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Small Business Owners: Ignore These Cyber Security Tips at Your Own Peril

Data theft and other cyber crimes are on the rise, making it important for SMB owners to start following cyber security best practices. Many SMB owners don’t have the knowledge or time to develop a cybersecurity plan, so we are here to help.

Cyber security doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to be effective. SMB owners can implement these straightforward policies and practices below to improve security without making life too hard or adding many new business expenses.

Train your employees

You’ll need to teach your employees about cyber security best practices. If you have a large team or a lot of remote workers, then think about using online training tools. Look for vendors that offer custom elearning development, so you can create training best suited to your workforce.

Lock computers when away from your desk

Locking your computer when you step away is one of the easiest ways to improve cyber security. It removes the risk of someone seeing something they shouldn’t or snooping through your files while you’re in a meeting or grabbing something to drink.

Set your computer to lock after two minutes of no activity and insist that all your employees do the same.

Use strong passwords

Ensure that you and your employees are using passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, capitalization, and special characters. You also want the passwords to be unique and not obviously related to a person’s life. Avoid birthdays, nicknames, children’s names and other things that can be guessed.

If your employees can’t come up with strong passwords, then start using a password generator.

Install firewall software

A good firewall will keep many security threats from ever reaching your network. You also gain the tools to limit the sites that your employees can access at work, and block IP addresses or domains that are known to deliver malware.

Use anti-virus software

Keep trojan horses and other data-stealing software off your system by installing and regularly updating your antivirus software. Every employee should have up-to-date virus scanning and protection software on their electronic devices.

Setup anti-virus software to download and install updates during off-hours, so you don’t have to depend on employees to remember updates or take time out of their days to install them.

Encrypt sensitive information

Add an additional layer of protection to your most sensitive information by encrypting documents and their folders. Many cloud storage services offer basic encryption, but there is nothing wrong with getting even more protection.

There are many services that will allow you to encrypt documents including email. Some are cloud-based while others require software to be installed. Do a little research and you’ll find one that meets your budget and security needs.

Keep software up-to-date

Everyone complains about software patches and updates, but they are essential to cyber security. Updates remove known security flaws and often remove vulnerabilities before they become widely-known or exploited. Almost every update from Windows, Apple or Google Android includes security improvements, so don’t neglect to install them.

Separate guest & employee Internet connections

If you regularly host non-employees for meetings or offer public wifi, then it’s important to keep your business data separate from everything else. Setup a guest network or guest credentials that visitors can use for internet access. This extra layer or security will make it harder for cyber criminals to get onto your network and snoop around.
There is always more you can do to help keep your business secure and ensure that steady growth continues happening, but this list will let you thwart the most common ways that hackers gain access.

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