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Top Ten Cyber Security Tips For Small Businesses

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Every business, large or small, is vulnerable to a cyber attack. Those attacks can be malicious virus that infects a computer network by slowing down operations. In extreme cases, a cyber attack can come as a ransomware attack. When a ransomware attack occurs, your computer data is “held hostage.” Unless you pay a ransom, you can’t get your data back.  Cyber attacks occur at Fortune 500 companies with sophisticated security and small businesses with limited protection. Schools, hospitals, churches, and local governments have all been the target of cyber attacks. Does this mean we need to avoid the Internet? No, but it does mean being proactive with your company’s cyber security. These cyber security tips can help fortify the defenses of your company’s computer network.

Cyber Security Tip #1: Educate the Staff

If a cyber attack infects your company’s computer network, it is a safe bet that the virus will come from an unsuspecting staff member. One of the most vulnerable areas for a cyber attack is email. Your staff could open a fraudulent email that deploys the virus. Typically, that virus will activate only by clicking a link or downloading a file within that bogus email. However, the threat is real and a simple deletion will not reverse it.

One of the most critical cyber security tips to share with your staff is learning to spot suspicious emails. Those emails can contain the following threats:
  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Ransomware
  • Spyware
  • Phishing
An infected email will often ask for “urgent action.” You can also look out for spelling mistakes and bad grammar. It also helps to pay attention to the sender’s email address. If it doesn’t look legitimate, it probably isn’t.
It is equally essential that they have a strong password. Your staff is your first line of defense against a cyber attack. The more informed they are, the more protection your company will have.

Tip #2: Secure the Computer Network

How strong is your computer network firewall? A firewall is like a virtual defense shield that blocks attacks from external forces. That firewall needs to surround your company’s Wi-Fi network to ensure it remains hidden. You can set up your Wi-Fi network with a Service Set Identifier (SSID) to shield the network’s name. Password protection for your router is also recommended.
The same protection you provide for your office firewall must extend to your employees’ homes. Remote work is standard. However, you don’t want that remote work to be vulnerable. Ask your employees about their Wi-Fi protections. Who has access to their network? Have they ever detected a neighbor “borrowing” the Wi-Fi? All the data can be at risk if a home network is vulnerable.
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Tip #3: Deploy Antivirus Software

There are around 560,000 malware viruses detected every day. The best defense against those viruses is antivirus software. You can access antivirus software from several vendors. You might already have that kind of software installed on your computer.
It would be best if you kept that software up to date. Whenever an antivirus company detects a new virus, they upgrade their software. It would help if you also retrieve any metrics from the antivirus program to determine how often a potential virus shows up. That will give you a better understanding of how important cyber security is for your company.

Tip #4: Backup Data

Data is “gold” to a company. That is why you need to protect the data at all costs. Data loss can happen in any of the following scenarios:
  • Stolen laptop
  • Accidental deletion
  • Power failure
  • Damage to computer
  • Hard drive crash
One of the most critical cyber security tips for your company to embrace is regular data backups. You can set up these backups to occur automatically each day. That data should be backed up to the cloud, where you can retrieve it in case of a cyber breach. You won’t have to pay a ransom if you can access your data.

Tip #5: Secure Customer Payment Processing

If your business involves online shopping, you want your customers to feel safe when making their purchases. A customer that has their personal information stolen from your company will do business elsewhere.
You can work with your banks and credit card processors to ensure all the latest anti-fraud services are active. That is information to share with your customers so they can shop with confidence.
It will also help to isolate your payment systems. Those systems should be separate from your staff’s Internet browsing systems. Again, an IT network professional can help set up those distinct systems.

Tip #6: Guard Against Stolen Devices

Cyber security tips are not just for software. You also have to safeguard your company’s devices. For example, a stolen laptop can provide crook access to all your data and passwords. Therefore, it would be best if you consider a security surveillance system at your workplace. You should also limit access to messengers and food delivery people. Not everyone needs to roam freely in your office.
Your staff needs to be diligent about what they store on the company computers and personal devices. Does that information need to be on a computer, or can they access it from the cloud when needed?
It will help to place trackers on all company laptops, PCs, and cell phones. Additionally, you could set up a remote wiping program to erase all the data on a stolen device. That is another good reason for backups!
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Tip #7: Run a Risk Assessment

The best way to determine if your computer network is secure is to run a risk assessment. Many antivirus programs can run that assessment. You can also benefit from hiring an outside cybersecurity firm to conduct the assessment.
A risk assessment should happen every quarter. You don’t ever want to let down your guard with cyber security. Identifying the vulnerable areas in your computer network can help you find the appropriate protection measures.

Tip #8: Limit Access

Not every member of your staff needs access to all your data. It would help if you distinguished which employees need access to specific data. There should also be a limit on any software installations or downloads. Employees might think they are being helpful. However, those installations should only happen with permission and after careful vetting of the program.

Tip #9: Create User Accounts

User accounts on your computer network prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing the network. Each employee should have a user account with a strong password. If you need to allow IT technicians into the network, they should be trusted vendors. Do not grant administration privileges to someone you don’t trust.
In addition to user accounts, you can also set up multi-factor authentication (MFA). This provides an extra security step beyond the login name and password. An MFA can be a pin or text code. It can also involve facial recognition or fingerprints.
This might seem excessive but consider the alternative. It only takes one hack or breach to compromise your entire company’s network. There is also the issue of brand identity. Cyber attacks can make a company seem less trustworthy. That is not something you want for your company’s brand.
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Tip #10: Secure Staff Mobile Devices

Nowadays, a lot of work gets done on mobile devices outside of the office space. Those devices require added security to protect company data. Employees should have password protection on their devices along with security apps. Those apps can prevent hackers from accessing the devices while on public networks.
You can set up those protections if you issue cell phones for company business. However, if your staff uses personal devices, you must provide them with those protections. Please do not leave anything to chance when it comes to cyber security.
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ONIT Home Security Support

Being proactive with your company’s cyber security can extend to your home’s cyber security. ONIT Home offers a wide range of home security systems, from video surveillance to break-in detection. These systems provide monitoring capabilities that can be accessed from your smartphone anytime and anywhere. There are also professional monitoring plans that offer around-the-clock protection at low monthly rates. Be sure to write down these cybersecurity tips!
These systems are customized to match the needs and budget of each homeowner. Visit ONIT Home’s website to learn more about their home security solutions and request a quote. Keeping the family and property safe should be the priority of every homeowner. Give us a call today at 1-833-433-0331 to get started.
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