Protect Your Assets: Small Business Cybersecurity
Take a second to think about all of the data on your business computer or on the cloud. Would your small business survive if a hacker were to steal those assets or lock down your data for an extended period of time? This is what you are risking if you’re not focusing on small business cybersecurity.
The breadth of cybersecurity can be overwhelming for small business owners, especially with so many accomplished hackers using increasingly sophisticated tools to steal your customers’ data and your business’s assets.
Why is Small Business Cybersecurity Important?
When a ransomware attack occurs, a hacker claims to have locked your business’s sensitive data and demands the owner pay a ransom in order to get the key to unlock the data. In many cases, however, your data is not really locked and has, in fact, already been wiped out. In a case where the data was locked and you have been given a key to unlock it, there can still be issues with data corruption and it can take weeks to unencrypt the data. This is when people go out of business, because they cannot survive weeks or months without their data and records.
Likewise, if a hacker is able to access your bank account and cleans you out, that could also put you out of business, even if you are eventually able to recover those funds.
Small business owners may think they won’t be the target of a cyberattack, but multiple industry reports reveal that small businesses are actually attacked more than larger companies by a significant rate.
In 2018, 75% of ransomware attacks targeted small businesses, according to a report from Beazley Breach Response Services. In 2017, Malware Bytes reported that one in five small businesses that were affected by a ransomware attack were forced to shut down.
How to Protect Your Company from Cyberattacks
There are a number of things you can do to protect your company from cyberattacks and prevent a small business data breach.
- Start with a pragmatic risk assessment.
Identify any assets that are at risk of a cyberattack and whether your business would survive if they were stolen or locked by a hacker for an extended period of time. Look at anything saved locally on your computer, anything saved on your servers and anything cloud, or web based. This includes your bank accounts with electronic access, customer data and records stored on your business computer, and even your business scheduling software.
For example, If a business has a truck delivery schedule laid out for the next 90 days and it’s locked or wiped out by hackers, all the revenue from the work could be gone. Many small businesses don’t have the resiliency to have a quarter of their year wiped out.
- Choose great partners for your small business cybersecurity needs.
Many small business owners don’t have the staff or resources to manage the intricacies of small business cybersecurity. This is where your partners come into play.
Your partners include your product suppliers, software suppliers, your computer supplier and your business’s bank. Choose suppliers, vendors and partners who are passionate and proactive about small business cybersecurity and who are committed to keeping your information, your customers’ information and your finances protected from hackers. You can eliminate a lot of threats simply by not bringing in products and services from companies with weak cyber- security practices.
- Use password managers and two-factor authentication.
For maximum security, use a unique password on all of your accounts as opposed to using the same, or a similar password for everything. This significantly reduces the likelihood of multiple accounts being compromised after a hacker discovers a single password.
With so many unique passwords to remember, you will want to use a password manager to help you keep track of everything. Password managers, like LastPass, Keeper or Dashlane will manage all of your passwords under a single master password.
Two-factor authentication, like the kind provided by authenticator apps such as Duo, LastPass or Google Authenticator will require the user to enter their password, but then also ask for a second confirmation, many times in the form of a push notification on a mobile device, or a biometric like a fingerprint or a facial scan.
- Test your small business cybersecurity; simulate a hack on your own system.
Some businesses will run scenarios with their team where they try to breach their own systems to help identify any holes in their cybersecurity efforts. Try running an exercise with two teams, one trying to hack your business and the other trying to defend it.
For more information about small business cybersecurity and how Northwest Bank can keep your assets protected from hackers, visit us online today, or contact a business banker.
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