Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for small businesses to ignore cyber-security measures. Many owners or managers believe cyber-crime only hits major financial institutions or government organizations. However, that thinking is exactly why small businesses are frequent targets for hackers. Often, those are the websites and databases with less stringent security protocols. Those are also the employees that haven’t been well-trained in security measures.
Time and again, small and mid-size companies report struggling to recover after security breeches. This past week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee held a hearing on this precise issue.
In an interview with Bloomberg BNA, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), the House Small Business Committee chairman, shared that nearly 60 percent of small businesses have to close after a data breach. On average, this costs about $32,000 per attack, he said. That highlights the need for cyber security help at all levels of industry, Chabot said.
Where to begin?
The outcome of last week’s hearing is still unknown, but there are several things you can do now to tighten security for your business.
Install and update anti-virus software:
- Anti-virus software will not only detect threats, but also notify you should a breach occur. New viruses are developed each day — well-disguised and hard to recognize. For maximum security, enable the automatic update feature on your system. Make sure you layer security features and choose a secure cloud partner. Your IT partner can run full diagnostics on your system to ensure that any gaps are discovered and resolved.
Train every employee:
- All it takes is one employee clicking an unknown email link to breach your entire system. Make sure your security policy is clear throughout your entire organization. Train employees in key areas – acceptable Internet use, password policies, how to recognize social engineering, and how to avoid phishing attacks. Implementing new technology can be challenging, but it could be your best insurance policy against hackers.
Encrypt and back-up data:
- Encryption is a vital data protection technology, used to protect communications and sensitive data. Encryption is easy to use, highly effective and affordable to those seeking to protect sensitive or confidential information. Your IT partner will evaluate your software and hardware to determine what system is the best fit. A password manager system should also be part of that recommendation. It is often weak and/or repetitive passwords that lead to a breach.
Establish a recovery plan:
- Backing up your data is as important as protecting it. Holding sensitive data for ransom is the most common hacker crime. If you have backups, that scenario is a lot easier to resolve. Establish policies surrounding backups — how often they occur, where they are stored, what data is covered, and who has access. Any physical backup is vulnerable, so make sure the location is secure. You may also want to investigate your current insurance policies to make sure cyber liability is included.
Adhering to even one of these areas will improve your security. Make sure your business does not become one of the statistics discussed by lawmakers last week.
Get serious about boosting cyber security at your SE Michigan business. Contact Dan Heimler, Sales Director at UTEC or call (734) 434-5900