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How To Keep Your Small Business Safe From Data Breaches And Hacking

In this connected modern world cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics for every business owner. The biggest problem lies in the fact that there are still many people who think that a hacked device or account causes just an unnecessary headache, not realizing it can break down the entire network and cause their business to come to a screeching halt. Since most of the small businesses use an open source platform, they’re particularly susceptible to this catastrophe.

Since 2017 was labeled the year of the data breach, it’s about time to take this plague of security invasions far more seriously. Many companies have searched for a solution that will protect their business from data breaches and hacking, but the problem is that there isn’t any single solution.  If you want to keep your small business completely safe you need to take a multi-layered approach, and we’re about to show you how to do it.

Build Awareness And Sense of Urgency

Hacking is all about social engineering. Cyber attacks have become very sophisticated and hackers are creating emails, attachments, and links that look like everyday business requests and therefore are easy to fool people. All it takes is one click and viruses, ransomware, and malware will infiltrate your system and compromise sensitive business data. That’s why care and skepticism are the first lines of defense, and that requires a change of attitude and awareness. This can’t be done without a heightened sense of urgency, which brings us to the second step.

Educate Your Workforce

Hackers are becoming more and more resourceful, but still, many data breaches happen by accident. Your employees might be aware of the threats, but if there’s no strong sense of urgency they’ll stay off guard. And that sense of urgency is established by proper and regular training. Your employees need to be trained on how to properly store and file data, how to encrypt it, how to avoid malware, and how to generate strong passwords. Awareness is your first line of defense, but the educated workforce is what makes that line firm and effective.

Know The Potential Risks

All the training in the world becomes useless if your employees are not up to date on the latest methods used by hackers. The best way to get them to this point is to create real-life scenarios in which you’ll test their ability to detect suspicious links or a phishing email. Only this way you’ll get a clear insight into their common mistakes and therefore be able to identify areas in need of improvement. But the potential risks don’t lie just in the latest hacking methods – they also lie in the weak links inside your security policies. That’s why it’s also recommendable to hire a third-party which will conduct a facility breach or social engineering exercises – it’s the only way to know for certain if your awareness programs and security policies are actually able to prevent outsiders from getting to your valuable information. The most trusted method is called website penetration testing which tests the security of your information systems by identifying and exploiting weaknesses. This thorough method profiles your business from the perspective of its most likely threats, allowing it to clearly determine the resilience of your environment to malicious attempts to penetrate your systems.

Keep it Restricted And Separate

The fact that your employees are now aware and properly trained doesn’t mean they can have access to all the vital information. While you’re trying to guard unknown backdoors against sophisticated attacks there could be breaches occurring through the front door  – in fact, more than 40 percent of reported security breaches are caused by employee negligence. So, just to be on the safe side, it’s mandatory to make sure your employees have access only to the vital information necessary to their functions. Another important thing is to keep personal and business accounts separate. Creating your personal, business, and banking emails separately won’t take much time and it makes your security a lot stronger – if someone does hack your personal site and password, they still won’t be able to access your banking or business one.

Pay Attention to Your Hosting Company And Surf Wisely

There’s a wide variety of providers when it comes to your site’s hosting. Most people just look at the price and benefits, but the most important question is if they’re trusted. It doesn’t matter if you take security seriously if your hosting company doesn’t. So ask them as many questions as you need before you’re certain, starting with the use of encryption. Another lurking danger is unsecured Wi-Fi networks since any data being transmitted over an unsecured channel can much more easily be intercepted by an unauthorized user. Inside the office, your employees are protected by network security measures such as firewalls, but what about when they need to work remotely from a hotel, coffee shop, or at an airport? So if you want your team to be safe whenever they access the internet outside the office you need to set up a virtual private network for them.

As we’ve said, it’s a multi-layered approach – awareness means nothing without proper training, and that training is useless without knowing your weak spots. And securing all three doesn’t mean you don’t need to remain careful about all the ʽlittleʼ things such as access and surfing.

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Jim Raychrudhury
Jim Raychrudhury
JIM Raychrudhury is a freelance writer and passionate blogger who likes writing articles that cover business, career and education related topics. He has written numerous articles and contributed to several other blogs. When he is not writing, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.

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