Published October 31, 2017
Small Business Cyber Security
Today Shield Fire & Security is going to discuss the importance of cyber security for small businesses. Cyber Security is important in our everyday business activity because we use computers for almost everything we do. Shield sends emails, manages customer accounts, program systems, and manages its accounting all on computers. We want to stress the importance of cyber security to our fellow small business community, so we came up with a list of precautions your business can take.
10 Steps to Take for Small Business Cyber Security
(1) Educate and train employees on safe security practices
- Create a policy for passwords that requires them to be strong i.e. 8 characters, 1 capital letter, 1 special character.
- Establish appropriate internet use guidelines browsing
- Policies regarding sensitive information must be in place.
- Rules and penalties must be in place in case policies or guidelines are violated.
(2) Prevent Cyber attacks on information, computers, and networks
- Download antivirus software and run scans regularly.
- Update software and browsers as often as possible especially after running an antivirus scan.
(3) Download a firewall for your internet connection
(Firewalls prevent outsiders from breaking into your private network)
- Firewalls can be enabled on your operating system or you can download a free firewall software online
- Require firewalls for employee home networks
(4) Protect your mobile devices
- Require employees to set a password, encrypt their sensitive company data, and install security apps to help protect the phone when on public networks.
- Create a procedure for if a phone is stolen i.e. have pictures of the phone, record the serial number, record the model, a have process to report the stolen phone to the police.
(5) Run back ups or create copies of important company data
- Backup computers regularly
- Schedule automatic backups if at all possible especially for financial or HR documents.
(6) Restrict access to computers
- Require strong passwords
- Prevent use of computers from unauthorized users
- Lock up computers when unattended
- Admin privileges should only be for IT staff and key personel
(7) Secure Wifi network
- Hide and encrypt your wifi
- Set up your router to not broadcast the name of your network
- Password protect your router
(8) Handle payments securely
- Trust only secure merchants
- Process payments on a separate then the one you surf the internet on
(9) Limit authorized employees
- Allow only certain employees to install software.
- Authorize employees for information that’s needed for their job
(10) Strong passwords and authorizations
- Employees should choose unique passwords every three months especially to access financial information
- Implement multi-factor authentication when possible. (additional information past a normal password)
Why is Cyber Security Important for Small Businesses?
Cyber security is extremely important for small businesses because they usually are easy targets. A Large company will tend to have people in place to prevent cyber attacks whereas a small business will not. Many small businesses also have the mindset that cyber security isn’t important because “why would they want my business’ information when there’s so many other larger businesses out there.” What business owners everywhere don’t realize is having that mindset about cyber security is what makes you a prime target.
Think about it. Hackers everywhere have to start somewhere. They pray on those who are not prepared because it will be the easiest. If your business is compromised they potentially have everything about your business i.e. your bank account information, customer financial information, names, socials, customer data base, etc. Even if you are convinced that your business is safe from this happening it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.
Additional resources about Cyber Security
- Get recommendations with the Cyberplanner. The Cyberplanner is customized for your business: https://www.fcc.gov/cyberplanner
- 10 Tips were gathered from the Federal Communication Commission at: https://www.fcc.gov/general/cybersecurity-small-business
- Check out the Security Alliance’s blog for additional tips and information regarding cyber security:
**Please note Shield Fire & Security specializes in security systems. We are not a cyber security company, and cannot protect you from cyber attacks. The intent of this blog is to share information with our fellow small business community that we have found out in the process of owning a business. Please do not take this blog as a guarantee of safety from cyber attacks. This information is just some of the things you can do to protect your business.