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Tips to Protect Against Cyberattacks for Small Businesses

The cat and mouse game that is being played in the cyber world to hack into business’ information is increasing. In August, the New York Times reported that at least five major U.S. banks were targeted in cyberattacks. If large financial companies are becoming victim to these criminals, what can small and medium business owners do to protect themselves from losing valuable data from a cyberattack?

Smaller Businesses Are Prone to Cyberattack

Although the payoff for criminals may be higher when targeting large companies, small businesses are easier to infiltrate and can still offer valuable information. It is simpler for hackers and cyber criminals to target small businesses to collect customer and financial data. With increases in these types of attacks, the FCC has offered help to small business owners to protect their business from theft.

FCC Tips to Small Businesses For Cybersecurity

The FCC has recognized the risk to smaller businesses in terms of cybersecurity. To stay competitive, businesses of all sizes must rely on gaining new customers through Internet exposure and mobile technology. In an effort to help small business owners fortify their defenses against cyberattack, the FCC offers resources such as their Small Biz Cyber Planner and Cybersecurity Tip Sheet which are free to the public. Some of the tips that the FCC offers include:

  • Passwords. All access to company data should be password protected, with strong passwords that are changed every three months.
  • Limited employee access. Not all cyberattacks are from hackers; many are from internal sources. Employees should only have access to data that is needed to perform their particular job.
  • Maintain computer networks. The FCC promotes keeping “clean machines.” This entails investing in the latest firewalls and security software, plus maintaining the most recent updates.
  • Backup important data. Ensure that all important data for the business is consistently stored on a secondary platform, such as cloud storage or another hard drive device. This includes tax information, record keeping, employee data and all customer files. Your Virtual Assistant can help by uploading, organizing and managing your important data to a cloud storage service.

Although these precautions may not stop a professional hacker, it will deter lower level criminals from accessing business information. Businesses using poor cybersecurity are easy targets; many small businesses can evade becoming victims by adhering to the advanced security protocols established by the FCC.

photo credit: Yuri Yu. Samoilov

Posted on December 3rd, 2014 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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