The facts speak for themselves: targeting American small businesses is the focus today of cyber crime. According to one recent survey, companies that had one to 250 employees accounted for more than 30 percent of all cyber-attacks in 2014. The sad part is that 83 percent of survey-takers admitted to not having any cyber-crime protection strategies in place. Worse yet, over 60 percent of small businesses close within six months after an attack.
With each passing day, cyber crime becomes bolder, more sophisticated and more difficult to stop.
The circumstances being such, we’ve listed five top ways of protecting a small business from what is fast becoming inevitable: cyber-attacks.
Keep the Company’s Computers Updated
Keeping a company’s computers updated with anti-virus and firewall software are primary lines of defense against cyber-attacks. However, like flu shots, there is no clear 100 percent protection available.
Operating systems, web browsers and plug-ins such as Adobe Reader are crucial for protection. While the major browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome can be updated automatically, this one practice must be maintained no matter what.
Train Your Employees
In-house employees amazingly make up for 40 percent of small business cyber-crimes. With stats like these available, it becomes crucially important to instruct employees on creating strong passwords for both work-related accounts and personal ones as well.
Simply put, it takes one employee with one bad password choice to compromise the entire company’s databases. Likewise, downloading software without administrative permissions or opening email attachments are virtual open doors to cyber-criminals.
Securing the Company Wi-Fi Network
Periodically securing the office Wi-Fi network with a change of passwords and the renaming of the company network adds extra layers of protection to a company’s cyber-security protocol. Likewise, getting the latest Wireless Protected Access 2 technology for encryption is another good protective measure. Hint: Avoid using the company name in a network’s name change.
Get Rid of Sensitive Company Data
Information falling into the hands of prying eyes can cause endless, unnecessary trouble for company owners. One way to dispose of old, unused data is through the use of heavy-duty paper shredding services provided by companies such as Vital Records Control. The concept has been around for decades, and these modern-day versions are indicative of the continued need for this form of security.
Be Vigilant and Change the Guard
Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity by an employee, or even a top staff member, is unfortunately necessary. If any activity goes beyond looking suspicious, it is best to isolate the suspected individual from the compromised department area.
Once there exists no doubt as to the perpetrator’s guilt, obviously, get rid of the person as soon as possible – unless further legal action is needed. Likewise, re-evaluating the company’s cyber-security protocol every 90 days is also highly recommended.
With all the above security measures against cyber crime implemented, few cyber-criminals will be lurking around any small business environment. While not 100 percent foolproof, they collectively make a formidable line of defense.