7 Small Business Cybersecurity Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Cybercrime is on the rise, and small businesses are increasingly becoming targets.
Despite this, many small businesses still don’t take the necessary precautions to protect their data. In fact, a recent study found that 61% of small businesses have been hacked in the past year.
Don’t become one of those statistics. Keep reading and follow these simple tips to help keep your business safe online and avoid small business cybersecurity mistakes.
1. Not Having a Password Policy
One of the most common small business cybersecurity mistakes is not having a password policy in place. This leaves your company’s data vulnerable to hackers who can easily guess weak passwords.
In order to avoid this, it is essential to set strong password requirements and change them on a regular basis.
The most effective passwords are at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols.
To further protect your data, it is also important to require employees to change their passwords every few months. By taking these simple steps, you can help to keep your company’s data safe from cybercriminals.
2. Reusing Passwords
Any businesses that haven’t yet implemented a password policy are leaving themselves vulnerable to attack. Reusing passwords across multiple accounts is a mistake.
This is because it means that if a hacker manages to compromise just one account, they can easily gain access to all of your company’s data. To avoid this, start creating strong passwords for each account.
This may seem like a lot of effort, but it’s essential in order to keep your company’s data safe. Implementing a password policy is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce the risk of data breaches.
3. Not Backing Up Data
Like many business owners, you may think that backing up your data is something you can always do later. However, this is a dangerous mistake to make.
If your primary copy of your data is lost or damaged, you could be left without any way to recover it.
This would not only be disastrous for your business, but it could also lead to legal penalties if you are unable to fulfill your obligations to customers or clients.
To avoid this nightmare scenario, you should create regular backups of your data and store them in a safe place. This way, even if your primary copy is lost, you will still have a backup that you can use to restore your business.
4. Not Training Employees
It is becoming increasingly important for businesses to take steps to protect themselves. One of the most effective ways to do this is to provide training for employees on how to prevent cybersecurity attacks.
Many attacks occur because employees click on malicious links or open attachments from unknown senders.
By providing training on how to spot phishing emails and what to do if they receive one, businesses can help to reduce the risk of an attack. In addition, businesses should have a clear policy in place for handling suspect emails.
5. Not Updating Software
Outdated software is one of the most common ways hackers gain access to systems. This is because old software often has security vulnerabilities that have since been fixed in newer versions.
For example, a few years ago there was a major security flaw discovered in Internet Explorer 6.0. By exploiting this flaw, hackers were able to gain access to users’ computers and install malicious software.
Even though this flaw was fixed in newer versions of Internet Explorer, many users were still using the old version and were vulnerable to attack. To avoid this, make sure you have regular software updates on your system.
This includes not only your web browser, but also any plugins (such as Adobe Flash), operating system updates, and anti-virus definitions.
6. Not Using Antivirus Software
Antivirus software is essential for any business that relies on computers to function. By definition, antivirus software is designed to detect and remove malware from your system, protecting your data and avoiding downtime.
However, many businesses make the mistake of either not using antivirus software at all, or of using an outdated program. This leaves their systems vulnerable to attack from both known and unknown threats.
In order to avoid this, it is important to install a reputable antivirus program and to keep it up-to-date.
Regular updates are essential in order to protect against the latest threats, so make sure to set your software to update automatically.
7. Not Monitoring Activity
Intrusion detection and prevention systems are one of the best ways to catch a hacker. By monitoring activity on your system for unusual behavior, you can spot attacks early and take steps to stop them before they cause damage.
To set up an intrusion detection and prevention system, you will need to review logs regularly. This can help you identify patterns of behavior that may be indicative of an attack.
In addition, you should also monitor your system for any changes that could indicate that a hacker has gained access. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your system is protected against potential attacks.
It’s also important to monitor employee activity. You can do this using employee monitoring software.
Have You Fallen Foul to These Small Business Cybersecurity Mistakes?
Small businesses are a prime target for cybercriminals. Why? Because they often have lax security protocols and limited resources to devote to cybersecurity.
This makes it all too easy for hackers to steal sensitive data or bring down the entire company with a ransomware attack.
But small businesses can take steps to protect themselves from these dangers by avoiding common cybersecurity mistakes.
The tips we’ve provided to help you avoid small business cybersecurity mistakes should help you get started, but be sure to check out our blog for more information on improving business cybersecurity.