Simple ways to protect your small business from cybercrime
The era of being your own boss has dawned upon us. In fact, it has been around for a quite a long time now. It’s called a rather unglamorous but very fitting name – having a small business. A small company is commonly defined by having less than 500 employees. This may sound like a lot of people for it to be justifiably termed as a “small” business, but according to Forbes.com, over 70% of the 28 million small businesses are owned by self-employed entrepreneurs. This just means that those businesses have one employee – its owner.
Owning and operating a small business has become easier due to the convenience of the Internet. If you want to open a small merchandising or retail company, a physical store is not an ultimate requirement anymore. A virtual store and your own home could now suffice. The Internet made it possible for not just goods from anywhere go everywhere around the world. Even services from one continent get to be offered and availed of by someone else situated on another continent. Even sending money from one country to another can be completed in a matter of minutes because of the Internet. It is precisely this nifty technology that made it possible for small businesses to thrive and survive better in order to realize its possibility to prosper and become a multimillion or billion dollar companies. Just look at Apple, which started as a small business with no more than 5 people in a garage by iconic entrepreneurs who pursued their passion.
The Internet gave the small business a better fighting chance against giant corporations. But still, World Wide Web is not without its dangers. With vast amounts of information stored in a business’ database, especially those that concern customer records as well as financial information, hackers and phishers are ready and willing to use their expertise, gathering and using a customer’s information for their benefits at the expense of businesses. Particularly small firms, who are not as fully equipped as big corporations, deal with such cyber-attacks.
Kidnap for ransom just got an aptly named cyber version called ransomware. This crypto virus would lock out a victim from his data or threaten to publish the information held hostage until the victim pays a ransom. It’s been said that a small business will not survive if it does not resume business within 10 days after a natural disaster. For small businesses, being denied access to its own information is like a natural disaster. Should your small company fail to fend off the cyber-attacks, that business is almost as good as closed. It will become one of the 60% of small businesses who were unable to maintain operations within a mere six months.
In almost all cases involving ransomware, the cyber-attack happened because a negligent employee opened a seemingly harmless link or email that lead to a malware being able to breach small business’ data defenses. Some cases, however, arise from a misconception that the data they are storing is not valuable enough for them to be a target of web-based attacks. This would then lead to them being lax with their software’s security.
Prevention is better than cure, and it holds true even for small businesses. So here are a few ways on how your small firm can defend itself:
- Protect your communications.
It can’t be denied that humans and errors go hand in hand. After all, no one is perfect. However, you can prevent a security breach by protecting your communication channels. As such, you and your employees should use email protection service.
- Update your Security Software.
One of the best bet is to always have the latest version of your security software available for every hardware connected to the Internet and your database.
- Create a SOP Plan and Implement.
Although prevention is preferable, knowing what to do when your small business gets attacked can help your company get back on its feet quicker, so plan and develop a Standard Operating Procedure together with your IT experts and have each and every one of your employees be able to implement it.