Chamber Insider Blog

10 Cyber Security Tips for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses

Thanks to the GovCon committee for writing this blog post! To learn more about the GovCon initiative, click here.

Cyber-related crimes are not limited to large businesses only.  Small and medium-sized businesses using any kind of technology are just as vulnerable to cyberattack as large businesses.

Protective Measures Businesses Should Consider  

  1. Train employees in security and privacy principles
    Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
  2. Protect information, computers and networks from cyberattacks
    Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
    A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system’s firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.
  4. Create a mobile device action plan
    Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
  5. Make backup copies of important business data and information
    Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.
  6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
    Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords.
  7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
    If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point/router so it does not broadcast the network name.
  8. Employ best practices on payment cards
    Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
    Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.
  10.  Passwords and authentication
    Require employees and vendors to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry.

These protective measures will not stop everything, but they will protect you against some of the most common and most dangerous cyber threats to small businesses today.

 

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