24 June 2019

SMEs - apply simple cyber security tips for small businesses to remain secure

We know that the internet is the biggest revolution of the 21st century. Its uses are continuing to expand having already roped in every sector of the economy. While there are amazing advantages, the internet also has an unfortunate downside which is its vulnerability to hackers carrying with it security risks.
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Research has found out that small businesses are appealing to hackers because these businesses have a moderate amount of data and they also do not see cyber security as a priority.
So, hackers  use information gotten from these platforms or businesses to steal from many people.
Know this as a business, a data breach can damage your relationships with employees, customers, and vendors; and it has been estimated that approximately half of small businesses that have been victims of cyber-attacks go out of business within six months.
Do not allow your business to be part of this statistics. You need to try to build up your business’ cyber security. You also  need to protect your data, your network, your customer information, and your reputation.
In Amercia. malicious cyber attacks are costing the American economy billions of dollars every year. As per WebFx, 71% of attacks are aimed at companies with fewer than 100 employees. This is not something to worry about, For, there are many safety precautions that businesses can implement to curtail this threat. 
In India too, as we are investing heavily in building e-services for its citizens by providing higher bandwidths and integrating national economy with digital marketplace, the is an increased need for emphasis on cyber security.
We do need to know this is critical for success in the digital world.
We give you below some simple tips you could apply.
1. Protect all your information from cyber attacks

Do invest in the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. This is essential as it a defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Regularly scan your site and computers for malware. Run antivirus software after each update. Further, install other key software updates as soon as they are available.

2. Firewall protection

Make sure employees working from home also use a firewall.

3. Don’t click

Don’t click on links unless the sender is known.

4. Password protection

Do ensure that passwords are updated every three months. In addition, make passwords strong and unique otherwise use a password generator. Do not write passwords or other sensitive information on a note that everyone can see  Try implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry.

5. Email

Emails also need to be managed.  Archive email to a secure site. Ensure that you use encrypted email for sensitive information. Ensure that login credentials are safely protected too.

6. Wi-fi

Do not do business over unsecured wi-fi. Hide your Wi-Fi network by seting up your wireless router so it does not broadcast the network name. This method is known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.

7. Lock it

Both software and hardware needs to be protected too. Keeping hardware it in a secure area. Have a reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment. Similarly, store digital keys and certificates in a secure, tamper-proof, data storage container.

8. Take regular backups

All important information should be routinely backed up. Store all copied critical data offsite or in the cloud. Do not keep information that is no longer needed. Make sure you properly discard old records.

9. Limits of authority

Form regulations on who has access to confidential data. Remember, it is a good practice that employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs. Give authority to only the individuals responsible for software downloads and maintenance. In other words, administrative rights should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.

10. Payment systems and financial transactions

Do use SSL or HTTPS for your website. Enter information or buy from secure websites only. Remember, this does not protect you from phishers. They can have a secure, but fake, site. Tell your clients to only send wire transfers after checking with your company about the procedure. They should also confirm the instructions beforehand with the intended recipient.

11. Deal with cyberattacks

Ensure if you have a cyber attack,  a plan in place to deal with it. You would need to evaluate your business model and determine if you need a breach notification policy. You could also possibly need an action plan for your employees. This needs to include how to handle notifying the appropriate people to ensure your information is secure.

12. Learn from mistakes

After any breach and incident response, once you are sure that you are no longer being hacked and can go back to normal operation, you should conduct a review. The review should allow you to discuss your incident response plan and decide if you need to make any adjustments to the plan based on the mistakes you made the first time around.

In Sum
Today, people are becoming conscious of this need. Around nine out of ten businesses reported they have some cybersecurity measures in place, with the most common ones being: 1) antivirus; 2) firewall; and 3) employee education. .
People also often outsource their activities as cyber security professionals are extremely expensive to hire.
Many transfer the financial risk of cybersecurity incidents are transferred to insurance companies, a move that makes sense when the insurance cost is less than providing additional cost-effective protections.
Whatever the decision, do ensure you take this aspect seriously.


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