Small businesses are at a disadvantage when it comes to cybercrime. About 60% of small businesses are hit by cybercrime each year, and the average cost of a cyber attack is about £75,000. This can be devastating for a small business.
They often don’t have the same resources as large businesses and are not always as savvy about online security. That’s why small business owners need to take some precautions to protect their data. Here are some tips for securing your business’s data online.
1. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
Most data breaches occur because of weak or stolen passwords. Make sure your passwords are strong and unique, and use two-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.
Your business’s passwords should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You can use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords. But whatever you do, don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. This is one of the most common mistakes people make and can be very dangerous.
2. Use secure cloud storage.
Now is the time to start if you’re not using cloud storage. Cloud storage is much more secure than keeping your data on a physical server. Even if your office were broken into, your data would still be safe in the cloud.
When choosing a provider, make sure to do your research. Not all of them are created equal. Some are much more secure than others. Private cloud hosting services tend to be safer than public ones because your data is stored on a remote server that only you have access to. They may be more expensive, but they’re worth it for the security they offer.
You can also encrypt your data before storing it in the cloud. This adds an extra layer of protection in case your provider’s security is breached. Some businesses choose to do this even if they’re not using the cloud, as it’s an extra layer of protection.
3. Educate your employees about cyber security.
Your employees are one of your most significant assets, but they can also be one of your most significant liabilities regarding security. Make sure they know online security well and the dangers of clicking on links or attachments from unknown sources.
It would be best if you also had strict policies about what they can and can’t do with company data. For example, they should only be able to access the data they need for their job and nothing more. And they should never share passwords or other sensitive information with anyone, not even family or friends.
Your employees also need to know what to do if they suspect a security breach. They should report it to you immediately so you can take action. Train them on spotting the signs of a breach, such as unusual activity on their account or strange emails from unknown people.
4. Keep your software up to date.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your data is to keep your software up to date. This includes your operating system and any programs and plugins you’re using.
Outdated software is one of the most common ways hackers gain access to systems. They exploit known vulnerabilities that have been patched in newer versions of the software. Some even automate the process to target as many systems as possible.
That’s why installing updates as soon as they’re available is critical. This can be a challenge, especially if you have a lot of employees. But there are ways to automate the process, so you don’t have to do it manually. Check the settings in your software and see if there’s an option to install updates automatically.
5. Use a VPN.
A VPN (virtual private network) is a great way to protect your data while you’re using public Wi-Fi. It encrypts all the data between your local device and the server, making it virtually impossible for anyone to eavesdrop on your connection. There are a lot of VPN providers out there, so make sure to do your research before choosing one.
You can also use a VPN to access geo-blocked content, such as websites and streaming services. This can be handy if you’re travelling and want to work on your business’s website from a different country. You can connect to a VPN server in your home country and access the website as if you were there.
These are just a few things you can do to secure your small business’s data online. Taking these precautions can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach. And if one does occur, you’ll be in a much better position to deal with it. Always remember that security is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Stay vigilant and keep your business safe.