Does the term “Cyber Security” make you think of the CIA, FBI and homeland security? Maybe the thought of Cyber Security sounds a bit intimidating, especially when you hear news about companies being “hacked” and large-scale data-breaches?
Businesses and consumers use online resources for transactions more and more, so look for secure sites and precautions you can do to keep data secure. Cyber security doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult for small business owners and in today’s blog we’ll talk about what you need to know, and how to get your small business “Secure.”
What is Cyber Security?
Simply put – cyber security is the protection of internet-connected systems such as software, hardware, and data from cyberbreaches (hackers). In small business, this is the practices and tools used to prevent unauthorized entities from obtaining data from your business. So in layman terms, cyber security is how you protect your business information. That may include your financial records, customer database, sales, collections and credit card transactions.
Do I really need cyber security in my small business?
It is easy to imagine that hackers will go after big business and all the information they have (especially anything they can steal, like social security numbers and customer’s private information.) However, did you know that 43% of cyber-attacks were directed at small business last year? The most popular business sectors for cyber-attack were:
How do I avoid a data-breech from hackers?
There are several recommendations made by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) that can help you secure the data of your small business:
Establish safe practices:
- Train employees to use strong passwords
- Shred paper information regularly
- Establish appropriate internet usage guidelines
- Have a procedure of how to handle and protect customer information
Protect computers, networks and software:
- Use and keep up to date antivirus programs
- Keep the latest security software
- Create and use firewalls
- Install updates immediately
- Check regularly on the installation and use of your firewalls
- If employees are working from home, make sure they have a firewall
Consider mobile devices:
- Require password protection on all mobile devices
- Make sure data is encrypted
- Install security apps
- Have a plan for stolen devices (lock out, remote erase, etc.)
Control access to computers and sensitive information:
- Have different levels of security, so only the employees who need sensitive information have access.
- Lock up and protect devices and information when not in use.
- Have individual access and monitor access frequently.
- Have a “time-out” function in case employees step away for a time.
Secure Wi-Fi Networks:
- Make sure your WiFi networks have a firewall. It should be password protected and encrypted. Set it up so that it doesn’t broadcast your name or the business name
Protect the information from Credit Cards:
- Work with your bank or credit card processor to ensure anti-fraud systems are in place.
- Have a separate system for credit cards that is not linked to the same computer you use to surf the internet.
Lear more about Cyber Security from the FTC:
The Federal Trace Commission has excellent resources for small business. If you aren’t really sure what cyber security is about, or what many of the terms we’ve used in this blog mean, here is a great place to find information:
Federal Communication Commission (FCC): Downloadable Tip Sheet for Small Businesses
Who can help me with Cyber Security?
*Please note: Paris SBDC does not endorse any of the following businesses, the following is intended as a list of available resources:
For additional information on cyber security and the steps you need to take as a small business owner, please contact us at the Small Business Development Center – SBDC – Serving Paris area: Lamar, Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, and Red River counties.