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Cybersecurity Checklist for Small Businesses

Small businesses are growing every year thanks to the internet. The digital reach of small companies has allowed these businesses to thrive, and the services and amenities that come with the internet have been hugely impactful to the growth of the small business. Unfortunately, using the internet does have its pitfalls.

Even the largest of companies have found themselves victims of cybercriminals over the last few years. This can be incredibly intimidating to a small business owner.

If Target, Panera Bread, Facebook, and even Google can end up the victims of hackers, leaks, and other digital privacy infringement, how can small businesses really protect themselves?

Luckily, there are surefire ways for business owners to protect themselves in the digital era.

First, let’s discuss a few types of cybercrime to watch out for:

Phishing

  • Cybercriminals attempt to trick email recipients into clicking links that take them to malware infected websites.

Drive-by Downloads

  • Untrustworthy websites attempt to install software without asking permission.

Watering Holes

  • Proper websites that have become malware laden due to an attack on that website prior to your visiting it.

How can you avoid these types of attacks? Some of it is simply paying close attention to the actions you perform while online, but there are some useful measures to take to make absolutely certain your business is safe.

Here is a checklist for small business owners to ensure their safety:

Use a VPN

  • A VPN, or virtual private network, can be used to provide total security and anonymity while using the internet. Also, a VPN allows you to access work networks remotely and safely. Research VPNs wisely to ensure you are using a reputable service like NordVPN. You can read a full review here.

Secure your Wi-Fi networks

  • One of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to get ahold of private information is through an unsecured wireless connection. You need to ensure your workplace Wi-Fi is encrypted and well hidden. You can hide your Wi-Fi by setting up your router so that it does not broadcast your network name. Also, password protect the router.

Use passwords and authentication

  • It is important that you require your employees to maintain effective passwords that are update frequently. It is even more helpful if there is secondary authentication to ensure that the person entering the password is in fact the employee.

Ensure employees are trained in security

  • All employees should know the importance of digital security. To ensure that these employees take security seriously there should be consequences for breaking security protocol and company policy.

Provide firewall security

  • Firewalls are important to digital security as it keeps people outside of the network from accessing data that is on the network. Also ensure that any remote working employees are using a firewall on their system.

Keep machines clean

  • Keeping machines clean from viruses and malware by having updated security software, web browsers, and operating systems. Also, regularly scan machines for malware or viruses.

Personal device management

  • If employees use their personal devices to do work or discuss work, insist that those devices are password protected and treated with the same security awareness as the computers.

Have backups

  • All computers should be consistently backed up. Keeping vital documents backed up ensures quick corrections and repairs in the event of a cyber-attack.

Create user accounts

  • All devices should be accessed through password protected user accounts. This ensures that all activity can be monitored, and nefarious activity can be appropriately tracked.

Limit data access

  • No one employee should ever have access to all systems or information. Additionally, no important documents should be in control of one person. A trusted IT professional should be able to access any file in an event of a death or sudden loss of employee.

Additional Tips

There are hundreds of resources available for small businesses. Many of these resources are offered through the government and help you navigate cybersecurity.

Conclusion

It is a fantastic time to be a small business owner. With the wonders of the internet advertising, outreach, market research, and reducing overhead has never been easier.

There is no reason for the fear of security leaks and hacks to prevent you from succeeding in your small business endeavor. If you take the right steps and focus on security, there is nothing to worry about.

It all comes down to appropriate training, employees you can trust, and a little bit of regular upkeep. It’s a small price to pay for the comfort of knowing you, your employees, your customers, and your business are safe and secure.

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