The Best Cybersecurity Practices for Your Small Business
If you’re a small business owner, you probably have a fair bit on your plate. Most small business owners have to deal with several issues throughout the day, making it easy to get distracted from the big picture: generating profit.
Although many small business owners are used to appeasing customers and mediating employee disputes, not everyone knows how to deal with cybercrime.
Even though cyber-attackers tend to focus on large corporations and government organizations, small businesses are also at risk of getting targeted. This is because many small businesses have basic or sub-par cybersecurity protection.
Getting targeted by a cyber-attacker can cost your business much more than you’d initially think. A study from 2018 states that small businesses that get targeted by cyber-attackers experience a loss in:
- Customer base
If you’d like to protect your business from hackers, you should consider implementing the following cybersecurity practices. Doing this will help you and your employees stay a step ahead of cyber-attackers.
Download Antivirus Software
For those that don’t know, malicious software (malware) is a term that describes software that infects or compromises your device. Some common examples of malware include:
- Phishing scams
- Watering holes
Each type of malware affects your device differently, making it tough to identify and remove (especially once it has become established).
That’s why one of the first things you should do is download a trusted antivirus program from a well-known source.
Modern antivirus software automatically scans your computer and tracks down malware, allowing you to protect your computer from cyberthreats before they become a problem.
This proactive approach to cybersecurity allows you and your employees to safely deal with any issues that may arise in the future.
Use a VPN
Does your business deal with a significant amount of confidential data? If so, you should use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs act as a private server, allowing you to use the internet anonymously and safely.
You may be asking yourself, “How do VPNs work?”. Simply put, VPNs encrypt all the data that goes in or out of your device by changing your geolocation and IP address. This makes it practically impossible for hackers to identify your online activity.
VPNs are particularly useful if your business relies on public WiFi (as these networks are generally less secure).
Safe Passwords Practices
If you and your employees have your own sets of business emails or accounts, you should take the time to review and implement the following safe password practices.
The Longer, the Better
You and your employees should aim to use at least 10 characters in your password. If possible, you should also integrate capital letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.
Don’t Use the Same Password for Each Account
Using a variety of passwords is like having a safe with several locks on it in the sense that it’s more challenging to open. The hacker needs to by-pass more obstacles, making the process exceedingly tricky and time-consuming.
In contrast, using the same password for each account is like giving a cyber-attacker the master key to your business.
After reading the tips listed above, you now have a general idea of how you can protect your small business from cyberthreats.
JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.