It’s impossible to escape the influence of technology in our lives. If you’re a small business owner, you may have had to make changes to adapt to the constant evolution of technology. While technology and computers certainly make our lives easier and help us be more efficient, they also present risks to your business in the form of viruses, hackers, and data breaches. You know to protect your business from risks like burglary, but what about invisible risks? Many businesses, including small businesses, have been targeted by hackers. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to protect your business against cyber risks.
1. Train your employees in cybersecurity.
It’s worth it to take some time to educate everyone about how to be smart online. You can inform your employees about scams and how to identify suspicious emails and websites. Remember the GoogleDocs phishing scam that went around a while back?
2. Get antivirus and antispyware software for every computer.
It’s important to protect your computers against viruses and hackers. You need to keep your antivirus software updated and current. Make sure that you don’t skip any computers – devices that aren’t protected could become infected, and they could spread the virus to the healthy computers.
3. Don’t skip the firewall.
Firewalls are great at keeping snoops out of your computer systems. You can even get a network firewall if you have over five devices to protect your entire network.
4. Have backup copies of important data.
If you lose your business’s valuable records or data due to a cyber attack, you’d be in a real bind if you don’t have backups. At least one of your backup sets should be kept off-site in a secure location that only a few trusted individuals can access. Lock up your backup data.
5. Control access to your computers and networks.
How many movies have you seen where the hacker or super spy poses as a janitor and then hops on a computer, stealing information by downloading it onto a flash drive in the nick of time? Make sure you know who’s coming in and out of your business and don’t let people play with your computers.
6. Secure your Wi-Fi network.
Your Wi-Fi network should be password-protected. Wi-Fi networks are easy ways for hackers to gain access to things that you would rather they didn’t. The password needs to be strong and something not easily guessed. Throwing in some numbers and special characters can’t hurt, either.
7. Have individual accounts for all employees.
It’s a good idea for each employee to have their own sign-on account to your computers. That makes it easier for you to keep track of who’s doing what online.
8. Limit authority to install software.
If one of your employee’s computers does get compromised, imagine the look on the hacker’s face when they realize they can’t download software. Their plot would perhaps be foiled. Only authorized personnel should be able to download things onto your business’s computers.
9. Have a password policy for your business.
A simple way to protect your computers is to have strong passwords on them. Your password policy can encourage employees to change their passwords every three months and to make them hard to guess. Like we said, it’s important that passwords include letters, numbers, and special characters. That makes them harder to crack than a simple password like abcde.
Another simple means of protecting your passwords – make sure your employees aren’t in the habit of writing them down and leaving them lying around. This is why passwords should be easy to remember but hard to guess.
10. Consider cyber liability insurance.
Cyber insurance protects you in the event of a data breach or hack that renders your computers broken. It can protect your business from breaches, system failures, and cyber extortion (hackers have gotten quite creative and will sometimes take over a system, demanding ransom for the computer’s release. Scary.) If your business relies heavily on computers or stores the personal information of your customers, you might want to consider adding a cyber policy to your business insurance plan.
Yes, computers are great. They can do lots of cool things and help us run businesses more efficiently. Plus, they help businesses connect with clients. However, they’re also a huge liability. The plastic and metal box sitting on your desk might seem nice and secure, but the danger lies on the inside. Don’t forget about your computer risk when you go about creating a disaster response plan for your business. Make sure that you take steps to protect your business’s computers and limit your cyber risk.
If you want a quote for cyber insurance or business insurance, we can help! All you have to do is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today and we’d be happy to get you a business insurance quote. We can help you identify your risks and stay protected from them. We’ll help you create a customized insurance plan that’s just for your business.