How to Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Attacks

We have some sobering figures to share. Only 31% of SMBs guard themselves against cyber attacks. However, 70% of attacks this year will be against SMBs. And sadly, 60% of SMBs will go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.

How do you avoid that? Become part of the 31% guarding against cyber attacks. Here’s how.

Encrypt Data

The most egregious attacks in the news, like the Equifax attack this year, are possible because the company stored valuable customer data in plaintext files. If you had a document of customer’s credit card numbers, you wouldn’t leave it on your desk. You’d put it in a safe. Do the same with digital information and encrypt.

Secure Your Hardware

Invest in cameras and remote monitoring. Consider smart locks. Get your IT department to ensure that servers are secured with locks, USB keys, or even hardware-based encryption. Install tracking software on all your company’s devices. If you use point-of-sales devices or have an ATM onsite, teach your employees what a skimmer looks like.

Secure Your Network

WiFi networks are frequent targets for attackers. In fact, sophisticated criminals employ an attack called “wardriving”, where they outfit a car with powerful antennas, drive around, and search for weak WiFi networks.

A wired network is always safer than a WiFi network. If you must have a WiFi network for your business, disable the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting fuction on your router. This will “hide” the network to people won don’t know the exact network name. If you run the kind of business that offers customers WiFi, you can still do this. Just change the name of your network periodically and put the name up on a chalkboard somewhere. Also, strongly consider separate networks for your customers and the rest of your business.

WPA2 is the current encryption standard for WiFi. Make sure that’s what you’re using.

Hire IT Security

If your business is on the smaller end of the SMB scale, you might only need a person working a few hours a week. In fact, there are plenty of internet-based security firms that can take care your IT security. If your SMB has a lot of digital assets and you don’t have a dedicated IT security person, this may be the best option.

If you need a lot of IT security support, you can always employ a managed service provider to maintain your IT systems remotely. They’ll take responsibility for maintaining your virus protection, updating your firewalls, backing up your data, encrypting your information, and generally keeping everything ship-shape.

Monitor Everything

Despite your best preparation, an attack or breach may occur. The sooner you catch it, the better, so keep an eye on bank accounts, security software, or anything else that can give you an indication of a breach. Report thefts immediately. Change passwords proactively.

Remember: more than half of SMBs will go out of business within six months of a cyber attack. Don’t become a statistic.