Technology has made life easier for small business owners in many ways, from simplifying document sharing to streamlining customer payments. However, technology also has a dark side, as it opens us up to potential cybersecurity threats like fraud and data breaches. That’s especially dangerous for business owners, since their success often depends on maintaining a good reputation.
Cybersecurity is so important. Why?
Some small business owners assume that they won’t fall victim to cybercriminals, thinking that big companies are the primary target. In fact, smaller companies are often targeted by hackers precisely because they tend to invest less money in cybersecurity safeguards. According to CNBC, cyberattacks cost companies about $200,000 on average.
By implementing the right cybersecurity protocols and tools, you protect your company’s technology, data, and intellectual property. This is also a matter of protecting your customers. For example, if you have sensitive customer data like payment details, a hack can expose them. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to you getting sued by your customers.
Implement Preventative Best Practices to Safeguard Against Fraud and Hacks
There are many steps you can take to improve your small business’s cybersecurity. Start by doing a cybersecurity audit to see where your weaknesses lie. This process involves reviewing all existing measures, assessing potential risks, and considering applicable security standard updates. With this data, you can create a new security action plan.Cyber insurance generally covers your business’ liability for a data breach involving sensitive customer information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, account numbers, driver’s license numbers and health records. Prices vary, but quotes are easy, fast, and free.
Another critical step in keeping your cybersecurity measures up-to-date is to invest in the right software. This could include VPNs, malware and virus protection, advanced email SPAM filters, and more. Capterra offers a roundup of software solutions that are ideal for small businesses, from Orca Security to Risk Ident, ThreatMark, and more.
In addition to investing in the right products, cybersecurity prevention also needs to consider processes. For example, teach employees internet safety best practices, like not opening emails from unknown senders, updating software regularly, utilizing a firewall, backing up data safely, and using strong passwords. Regular security seminars are good reminders.
Know How to Recover if You Experience a Data Breach
Even with proper prevention, data breaches and fraud can happen. It’s wise to have a breach response plan already in place in case your business falls prey to cyber security threats. A data recovery plan will help you prioritize workflows, figure out what data to save first, and designate the individuals in charge of each step in the recovery journey.
As a small business owner, you may not have a large IT team – or a dedicated IT person at all. In this case, consider hiring an external expert to create and manage your recovery plan. There are experts dedicated specifically to this task who can help save you time, stress, and money as they get your business back on track.
Finally, if you are targeted by a cyberattack, make sure to communicate this appropriately. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be legally obligated to inform clients, especially if their information has been leaked. Business 2 Community has tips for communicating cyber attacks, like notifying customers quickly and preparing an FAQ for inquiries.No business owner wants to think about a cyberattack potentially ruining their company. However, avoiding the problem won’t make it go away. The best thing you can do is to prepare yourself by following the preventative tips above.
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