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When a large, multi-million or a billion dollar company has a cyber security breach, it usually makes big news. Not so much when it comes to small businesses. The threat, however, is just as serious and can have even more devastating results. The bad guys often consider small businesses as soft targets without the resources for a large IT team to keep things locked down. That means you should at least take some practical steps to protect you and your customer’s data. Here are some basic cyber security tips to better protect your small business.
Use Strong Passwords and Change them Quarterly
Yes, it is a pain and yes, your birthday and street name is easier to remember. Simple passwords also are much easier for the bad guys software to decipher. Create at least 8 character passwords that use a random collection of letters, numbers and symbols. Be sure to use at least one capital letter. Even if you must use a simpler password, at least add a symbol or two and a capital letter to improve the security. Business passwords should be changed quarterly to account for turnover.
Back Up Data Regularly
IT people will generally tell you it is a matter of when not if you will lose data. A backup can be a lifesaver. Back up data using a cloud service or external hard drive and keep it off premises. Ideally, you should backup data weekly but be certain to perform a backup at least monthly.
Train Staff on Email and Internet Best Practices
Visiting the wrong website, entering sensitive information or opening the wrong emails can create a host of problems. Cyber thief’s have become extremely clever at making emails and websites look official in efforts to get you to give up sensitive information. Make sure your team knows about phishing tactics. When in doubt, don’t click on it. This is particularly critical when digital financial transactions are taking place. Make a human contact to verify details.
Use a Firewall, Virus, and Malware Protection
Using free software is better than none, however, when you consider what is at stake, it is worthwhile to invest in paid software to serve as a firewall and virus and malware protection. Updates and warnings are usually provided with these paid services and that means additional peace of mind.
Protect Your Physical Devices
Not all cyber crime is conducted through some sophisticated breach of your network. Simply stealing a computer, laptop, netbook or smartphone can provide criminals with a wealth of information. Don’t use public networks for sensitive business. Keep business laptops stowed securely.
Contact Your Independent Insurance Agent
Many small business owners may not be aware that there are loss-prevention products that can help protect them from digital crimes and the liability that can be associated with it. Contact one of our independent agents to discuss your business. They can help determine your risk and the appropriate coverage to protect your business.