We have all heard the words cybersecurity, but what does that really mean and how does it affect your business? Cybersecurity is the act of securing cyberspace. That includes working to protect internet-connected systems, including software, hardware and data.
As a small business owner, you probably rely heavily on your technology — including everything from credit card processing and cloud-based software to email services and maintaining a website. Every aspect of your business can be affected by cybercrime. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing physical theft.
Many small businesses feel they will not be targeted because their business is not a major corporation. That is not the case; larger businesses are doing more to protect themselves in cyberspace, leaving fewer opportunities and causing cybercriminals to target less secure smaller businesses. As technology has progressed, business owners can no longer afford to leave themselves unprotected.
Here are a few tips to help protect against cyber-attacks.
- Train your employees in basic security principles. It is important that an employee understands basic procedures that can help secure your network. An example of this would be requiring employees to change passwords frequently and asking them not to store the password information in an unsecured location, such as their top desk drawer.
- Provide basic personal and business cyberattack prevention training. One of the most troubling attacks is that of email phishing, when a cyber-criminal ssend an email from an account that they have manipulated to look as if it is coming from someone inside the organization. The email might say something along the lines of “the director, Jim has asked for us to transfer $5000 into this Account 555-12345 to pay a past due invoice.” Train your employees to be naturally suspicious. This type of attack could be denied with a simple confirmation call to the director to make sure the request is legitimate.
- We also don’t think much about physical access to technology devices. I recently attended a conference in which the keynote speaker discussed cybersecurity. In a matter of just 20 minutes prior to his presentation, he was able to access 15 technology devices of people in attendance because they left their bags on the chair or their phones at a charging station along the wall. Of course, this was simply to make a point that if someone can physically access your device they could hack it. Encourage employees to properly secure devices both in the office and while on the go. Pay special attention to your cellphone. A cellphone contains a lot of very personal information, and for many small business owners, they typically are used in running the business.
I encourage you to be cognizant of the growing issues and empower your employees by providing them with basic cybersecurity awareness training. There are many resources to assist you in providing this training. Reach out to the Angelo State University Small Business Development Center for additional access to resources that can provide cybersecurity training for you and your employees. – Go San Angelo