In conjunction with National Cyber Awareness Month in October 2012, The National Cyber Security Alliance released the findings of the 2012 Symantec National Small Business Study. The results show that small businesses have a long way to go when it comes to protecting themselves from the threat poor cyber security poses. Of the nearly 1,000 small business owners surveyed, a staggering 85 percent of them believed that small businesses were less of a target for cybercrimes than larger companies and corporations.
It is this assumption that they are less viable targets that perhaps accounts for the fact that 65 percent of them store customer data on their computer systems, 43 percent store financial records, 33 percent store credit card information and 75 percent of them have offered employees less than three hours of training about security on network and mobile devices in the past year. It is now time to protect your small business from cyber threats and these tips will help you do that.
Educate your Employees
Employees are often the greatest threat to your business when it comes to cyber security. It isn’t necessarily maliciousness on their part; most of the time it’s simply a matter of ignorance. They do not know what they need to do to help keep your interests protected. Even if they have a vague idea, they often don’t realize how important it is. Increase awareness through training and by changing company policy to reflect the new safety protocols that are necessary.
Backup Data Regularly and Securely
The ultimate way to go is by using off-site backup facilities. Not only does this help remove unnecessary data and information from your computers and servers, but most data backup services have impressive security protocols in place to protect your information. It’s not just a matter of getting the information off your company computers, but also having a restore point to turn to if the worst does happen.
Of course, off-site backups are only good if you’re using them regularly, well, and often. You should also test the backup system periodically to make sure that you know how to use it and that it is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.
Cyber Liability Insurance
No matter how carefully you prepare, sometimes the unexpected happens. At times like this, you need to be certain you have adequate insurance, including essential cyber liability insurance, to cover the liability issues that you’ll face
if information you’d been trusted with gets out into the dark recesses of cyber space. You need to protect yourself and your business from the liability that poses.
Practice Positive Password Management
Finally, the simplest solutions often provide the best protection. Utilize passwords wisely and follow best practices on password protection. Educate your employees on how to properly pick passwords and change them frequently. Keeping passwords up-to-date is your first line of defense against cyber threats of all kinds.
The bottom line is that your small business can’t afford not to take cyber threats seriously. Too much is at risk in the information age to fail to guard against these kinds of attacks and the damage they can do for your business. The steps above will certainly help protect your business from the worst potential damage.