Many small business owners mistakenly believe they could never be victims of cyber security threats. The reality, however, is that small businesses are actually easier targets for hackers than major corporations. That’s why it’s even more important for your small business to protect your data and know how to recover if you are ever targeted.

Security Basics

Any large company will have basic measures in place to protect their data, and as a small business, you should do the same thing. According to USA Today, the two security steps any company should take include: (1) making sure all computers and mobile devices have security software installed and (2) setting up a remote computer backup system. Security software is an absolute must for protection against malicious attacks, and having a backup system gives you the best chance of being able to recover data in the event of a loss.

Know What You’re Up Against

Cyber attacks come in many forms, and hackers today are better than ever. Not only are hackers more advanced, but they aren’t the only threat. The risk of a data breach can come from past employees who have sensitive information and even current employees who fall prey to phishing scams. This is why basic security measures are a good start, but they aren’t enough.

According to Inc., only about 5 percent of small business security threats come from malware and viruses, with the other 95 percent coming from social engineering. The primary problem with social engineering attacks is that they target people, not just computers. Common social engineering attacks, such as phishing emails, are designed to tap into a person’s emotions in an attempt to gain confidential information. They may use tactics that make an email seem urgent, increasing the likelihood that the recipient will click or download the malicious link. Sometimes these emails even seem to come from legitimate companies, making them even trickier to spot.

For small business owners and managers, your best defense is to become familiar with these dangers and train employees on how to avoid them. Make sure employees are trained on how to recognize a scam – requests for sensitive information, typos, and suspicious links are all telltale signs that an email is malicious. Along with training, set a policy that any employee should notify key personnel if they receive an email that seems suspicious. Most importantly, they should never click suspicious links because that is how ransomware and viruses get access to your data.

Stay Vigilant

Protecting your company’s data is an ongoing process. Educate yourself on current scams that target businesses, and continually update employees on what to watch out for. One simple way to reduce the risk of a data breach is to establish a password and security policy for all employees. You can also put into place extra security measures, such as email authentication technology, which makes it harder for hackers to impersonate someone from your company through phishing emails.

Create a Response Plan

Using all of these strategies to prevent data loss is a necessity for any small business, but the reality is that security breaches happen, even when you’ve done everything right. You need a response plan so you’re in the best position to handle any incident. It doesn’t pay to rush into action following a data breach, and hasty decisions may jeopardize your data and your customer base. A solid plan will include how to stop damage, as well as an investigation into what went wrong (and how you can prevent this happening in the future). You also want to keep communication open – with employees, customers, and anyone else who may be affected.

Taking the time to put these plans and strategies into place isn’t always easy for a small business. You already have a lot on your plate, and you likely don’t have the same resources of a bigger company. But even if it takes a little extra time and money, the nature of being a small business is exactly why you need a cyber security plan. Making the right plans now will reduce your risk and protect your company’s future.

Not sure where to start? TekStop offers comprehensive solutions to protect your technologynow and recover in the event of a disaster. We offer antivirus, data backup and recovery, and maintenance solutions that fit your unique needs. Give us a call today to schedule your technology consultation.

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