Reports of security breaches and other forms of cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly common. And these attacks are not just targeted at large companies; small businesses are being attacked more frequently due to their lack of anti-theft infrastructure.
A recent report by the Ponemon Institute revealed that over 60 percent of small businesses in the United States were victims of cyber-attacks during the past year. The report further went on to state that there was a 50 percent increase in year to year cyber-attacks on U.S businesses.
In light with those findings, Forbes recently published an article revealing that small businesses in the U.S will have lost up to $2 trillion by 2019 due to cyber-crime. Another report revealed that the average cost of a cyber-attack on a small business is around $80,000 per year. As a small business owner, the topic of cyber security may not be one that you are well-versed at, however, the reality is that it is going to cost your business a lot of money, or even run it to the ground if measures are not taken. Any business that has an online presence is vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
The attacks usually target financial or business data, as well as information about your customers. The kind of things that the attacker can do with that data is limited by their information. One thing is for sure; it will cost you money and damage your brand especially if they get your customers’ information such as credit card information, bank account data, and personal identity information. To avoid this, you should invest in cyber security for small business. In the meantime, the following tips should help reduce the risk of an attack.
1. Do Not Store Data You Have No Immediate Use For
A business typically collects customer information on a daily basis. The more data you collect, the higher your cyber-security liability. Thus, limit the data you store to that which your business needs.
2. Protect That Which You Must Keep
If you must store sensitive data such as customer credit card or bank account information, utilize two-factor authentication procedures to add an extra layer of protection. Moreover, establish data protection procedures in your business where employees can only access the data that they need for their job, and nothing more. Additionally, look into installing a premium-grade firewall that will defend your network and devices from different kinds of cyber-attacks.
Also, look into how you can encrypt your data so that, even if the attacker somehow reaches that information, there is little that they can do with it. A multi-layered approach to data protection is what you need to deter attackers.
3. Educate Your Staff
Even after employing stellar data protection strategies, human error can make it possible for a cyber-attack to occur. You, therefore, need to educate your employees on the importance of data protection, so they are less likely to make those mistakes. Moreover, show them the procedures in place to protect the business’s data, how to identify the signs of a breach, and the steps to take in case of an attack. The more access that an employee has to that data, the more responsibility they will bear in case it is breached due to their carelessness. This will ensure that the whole team is on the same page regarding data protection.Cyber-security is an issue of growing concern as more and more businesses go online to raise their chances of success. Cyber-criminals are always looking for the easiest victims, and unfortunately, small businesses are tempting prospects due to their lackluster data security. Avoid this by investing in cyber security for small business.