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Published on August 22nd, 2017 | by Guest

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Ensuring that Your Small Business is Protected from Cyber Security Threats

Technology helps us live easier, safer, and more fulfilling lives. We have a wealth of knowledge in the palm of our hands, able to find information on search engines with our smartphones. Surgeons use robots to more reliably perform surgery. Businesses help block unapproved users from accessing troves of sensitive information and gaining unauthorized access to important business functions.

Some small businesses don’t allot any amount of money to mitigating cybersecurity risks. That’s unfortunate, as many criminals target small businesses particularly because they are less likely to utilize sufficient security measures, if any at all. Small businesses have less money to work with, allotting more of their money to necessary business functions. In order to combat this, here are several ways that you can boost your small business’ protection against cybersecurity risks.

Encrypt communications

Encryption can be utilized for protecting stored information and for communication. There are several programs online that encrypt hard drives’ contents. Some of them vary in security, so it’s always a good idea pay to use a reputable provider’s service, rather than risk it with a lesser-quality encryption software. Encryption can also be used for sending information to employees and business associates. Encrypting and decrypting messages doesn’t take that long, either, making it practical for everyday use.

All communications should be encrypted, whether they’re sensitive or not. Exercising subjective judgement on their sensitivity may result in employees not encrypting private, sensitive information. Communication encryption works by entering lines of text into these programs, which spit out an unintelligible blob of numbers and letters after employees enter a secure password. Employees then transmit this information to other employees or affiliates using regular communication tools, like email or text messages. The encrypted, unreadable data is decrypted using the same password used to encrypt it. Only people with the passwords can decrypt information, so changing passwords regularly and making them not easy to guess are good ideas.

Always use 2FA

2FA, or two-factor authentication, simply means there are two levels of security to log in on company accounts. Passwords aren’t enough to block unauthorized users from logging on, as many employees leave passwords written out on computer screens or in nearby drawers. Besides, hackers can often guess passwords with the help of computer programs, or even do it manually, themselves. Popular passwords (such as 123456) provide virtually no security for cyber criminals who simply enter the most popular passwords into login fields they attempt to hack into.

Two-factor authentication comes in several flavors. Employees might be asked to answer questions about where they’ve lived in the past. They might have to enter one’s birthday or spouse’s birthday. Or, they might be asked to retype something on the screen, where typing analysis software can determine if the user is actually who they allege they are.

Contract an information technology professional

People who work with computers for a living likely know more about them than you do. When looking for quality IT staffing to help your business boost its security, make sure to select those who deal with security in particular. IT professionals might connect computer systems for a living, rather than increase business’ security protocol.

You could contract them for solely for increasing your small business’ security, which might only require a few hours a week. It’d be wise to pay an IT professional now to beef up your security, rather than experience information breaches that would likely lead to financial losses later.

All types of businesses are equally vulnerable to cybersecurity risks, ranging from ransomware attacks to theft of important, sensitive information. While large corporations yield heftier payloads for criminals, small businesses are often targeted because criminals know that a majority of them don’t engage in cyber security protocol. The recommendations above should be employed by every small business owner that reads this, and it might not be a bad idea to consult a cybersecurity professional, as well.

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