If you think cyber security is only for big businesses -- think again!
As traditional business resources become increasingly hard to come by, more and more small businesses turn to computerized systems for solutions. However, this move has also made small business owners easy prey for cyber criminals looking for a quick source of cash.
Most crackers are able to break into the average small business’ computer system in five minutes or less and gain access to sensitive files and data, including private financial information.
While large companies such as Citibank and Sony remain prime targets for hackers or crackers or whatever you want to call them, small-to-midsized businesses are like low-hanging fruits few crackers are able to resist.
Unlike larger companies, small businesses generally do not have the resources to set up sophisticated measures against cyber attacks and are unable to bounce back unscathed from security breaches. To make matters worse, the credit card company investigation that usually follows can be costly and make the whole ordeal even more agonizing. FQ8R4WS8GRMA
Cyber criminals nowadays prefer to launch small, opportunistic attacks rather than large-scale ones. As technology and tools available to crackers have also become increasingly sophisticated, they are now able to easily penetrate small-to-midsized businesses in a matter of minutes.
Fortunately, statistics show that only about three percent of these breaches are unavoidable or require expensive corrective measures.
Regardless of the size of your business, you must remember that breaches can happen when security slackens.
The most popular threats to small-to-midsized businesses encounter are viruses, which are closely followed by spyware.
Surveys reveal that if only small businesses took the basic precautions, none of these attacks would have occurred. Anyone with basic IT knowledge would be shocked to know that a considerable number of small businesses in the US are operating without anti-spam software, firewall, or anti-spyware.
Most of these businesses are actually to blame for making themselves easy targets. Now, in order to help protect your small business from cyber attacks, here are seven tips to prevent them from occurring or minimize their impact:
- Focus on essential security measures. One of the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing cyber security measures is that they tend to get obsessed with tightly securing certain areas while neglecting the most basic security measures. Your small business will be better protected if you focus more on essential controls throughout your entire system without exception.
- Get rid of data you no longer need. For data that is important for you to keep, make sure it is properly monitored and stored securely.
- Restrict the use of remote access services. All access to these services must be funneled through specific IP addresses. This not only minimizes public access, but also gives you more control over them within your network.
- Manage user access. You can help secure your network and computer system by limiting user privileges and employing separation of duties.
- Check your physical security assets. Watch out for tampering and manipulation of payment card input devices such as credit card machines and ATMs.
- Encourage your employees to use only strong passwords -- no birthdays, anniversaries, or pets’ names please! Ineffective or weak credentials continue to erode enterprise security. No password is truly hacker-proof. The only assurance you can have against hacked passwords is to update or change them regularly.
- Make sure your computer system is up to date. The most recent releases of business software applications contain patches and bug fixes that address certain vulnerabilities in the program. It pays to regularly update your software to ensure you have the latest bug fixes.
A good offense remains your best defense against cyber crimes. Taking precautions against cyber attacks is not only an act of self-preservation, but can also be a big plus when it comes to winning new clients.