In today’s digital age, nearly all businesses rely on technology to keep things running smoothly. But as our dependence on technology has grown, so has the risk of cyberattacks. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to attack, as they often lack the resources to protect themselves properly. But there are steps that all businesses can take to reduce their risk of being hacked. Here are five of them.
1. Use Strong Passwords and Password Management Tools
One of the simplest things you can do to protect your business is to use strong passwords for all your accounts and to use a password manager to keep track of them. Password managers make it easy to create and store strong, unique passwords for all your accounts, so you don’t have to remember them all yourself.
Never use the same password for more than one account, and make sure to change your passwords regularly. You should also use two-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code from your phone or another device in addition to your password when logging in.
2. Keep Your Software Up to Date
One of the most common ways hackers gain access to systems is by exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated software. That’s why it’s important to keep all your software up to date, including your operating system, web browser, plugins, and any applications you use.
Most software updates include security fixes for known vulnerabilities, so it’s important to install them as soon as they’re available. You can usually set your software to update automatically, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.
If you can’t update your software for some reason, make sure to install any available security patches. You can usually find these on the developer’s website or through a search engine. Just be careful not to download anything from an untrustworthy source, as it could be malware masquerading as a security patch.
3. Outsource Cybersecurity to a Managed Service Provider
While 71% of small businesses outsource their tax preparation, only a few outsource their cybersecurity. Yet managed service providers (MSPs) can offer small businesses the same level of protection as larger enterprises at a fraction of the cost.
An MSP will proactively monitor your network for threats and respond to them quickly if they’re detected. They can also help you implement the other security measures on this list, and they’ll have the resources to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and how to protect against them. However, don’t just go with the first MSP you find – do your research and get recommendations from other small business owners before deciding.
4. Educate Your Employees About Cybersecurity
Your employees are one of your most important lines of defense against cyberattacks. But they can also be one of your biggest vulnerabilities if they’re not properly educated about cybersecurity.
Ensure all your employees know how to spot a phishing email and what to do if they receive one. They should also know not to click on links or attachments from unknown sources and to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive tasks. You should also have a policy in place for how to deal with data breaches and make sure all your employees are familiar with it. This way, you can limit the damage if an attack does occur.
5. Learn About the Most Common Threats in Your Industry
Pawnshops are a convenient way for many people to get cash when they need it. It’s estimated that 30 million individuals visit pawnshops each year and use their belongings as collateral to obtain loans.
This makes pawnshops a prime target for cybercriminals looking to steal personal information, including names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. In fact, Pawn America was a victim of just such an attack in 2021, when hackers gained access to the information of over 500,000 customers. By understanding the types of attacks that are most common in your industry, you can better protect your business from them.
Approximately 60% of small businesses that suffer cyberattacks fail within six months, so it’s important to take steps to protect your business. Following the tips in this article, not only will it help keep your small business safe and secure, but it will also make your life easier.