139 South 3rd Street, Suite A, Coshocton, Ohio, 43812

10 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you rely on technology to run your business effectively. You many use it to process credit card information, manage customer relationships, or operate machinery. That’s why it’s essential to follow cybersecurity good practices to protect your business and customers. Here are some tips to help you stay safe in the digital world.

#1 Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Software

When you use official Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software from respected providers like MalwareBytes and Webroot, you are protecting your computers and network from malicious viruses, spyware and Trojan horses. These computer infections can cause problems like hacking, data breaches, and deletion of files. You should ALWAYS run software updates to ensure your software can do its job effectively. Out-of-date software may not be able to fight new viruses. Paid protection also ensures that you have the latest ‘definitions’ of viruses/malware (free options are typically 72 hours to 2 weeks behind), and this is important considering 200,000 new viruses are invented every day, causing most of their damage within the first 48 hours.

#2 Control Access to Computers, Mobile Devices and Networks

Each employee should have a unique username and password. Any time a computer, mobile phone, or iPad is left unattended, it should be locked. Only key staff, like IT administrators, should have administrative access and control over your computer network.

#3 Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks

When you installed your Wi-Fi network, did you change the password? If not, consider changing it from the default for added security. Additionally, if you provide public access to your Wi-Fi network, make sure it is setup in a way that prevents guest users from accessing your private business network, and that you regularly remove past connections. Sharing your password with guests? Consider having a secure guest Wi-Fi, or manually remove that customer from your allowed devices list after they leave.

#4 Develop a Mobile Device Policy

Many businesses not only rely on computers, but mobile phones, to conduct business. They’re convenient and can be used on-the-go to get work done and stay connected. However, they’ve also introduced a new level of potential security risks because of their mobility. Make sure phones have lock screens to prevent anyone from accessing the phone and apps. Also, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to securely provide access to your businesses network. This is particularly important for employees who use their phones to access confidential information. Don’t forget to run system and app updates on phones too!

#5 Use Strong Passwords and Authentications

Computer systems and devices often contain highly confidential information, from personal client details, to proprietary product information. Avoid using simple passwords like “password” and never leave your username and password written down near your computer. Instead, opt for passwords that contain random letters or words. If you want extra security, you can invest in a password manager that generates completely random secure passwords and requires a code/fingerprint/face scan to access them.

#6 Back Up Your Data

Do you have your data safely stored in case it is wiped from a computer, or a device fails to function? If not, consider implementing a back-up system immediately. This will prevent a lot of frustration for you should something go wrong. Back-up systems can be physical (using an external hard drive), or in the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox or others). Some providers also offer free data insurance for additional peace of mind.

#7 Ensure You’ve Got Secure Payment Processing

Many customers worry about the security of their personal and banking details, especially with the number of high profile data breach cases in the news. Pick a bank or data processor who uses highly trusted tools and quality anti-fraud services. Keep your payment systems separate from other systems too, to avoid breaches from other compromised machines on your network. Taking online payments? Make sure your website is secure. The same way your physical computers should be.

#8 Train Your Employees to Follow Cybersecurity Best Practices

Your employees use technology each day as part of their job. When you take on new hires, include cybersecurity training. Additionally, when you update security procedures, don’t forget to train all staff on these important changes. One mistake by a single employee can cause network-wide problems, so its vital all team members understand and follow best practices. 

#9 Use a Firewall for Internet Connections

Firewalls stop intruders from accessing data on your private network. If employees work from home, their home systems should utilize a firewall too. Firewalls are usually included even on the most basic of business routers and on many domestic routers. Want extra security? VPN’s provide a secure data tunnel that is almost entirely impregnable.

#10 Run Computer Updates

Many computer users ignore updates, or forget to regularly check for updates. The problem with this is that software, computer, and phone updates not only make your devices function better, but often include security updates to prevent hackers and malicious programs from attacking your system. 

About Ianniello Insurance Agency

Ianniello Insurance Agency is Northeast Ohio’s premier provider of auto insurance, life insurance, home insurance, agribusiness insurance, farm insurance, business insurance and health insurance. You can count on our personalized service to meet your needs. We take our time to ensure there are no gaps in your coverage. We proudly serve Coshocton, Holmes, and Tuscarawas Counties. Get in touch today for a quote and follow us on Facebook to stay in touch! 

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