by Marie Fincher, blogger

While most high-profile victims of cyber threats have mostly been large corporations – nowadays small businesses and even individual entrepreneurs cannot feel completely safe. Small business owners claim, that they faced more direct hacker attacks than the year before and that they became more severe.

Why small businesses?
Some people wonder why hackers are so into the idea of breaking into the security of small firms. The answer is simple – they have more finances than ordinary people do and less cyber protection than large corporations do. All that together makes them a perfect victim. Most small business owners underestimate the threat they are under and do not pay enough attention to cyber protection of their resources.

1. Work on your passwords

This is probably the first and easiest thing to do. Of course, this probably will not keep away a professional hacker, but it might be one of the bricks or your wall of the cyber protection. Just make sure that all your employees are using complex passwords as well.

2. Minimize the number of attempts for password entering
No matter how long and complex your password is – sooner or later this program will be able to crack it open. So make it 3-4 attempts for entering your password. In combination with the previous step, it might actually give you good results.

3. ‘Password manager’
This tool allows you to keep all your passwords saved on your computer so you will not have to enter them all over again each time. Convenient, isn’t it? But think about this – if your computer gets hacked, the thief will get access to ALL your passwords. Every single account that you ever log in to. So maybe it is better to keep them in your head or even written down somewhere? Sometimes old methods like this one actually work. Just do not forget to hide the paper as well.

4. Be careful with back up copies

Sometimes there is a need to make a back up copy for your files. Most people choose cloud storage that are highly popular nowadays. This is quite convenient for businesses with lots of employees. But sending confidential files to a remote storage might affect your security level. So before you actually send them elsewhere, make sure that you encrypt them or put an additional password on each file.

5. Update your software
Do not ignore those little pop-up messages that are telling you that your software is out of date and needs updating. New versions often carry additional safety features, making sure that your data will be protected from hacker attacks. In addition – pay attention to your software provider, choose only those who are trustworthy and have a big client base. And do not neglect using antivirus and carry out regular checkups every month or so.

7. Employee education
Not everyone is aware of cyber threats nowadays. And for those your employees, who might have some gaps in their cyber education – it would be great if you could teach them. It is better to spend some money on educating your employees than become a victim of cyber-attack later.
You could also create some sort of a manual for your employees, that would explain them the basics and also instruct them what to do in crisis situations.

8. Firewall investment

There are lots of options for those who want to protect their small business from cyber-attacks. Today, a firewall is presented in a form of soft- or hardware, depending on customers’ needs. If you want to protect just one single computer, you might as well use a software firewall and install it on the device. But if you have a small company with numerous employees you will eventually have to think about buying a hardware firewall.
If you integrate your firewall with a security device, you can actually get great results for your small business. You can get all your e-mails and voice messages protected from hacker attacks, the firewall will constantly adapt to your needs. Another great feature that you can get is controlled access to the resources of your company. This way you can even be the only one who grants access and the level of it.

Cybersecurity is not something you can or should neglect – it can lead to really bad consequences. These days it is one of the biggest challenges we are facing. So if you want your small business to thrive and stay protected from hackers – pay attention to this problem.

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