Cybersecurity has become more important than ever as the number of cyber attacks increases each year.
Amidst the many other responsibilities of launching and growing a small business, many owners put cybersecurity on the back burner. But if you neglect cybersecurity, you could lose business records and revenue, and potentially could even reach bankruptcy.
Why cybersecurity is important
Because small businesses lack the security resources that larger businesses have, they can become major targets for hackers. And for many small business owners, their personal and business finances are intertwined—a significant additional vulnerability leaving your home and savings at risk.
Common scams and hacks to look out for
There are common scams that expose small business owners to security breaches.
Scammers often pretend to be someone from an organization you know, or even pretend to contact you on behalf of the government. Some of the most popular scams include:
1. Malware. Short for “malicious software,” malware refers to software that is designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or computer network.
- Viruses are harmful programs that can spread from one computer to another, allowing hackers access to your system and personal information.
- Ransomware is a specific type of malware that exploits vulnerabilities in a computer’s software and restricts access to a computer until a ransom is paid. This type of malware is usually delivered through phishing emails.
2. Phishing scams. Phishing is a type of online scam that targets users to give away their personal information, often by sending them an email that appears to be from a well-known or trusted source. Scammers try to obtain sensitive information (like account numbers, passwords, or your social security number) by pretending to be your bank, insurance company, or service provider.
How to prevent your business from getting hacked
Now that you know what to avoid, here are some steps you can take today to protect your business.
1. Train your employees to recognize scams.
It’s imperative that you teach your employees basic cybersecurity. Share resources with your employees on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams.
2. Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
Weak and unsecured passwords are easy ways for hackers to access sensitive information. Prevent this by setting up multi-factor authentication, which requires additional information to log in. This can include a security code sent to your phone or email to ensure that you are the person trying to log in.
3. Use antivirus software.
Your business computers and personal devices should all be equipped with antivirus and antispyware software. There are a variety of software vendors that update their products regularly to keep your computer as secure as possible.
4. Secure your network.
Safeguard your internet connection with firewalls and encryption. Hackers can access your information through unsecured wifi networks, so be sure to password-protect your router and hide your wifi network so others can’t see it.
5. Always be vigilant.
When it comes to suspicious activity, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. It’s better to take the extra time to build good cybersecurity practices than to deal with weeks or months of stress if you get hacked.
Ready to start protecting your business?
Watch our cybersecurity webinar to learn more about the topic and how you can beef up your small business cybersecurity. For more targeted help, RISBDC business counselors are available to help small businesses like yours take steps to improve their cybersecurity.