5 Cybersecurity Tips Every Small Businesses Should Follow
Every small business owner, regardless of whatever industry they serve, should know how important an innovative network infrastructure design can be to keeping your business operations safe and secure. Establishing a secure and stable network will not only ensure optimal performance for all your telecommunications equipment and resources, but will also work toward protecting your company from one of the most emerging threats in recent years: cyber-crime.
What allows cyber-criminals to thrive is the simple fact that most small business owners fail to understand how vulnerable they are to a potential hacking or malware upload. While it’s easy to assume that no cyber-criminals would want anything to do with your business operations, the last thing you want to experience is dealing with the aftermath of a disabled network infrastructure, total system failure, or leaking of sensitive and private information.
That’s why every small business owner needs to understand the importance of practicing proper cybersecurity precautions, to ensure they never have to deal with any worst-case virtual scenarios. Your company’s data and network are essential to preserving your integrity and performance, which is why knowing the best cybersecurity practices will always pay off in the long run. To keep your company’s network infrastructure as safe and secure as possible, be sure to follow these five cybersecurity tips to protect your small business from digital catastrophe.
1) Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
There’s a reason you see so many notifications that your antivirus software needs an update. Hackers and malware are constantly finding ways to infiltrate computer security programs and applications, and failing to always install or download the latest version of your anti-malware software will only leave you more susceptible to digital disaster. As a general rule of thumb, you should be checking to see if you need to install any software, patches, or operating system updates at least once a week.
2) Protect Your Passwords
A lackadaisical approach to creating and maintaining a password is one of the most common examples of inefficient cybersecurity. Take a look at some of these statistics that highlight just how careless most of us are when it comes to computer password protocol:
- 24% of Americans use passwords as simple as “password,” “Qwerty,” or “123456” (The password “123456” is estimated to be used by more than 23 million Americans)
- 67% of Americans use the same password for multiple online accounts
- 53% of people depend on their memory to remember their computer passwords
- Compromised credentials and passwords account for 61% of security breaches and malicious computer attacks
- 40% of people have either had their identities hacked, passwords compromised, or sensitive digital information breached due to having duplicate or outdated passwords
The bottom line is that the stronger your passwords are for accessing your company’s network, the more protected you are against malware or hacking. Here’s a quick checklist of what you should incorporate with any business-related (or personal, for that matter) computer passwords:
- Try to create a password that is at least 10 characters long and includes numbers and symbols, as well as mixes it up between uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Use a different password for every account you have.
- Take advantage of password manager applications for securely saving all your passwords.
- Change up your passwords at least once a year, and be sure to check out password comprising resources such as Mozilla's Firefox Monitor or Google's Password Checkup to check if any of your passwords have been compromised.
3) Always Back-up and Encrypt Your Data
If you or your operating system isn’t backing up your data on a regular basis, you need to change that immediately. Backing up your data at least once a week, if not every 24 hours, is just as much common sense as it is preventing any compromisable data. If you’re storing your data on just one device or platform, what happens if that device short circuits or that platform crashes?
From external drives, to cloud-based storage options, to even physical copies of your records, there are multiple ways you can assure your data and information is safe in the event that any complications should arise. As for data encryption, consider that to be the cherry on top of a cybersecurity sundae, as if your data is compromised, hackers will have to go through extraordinary lengths to decipher any encrypted files.
4) Business Computers = Business Usage Only
This should go without saying, but the more you use your company computers, applications, or devices for personal purposes, the more susceptible you are to a potential security breach. This should not only apply to you personally, but for every employee in your business that utilizes company-owned computers, devices, or any equipment that connects to the internet. Making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to computer-usage protocol will go great lengths toward ensuring optimal cybersecurity.
5) Prepare for the Worst
When a cyber-disaster strikes, perhaps the worst thing about it is not having any clue of what to do in the event of a cybersecurity breach. That’s why every company, big or small, should come up with an incident response plan in the event of experiencing a cyber attack.
Incident response plans can include everything from knowing which emergency contacts to get ahold of when dealing in the aftermath of a data breach, knowing where your data, files, or other sensitive information is being backed up and knowing how to notify any customers or clients that may have had their data or information compromised. You and your team should also document and record any cyber attack fallout that could be utilized for legal purposes in the future. The more aware you and your coworkers are of what to do in a worse-case digital scenario, the more prepared you’ll be if it ever comes to fruition.
Custom Telecommunications Solutions From Telecom Tech
Cybersecurity is an issue that no business should ever take lightly. At Telecom Technologies, our goal is to work with all of our clients on a case-by-case basis, assessing their specific security or telecommunication needs, and delivering them exceptional results. For more information on all of our telecommunication services, be sure to contact us online to get in touch with one of our cybersecurity specialists!