Articles

How To Protect Your Company From Cyber Threats on a Small Business Budget

Your company is not too small to be targeted by cyber attackers. In fact, it may be the perfect size.

Forty-three percent of hacks target small businesses. That’s huge, and yet we rarely hear anything about mom and pop shops on the news. Cybersecurity coverage tends to focus on large retailers like Target or Amazon.   

It’s a shame, too. Lack of coverage gives small business owners a false sense of security by making them feel invisible to hackers. They’re not. In fact, their lack of preparation makes them an easy target for hackers, and sadly, small businesses don’t have the resources of large corporations to bounce back from an attack.

What are hackers hoping to get from small businesses?

Short answer: money and personal information. On the money side, ransomware is a growing threat to businesses of all sizes. Often activated when someone clicks a link in a phishing scam email, ransomware will encrypt your computer’s files and demand payment of a few hundred to thousands of dollars if you want your files back. Personal information is a hot commodity that’s bought and sold on the black market so that stolen identities can be used to open bank accounts, make purchases, etc.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

Make your team accountable for following best practices

Hackers use social engineering tactics to gain access to a company’s networks. A link in a professional looking email can spread a virus that takes down your small business’s system or holds your system ransom. An employee may be fooled into sending a payment to someone masquerading as a client. Simply training your employees to follow certain best practices can limit unauthorized access to your business.

These best practices include:

Quote

According to the Small Business Trends cyber security report, of the small businesses that experienced an attack, 48% report that a negligent employee or contractor was the root cause of the attack.

Quote

1. Outlining a company policy on data security

According to the Small Business Trends cyber security report, of the small businesses that experienced an attack, 48% report that a negligent employee or contractor was the root cause of the attack.

It’s up to you to provide employees with a policy on the sharing and distribution of company information. Regularly review and update these practices (a period, quick Google search of ‘small business cyber security risks’ will reveal the latest scams and trends in security) and make it clear to employees that they will be held accountable if they don’t adhere to these guidelines. If you do not have the resources to come up with a comprehensive plan, create a brief guide that outlines who can access specific company data and who that information can be shared with.

2. Training your employees on online safety

You can either limit the amount of online surfing on company computers (which is often done by subscribing to an antivirus program with restriction capabilities) or introduce employees to best practices when browsing online. Teach your team how to recognize suspicious URLs and flag phishing emails, and emphasize the importance of choosing smart passwords and protecting them.

While this may sound bush league, it can go a long way towards protecting you. According to cyber security experts, small businesses are so attractive to hackers because they often don’t implement basic cybersecurity best practices, making them an easy choice.

3. Keeping your antivirus software updated

Don’t slack off when it comes to antivirus software updates. Cybersecurity is a game of back and forth. One iteration of antivirus software won’t work forever, so it’s important to install these updates as soon as they are pushed out to keep your company protected.

There’s a reason your antivirus company urges you to install updates as soon as possible: They’ve noticed a vulnerability and a hacker may take advantage of it any day.

Quote

There’s a reason your antivirus company urges you to install updates as soon as possible: They’ve noticed a vulnerability and a hacker may take advantage of it any day.

Quote

4. Regularly backing up your data

As the saying goes, ‘two is one and one is none.’ If you don’t backup your data, you’re at the mercy of the machine it’s saved on. Small businesses often have no choice but to pay up after a ransomware attack. If you backed up your files the night before on a hard drive, you can simply restore them and save yourself the financial headache of paying the ransom.

Even better, look to cloud softwares like Jobber, that store your information on dozens of super secure servers, not on a computer or hard drive which are both vulnerable to security threats, and plain old water spills!

5. Purchasing cybersecurity insurance

The impact of a breach can be devastating. You may not have the money to pay up after a ransomware attack or the expense may critically hurt your business. If you store credit card numbers or personal information, you’ll have to spend money notifying affected customers and setting up credit monitoring. Then there’s the even bigger headache of potential legal action. Exploring your insurance options can help provide you with some peace of mind.

Cybersecurity tips for service providers with a bring your own device policy

Excuse the cliché, but with great freedom comes great responsibility. Many workplaces now offer employees the option of using their own devices, like their laptop or smartphone. You may have this bring-your-own-device policy at your own company where employees can use their smartphone to schedule appointments or bill customers.

The problem with this is that these devices with privileged access to your networks can compromise your systems. To protect your company, here are a few bring your own device security steps you should consider taking:

  • Provide employees with a blacklist of apps they can’t use on their device
  • Provide a security policy that outlines employee responsibilities while carrying out company business on their device (e.g., phones and computers with access sensitive information should be password protected)
  • Make sure every device has updated security features

Cyberattacks are a scary thought, but like any other danger they require preparation and vigilance. As more and more of our work and lives moves online, looking out for our virtual worlds will be an even bigger priority. Protect your livelihood and that of your employees by investing time and energy into your small business’s cybersecurity.

Topics:

Tags:

Solid advice delivered to your inbox

We’ll send you emails with our latest and greatest posts—and some fun extras. #noblogspam

Sent!

Supported by Jobber

Jobber software is the backbone of your business operations. Quote, schedule, invoice, and get paid—faster.

Free Trial Visit Jobber

Jobber Copyright 2019
  |   Privacy   |   Terms