With the rate of online fraud, data theft, and cybercrime rising each year; 45% of small businesses were victimized by cyber attacks such as data breaches, hacks, and malware infections.
For start-up businesses focused on development and growth, hiring an advanced IT and data security solutions can be expensive. However, we’ve come up with ways on how small businesses can protect their data with good business records management and a small budget.
But before we go thru this list, you can check out this article on how records management will help you be more productive. Here are 7 ways on how small businesses can protect their data even on a tight budget:
Recognize the risk
Startups usually focus everything on marketing, accounting, increasing conversions, and funding without realizing the importance of cybersecurity. As most small business owners fail to address the concerns on security, the latest studies show that 70% of American businesses are in threat of cyber attacks.
Here are examples of what cyber attacks do to our businesses:
- Your business will face legal repercussions.
- Cyber attacks can result in significant financial loss.
- Small businesses will suffer from reputation damages.
Business owners often feel that their limited finances must be spent on other important things. However, when you recognize even the lowest risk of cyber attacks, you will be able to put up safeguards and protect yourself from basic and crude attacks.
Prevent BYOD explosion
It’s always important to lock down your data, especially nowadays that BYOD (bring your own device) explosions are rampant. These bombs are common in smaller businesses, where staffs use their smartphones, laptops, and tablets for business related tasks.
Business owners must secure mobile and network data to prevent the mix up of business and personal information when using mobile devices, as these can be easily attacked by hackers when mobile devices are connected to public and home networks.
While most businesses today don’t consider stopping BYOD as an option, it doesn’t mean you should follow them.
Security solutions can be as simple as the following:
- Encrypt work data
- Offsite storage
- Require personnel to lockdown mobile devices
- Remote wipeout facilities
Even though mobile data management solutions are on the far side of most small business’ budget, you can always educate your personnel about the risks and effects of poor data management; or create a written network control instruction for your them to follow.
Encrypt your data
Encryption is an important measure to consider when protecting your sensitive data. If an encrypted storage device used for your business is stolen, it will less likely pose a risk for your business.
There are plenty of encryption solutions available like cloud services and network encryption, do your research and get one that suits your data and business usage. Also, make sure that all sensitive online transactions are done using secure connections with SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
Although data encryption is controversial, keeping your most sensitive data encrypted is still far more secure compared to unencrypted data.
You should consider installing antivirus software, antivirus works together with your firewall to protect you from hackers, malicious software, and viruses. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing your antivirus provider; the best thing to do is compare and select the one that caters to your business needs.
Secure your WIFI
WIFI connections can be easily accessed by potential hackers, especially when using network access in your office. Prevent this by making sure your WIFI connection is encrypted, secured, and not visible to outsiders to hinder the easy access by hackers. Also require passwords for access and set up your router, so it doesn’t broadcast your network name.
Regularly update passwords
Yes, we all know that regularly updating passwords can be inconvenient, but it’s free and essential to keep your data secured. Experts say that you should update your passwords at least once every three months.=
Updating your password works best if you only use strong passwords with at least seven characters of mixed letters, symbols, and numbers. Never use information that is readily available to the public — birth dates, a name of an immediate family, or pets.
A modern-day insurance solution for cyber attacks, cyber insurance offers coverage for media liability, credit monitoring, crisis management, and business interruption. However, cyber insurance can be expensive with premiums ranging from $11,000 to $36,000 for a $1 million coverage.
As cyber attack numbers grow every day, small businesses must not disregard its threat. Use the tips above to help strengthen the cybersecurity of your business and prevent future financial loss.