7 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Criminals

Cyber criminals commit crimes that are related to the Internet and sharing of data. In your business, you probably use the Internet at least for online transactions, running credit cards, ordering supplies, and using email. For these and other Internet-related tasks, you are at risk of cyber crimes. In order to protect your own and business and your customers that might also fall victim to such crimes, you should improve your security and data protection.

  1. Perform Regular Updates

Even if you had the best security features and most advanced operating system when you first started your business, that doesn’t mean you have the best now. Software is always changing, and you need to keep up with these changes. Make sure you scan your computer for updates regularly, and also check your current software or updates. Most software will inform you when an update is available, which makes the process much easier. You also want to upgrade to the latest version of the web browser you use.

  1. Protect Against Viruses and Spyware

In order to protect your computer against viruses, phishing and spyware attacks from cyber criminals, you need to have adequate protection. The most basic protection against such cyber attacks is with a firewall. All computer operating systems have firewalls, you just need to make sure it is turned on and active. There is also software that will prevent these attacks, and warn you if a website or email is suspicious.

  1. Use Encryption

The process of encryption is similar to password-protecting things on your computer, as it blocks access from other individuals. Cyber criminals that get past your firewall will go straight for your files, folders and drives. However, even if they can get to these files, they won’t be able to read what is inside if you have data encryption on your computer. You can also encrypt your wireless network, so that nobody outside of your employees is able to access your wireless network and the data that is sent over that network.

  1. Have Password Policies

Password policies are used for adequate protection in your business. You should require employees to change their passwords every few months, which includes passwords to get onto their computer and access the network on work computers. You can also have stricter requirements for choosing passwords. The last thing you want is an employee choosing a password like “ABCD” that is easy for anyone to guess. Make sure they use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

  1. Restrict Access

While your employees may not be purposely leaving the network open to cyber criminals, they can do this accidentally. One way to avoid this is by restricting certain websites that might not have proper security. Only allow employees to use proper websites that are needed for work functions. This can prevent cybercriminals from getting into your network system or causing a virus. Do not allow employees to check their personal email from your computer, browse the web unless it is with a restricted website, or use their own devices. If you allow them to use their devices, you also need to restrict access on your network with them.

  1. Set Administrative Rights

With your work computers, you can also set certain tasks to administrative personnel only. For example, you may not want to allow any software to be installed or uploaded onto the computers except by certain employees who have administrative access. The same goes for accessing certain files, or changing information on your computers.

  1. Disable USB Ports

If you don’t need the USB ports in your work computers, consider having them disabled. This prevents employees from using their USB drive to upload or view data on work computers. USB drives often don’t have proper security, and can put your business at risk.

In addition to these preventative measures, have a good cyber liability insurance policy. This protects your business from lawsuits and loss of assets from cyber crimes.