It’s not unusual to think that because your business is small, it’s immune to cyber threats. Unfortunately, that’s a dangerous attitude. In fact, hackers use tactics that actually target small businesses, and what’s worse, there is a good chance your company will fold within 6 months if you fall victim. To avoid being the next small business caught in a phishing scam or malware attack, here’s what you need to know.
The Latest and Greatest
Cyber criminals are both creative and clever. Threat Post explains trouble can take on many forms, from “wipers” that clear out all of your data in one fell swoop, to trojans that can pick and choose information, gleaning your most sensitive data and credentials, and harvesting them with you being none the wiser – until it’s too late.
Recognizing threats isn’t always simple. Phishing emails might look like they were sent from a company or individual you know and trust. However, when you look more closely, they often have poor grammar, misspelled words, and use pressure tactics. They often include a link or attachment that doesn’t quite look right – and you should trust your gut feeling and avoid clicking on them at all costs.
What if it’s too late?
Even the most diligent people can be sucked in by a scammer now and then. If you or someone in your company gets tripped, the first step is to ensure you have IT help to address the problem. A pro can stop the data loss and help recover your data. If you don’t have someone on staff who can take on the task, ensure you have a relationship with a company like Secure Data Recovery. A professional data recovery specialist can get your business back on track with minimal hiccups.
Safe in the Sky
So how do you protect yourself against such scoundrels when they are so sneaky? First of all, it’s crucial to have your data saved in a secure place, and these days, that means moving it to the cloud. Consider how much data you use, what types of files you need supported, and what you can budget. Then choose a cloud service that caters to small businesses, such as Box for Business or Amazon Cloud. Since they are designed to support small business needs, you’ll find there is a solution with the security and flexibility you require.
Get Your Guard Up
Even with data saved in the cloud, it’s important to protect your actual devices from hackers and scammers. Every user should have antivirus protection installed on each device. You should also ensure you have a firewall to keep your data safe.
You might be wondering, “Why do I need both?” It’s easy to get confused about the terms thrown around, but as TechDifferences explains, these things work together to protect you from cyber attacks. The firewall is essentially a fence around your data, while the antivirus software deals with attacks within your data. In other words, the firewall is a bit like your skin, and the antivirus software is a bit like your immune system, and they work differently to protect you from germs.
The universal password all children know is “Open Sesame!” While that’s fine for child’s play, small businesses need to steer clear of having universal passwords. Employees who use the same password for all of their accounts, or allowing everyone to share a single password, is setting your company up for trouble.
Everyone complains about trying to think of challenging passwords, much less remember them. There are a couple tools you can use to help. One is a password generator, which can create passwords for you and your staff. Another is a password manager, which can keep track of all the different passwords you and your employees need, requiring you to just remember one. Lastly, develop a clear policy that keeps everyone safe and on the same page.
Phishing and other email scams can catch you off-guard. Ensure you know what to look for and who to turn to if you get into trouble, and snag some tech tools to keep you safe. Your small business’s life might depend on it.