The Small Business Administration recently hosted the Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business You Can’t Afford to Miss web conference. The presenters offered many practical tips to help companies reduce their chances of a data breach, which can be disastrous to a small business. Here are 5 cybersecurity tips that any small business could benefit from:
While small businesses allocate a substantial amount of resources to protect their physical assets, many times they do not realize how important it is to protect the company data they are in possession of as well. It is essential to have strict policies and practices in place to protect themselves from many types of cyber threats.
If employees are accessing company data on their mobile devices, they need to be utilizing the same strong security measures as they do in the office. They should avoid connecting their smartphone, tablet, or laptop to public networks. While free Wi-Fi is generally available in coffee shops, hotels, and airports and seems like a great benefit, your potentially sensitive company information is at great risk anytime you are connected.
Passwords should be at least 12 characters long and include capital letters and special characters in the middle of the password, rather than at the beginning or end. Having complex and unique passwords make it more difficult for someone to gain access. In addition, there should only be a few allowed login attempts before the account is locked.
Employees should never be allowed to install or download software onto the company’s network without permission. Potentially dangerous software can leave a small business vulnerable to a cyber attack.
It is important for small businesses to monitor and limit access to their physical building as well as to their computer systems as this could be an opportunity for an unscrupulous person to cause harm. Make sure to have a written agreement with any service providers that have access to the company’s computer systems. It is essential to verify that they are complying with the company’s strict cyber security practices.
For more information on how to protect your small business, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s Business Center website at https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center.