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10 Cybersecurity Tips For Small Business

This list from the Small Business Administration, and our additional notes and suggestions will get any business off on the right foot securing and protecting valuable information and network access.

Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code It is relatively easy to ensure that all devices have the relevant anti-virus/anti-malware software installed and working. There are many vendors that provide excellent protection as the industry is well developed. Sticking to major brands is advisable, and it is imperative that all software updates are

installed on time as those updates deal with the most current threats.

Secure your networks A firewall and network encryption are imperative to keep unwanted actors off of your network. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the name of the network, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router. If it is necessary that your network name be visible, use a generic name to prevent easy identification of which network is yours.

Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information Create clear policies on how all employees should handle personal, proprietary, and sensitive information. If necessary, establish information security categories for different classifications of information that must be secured differently. Each employee understanding the consequences of violating these policies is essential for compliance.

Educate employees about cyberthreats and hold them accountable Education of employees is key to the security process. Employees much understand the current threats, especially those that come from social media use. Depending on your industry, your staff should know what internal and proprietary information must be secured from competitors. Employees should be informed about how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. Hold employees accountable to the business’s Internet security policies and procedures.

Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often The most common method for any malicious person to "hack" a website or other system is through employee account that have easy to guess passwords. Consider implementing multifactor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.

Employ best practices on payment cards

Work with your banks or card processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations related to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet. Are you ready for the shift from magnetic-strip payment cards to safer, more secure chip card technology, also known as “EMV”? October 1st is the deadline set by major U.S. credit card issuers to be in compliance. Give us a call for more information and resources.

Make backup copies of important business data and information Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.

Control physical access to computers and network components Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.

Create a mobile device action plan Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network.. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.

Protect all pages on your public-facing websites, not just the checkout and sign-up pages

Many businesses choose to install software

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