment system, meaning you shouldn’t use the same computer to surf the web and process your payments. Some of these less secure sites or programs could weaken the security of the payment processer.
Backing up data plays a significant role in keeping your business running smoothly. Data loss can occur for many different reasons ranging from natural disasters to cyber theft. There are many ways to back up your data. Research what is best for your company, choose a solution and be sure to follow your backup procedures regularly. Having a secure backup of your data could be the difference between a minor hiccup or the end of a business.
I encourage you to be cognizant of the growing issues and arm yourself by putting procedures into place to prevent cybercrime in your small business. There are many resources to help you create a cybersecurity plan. Reach out to the Angelo State University Small Business Development Center for additional access to resources that can provide cybersecurity plans for small businesses.
“Business Tips” was written by Dezaray Johnson, Certified Business Advisor & Training Coordinator, of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact her at Dezaray.Johnson@angelo.edu.