It will be surprising for you to know that businesses which have employees less than 100 suffer approximately over $1500,000 every year due to mischievous online activities like online fraud, ransomware attacks, phishing etc. as per latest research. Small businesses often fall victim to cybercrime, most of which have to shut down within six months as they can’t recuperate from the harm done to their business.
There is a common misconception among the small business owners that they are invincible to most of the internet threats as they think that hackers often look for bigger companies to target. But almost half of the cybercrimes target small businesses. In fact, small businesses are more prone to such attacks than larger corporations.
It is essential for any small business to avoid any false sense of security in order to prevent itself from taking essential steps to protect itself.
Small Businesses Needs
Small businesses need to consider following tips to avoid any online security breach, fraud etc. to remain intact in this growing trend cybercrime against small businesses.
- Unique Passwords
The first thing to do is creating unique passwords to boost the protection level of the company. It is essential to create separate passwords for each online activity such as online banking, purchasing online and emailing.
In case a business is using the same password across all of its online activities, there is more chances for a cyber-criminal to steal it and he can get access to any of the business’s accounts. It can really jeopardise the very essence of the business and its operations. It is necessary to create a strong password with the combination of various characters and letter types along with symbols. It makes it harder for cybercriminals to get hold of strong passwords as they require much more complex methods to hack the system which is quite difficult to achieve.
2. Security Breach
Among the most common practices among employees of the businesses is that they click on any attachment sent by their friends or colleague. Any such attachment can be potentially harmful to the organization as it can lead to a security breach. Many companies fall victim to ransomware where hackers get hold of important information of the company and ask for money in place of restoring and giving back the data.
Cyber hackers also have different methods to gather email addresses from various social media networks and send ransomware and other malicious programs to you which often look legitimate. The safest approach is to apply the simple formula of “when in doubt, you must check it out” when it comes to verifying links. It must be done to all the emails especially if they are sent by friends or family members as most hackers pretend to be an acquaintance of their targets.
3. Sensitive Data
When it comes to sensitive data like social security numbers, credit card details etc., small businesses should try their best to protect the data through various methods like disk encryption technology which essentially converts the data into unreadable code in order to prevent any unauthorized access to sensitive data. There are some types of data such as customer’s personal details, etc. which shouldn’t be stored locally, retained in a particular page of a web browser unless it is completely necessary. Such data can easily be accessed by the hackers with some level of expertise in extracting data from browsers. Companies which deals with big data related to customers need to follow this computer security method to avoid stealing of valuable data.
4. Offline Security
In the case when small business enables payment through credit or debit cards, they should ask the customer to enter the CVV or Card Verification Value to complete the purchase. These three-digit codes are located on the back of credit/debit cards, and it can help in preventing a plethora of fraudulent purchases made online. It is recommended that all businesses should ask their customers to provide the CVV information before completing any purchase. These codes are only available on the cards only which essentially means in case anyone has stolen the credit or debit card numbers, can’t actually use them without the CVV number. It is an essential aspect of computer security when it comes to online businesses.
5. Customer Accounts
A small business owner must also be careful with using his own cards as well as accounts. He should take special care of his information just as he takes care of his customers’ account information. He should separate his personal as well as business cards and create his own guidelines when it comes to business spending such as how he is going to make any payments. Check for receipts as well as account activity on a regular basis so that he can quickly find out any type of fraudulent activity done through his account.
6. Internet Connections
Most of the business owners become careless when it comes to using public Wi-Fi networks. In case you are travelling for any business purpose or in a client meeting, then you will most probably use public Wi-Fi networks. Unfortunately, such public internet connections can easily make your valuable information available and vulnerable to hackers lurking on those public internet connections. It is recommended that whenever you are using a public Wi-Fi, then you should use a VPN or Virtual Private network for doing anything online which prevents the hackers to access your information. VPNs are great counter-measure that provide secure internet connection and the data sent to and from a user’s computer which is networked with other computers even when they aren’t in same physical location.
7. Final Words
It is essential to keep in mind that small business owners should do their level best to protect their networks as well as data by investing in comprehensive and secure firewall along with latest anti-virus, malware as well as spyware detection software from leading providers such as McAfee or Kaspersky.
Small businesses are as likely to be targeted by cybercriminals as larger businesses. It is essential to take necessary measures to safeguard their own data as well as customers’ data. They should use proper security software to prevent programs like ransomware and malware from compromising their data and pay money as ransom to retrieve their data. They should also invest in getting the proper protection of their infrastructure with latest security software and programs. They should follow best practices to protect their data by constantly changing passwords and installing security protocols to bring down the chances of stealing of data. All these above-mentioned computer security measures should be taken with utmost sincerity to make sure that your data remains protected from cybercriminals.