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Top 5 Cybersecurity Tips For Small Businesses

Hackers are getting smarter, which means the rate of cyber threats will increase. If you’re a small business owner, you need to employ fundamental security measures and arm yourself with solid strategies. Here are five steps that you can use to keep your customers, business data, and employees safe.

  1. Consider a Services or Products Approach to Security

Both large and small companies find that the best approach to It infrastructure safety and security is to completely, or partially, outsource their security operations to a third-party vendor.

A recent cloud security study, commissioned by Alert Logic and conducted by Forrester Consulting, found that almost 80 percent of participants saw some value in outside security, to supplement security operations. Market-leading technologies are critical, however, the best approach to securing sensitive data, for you and your customers, are by involving a “services and product” approach. This combines 24×7 security monitoring by a team of security and compliance experts with cyber security technologies.

  1. System Upkeep Should be Your Number 1 Priority

Have you heard that upkeep is cheaper than replacement? This adage closely applies to cybersecurity. You must continually perform routine maintenance, and update your small business IT system, to ensure everything is “clean”. Company devices may need regular software updates to patch any newly discovered vulnerabilities which can significantly reduce or eliminate many of the basic cyber threats.

  1. Secure Applications and the Network

Small businesses need to continually monitor network traffic, to look for anomalies, which can include unauthorized file transfers and suspicious IP addresses. This is an essential security measure. Once the IT admins identify any anomalies, they can add them to the block list, to prevent that IP address from accessing your network. Also, secure your web platform. Set up web application firewalls (WAFs) to HTTP conversions. This will allow IT administrators to identify and block most common online attacks including SQL injections and cross-site scripting (XSS).

When a hacker wants to exploit a web platform or if your firewall identifies an attempted intrusion, the WAF will alert the admin. This makes it harder for a cyber attacker to access applications that are regularly used by your business. There are all sorts of issues that can impact on cyber security as this piece from Capita IT professional services shows.

  1. Back Up Your System

Ransomware allows a hacker to use a virus to encrypt computer files. They hold the files hostage until a ransom is paid. This is currently one of the top security threats. This has become such a concern for website owners that the FBI has released a warning in January 2015. In some cases, even if the ransom is paid, important files will remain locked, which means they will be lost forever. Different versions of ransomware pop up each day. Even companies that have strong security systems and cybersecurity programs have fallen prey to ransomware.

Ransomware has become a weapon, used by cyber-criminals. To protect all their precious data, small businesses must back of their systems frequently. If you store your data on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid data center, you must secure your data in a safe place and back up the files. Many businesses have found cloud storage useful for this purpose since it allows instant backup and provides basic security protection.

  1. Train Employees to be Security Smart

Human error is one of the biggest business cyber security threats. Every staff member should know about your security programs and should receive security briefs and training every quarter. In addition to keeping your employees up-to-date on the security programs, you should remind workers of basic precautions. These measures will help to protect them and their digital assets, while they’re at home or at work. For example, a passphrase is harder for a hacker to guess, than a password.

Unlike large organizations, small businesses often allow and encourage their employees to use their personal mobile devices for work. According to Techaisle’s Anurag Agrawal, about 61 percent of small businesses, allow employees to use their personal electronic devices. Keeping this in mind, some small business owners, employ some form of network access control (NAC) or mobile security solutions products. That will allow workers to securely access a company VPN and email using their own laptops, tablets, and mobile phones without compromising a company’s entire IT infrastructure.

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