Online Security Know-Hows for Small Business Owners

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Negosentro.comOnline Security Know-Hows for Small Business Owners Almost 70% of small businesses deal with cyber attacks, and nearly half of them have no idea how to protect their networks and data. In fact, it seems that many of them lack the resources to deal with cyber attacks.

It’s scary, I know, but don’t worry – there are ways you can keep your business safe.

First Things First – What Online Threats Do You Face as an SMB Owner?

Here’s a quick overview of the main dangers your business faces on the web:

Malware

Malware attacks are one of the main ways cybercriminals compromise business networks nowadays. In fact, in 2019, destructive malware attacks increased by a whopping 200%!

What’s more, hackers now use machine learning and AI to develop malware strains that can continuously evolve. That allows them to evade detection for longer, causing significant damage to your network.

It’s gotten to the point where malware can:

  • Impersonate approved users.
  • Collect info on targets with ease.
  • Automate malware exploitation activity.

Also, hackers like to use ransomware a lot – one in five SMBs fall victim to ransomware attacks quite often.

Phishing Attacks

Back in 2018, around 76% of businesses reported being the victims of phishing attacks. 

Cybercriminals often target employees with phishing emails or vishing calls, usually impersonating a higher-up or a customer to gain access to sensitive information.

And that kind of data breach causes serious damage – up to $2.5 million for SMBs to be precise, with the average being around $200,000 (more than enough to put your company out of business).

DDoS Attacks

Back in 2017, approximately 33% of businesses were hit by DDoS attacks. What’s more, DDoS damages have risen significantly for SMBs.

That’s no surprise.

A DDoS attack causes extreme inconvenience for your customers – it takes your entire network down, and makes your service unusable. 

If you run a B2B model, that can be devastating.

Careless Employees

Employees might accidentally reveal too much information about where they work on social media, making them a prime target for cybercriminals, who later target them with phishing attacks.

What’s more, employees can also endanger your company network when they remotely connect to it using unsecured WiFi – like when they’re accessing customer accounts or work files from the coffee shop where they take their lunch break.

Unfortunately, unsecured WiFi is a hacker’s dream. They can easily monitor and intercept your employees’ traffic, stealing sensitive information (like login credentials and customer info) in the process.

How to Protect Your Small Business from Online Security Threats

Here’s exactly what you need to use to make sure your SMB’s network is safe from hackers and other dangers:

1. A VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A VPN is an SMB’s best friend because it encrypts Internet traffic, making it completely indecipherable. If anyone tries to sneak a peek, they’ll only see gibberish.

Because of that, VPNs should be mandatory for your employees when they remotely access your network. If they use a VPN, hackers can no longer exploit unsecured WiFi networks to monitor what they communicate with your servers.

Also, a VPN can better secure your VoIP traffic, making conversations with employees, partners, stakeholders, and clients more private. Don’t forget – the protocol VoIP apps normally use (SIP) wasn’t built with security in mind. Cybercriminals can actually hack it since it somewhat resembles HTML to a certain extent.

Besides that, a VPN also hides your employees’ IP addresses. So, hackers can’t use them to find out things like what country and city your business is from, who your ISP is, and what your ZIP code is.

Also, your competitors will no longer track your IP addresses to keep tabs on your research and marketing strategies.

A VPN, like Cyberghost’s service, would be an excellent choice in this case – the provider offers multiple simultaneous connections (seven), router support, thousands of servers (5,000+), and military-grade encryption.

2. Password Managers

Around 81% of data breaches occur due to weak passwords.

It’s not exactly shocking why. Many employees don’t take cybersecurity seriously enough – almost 35% of them don’t bother changing their work email passwords in the past year. 

What’s more, a lot of employees use the same passwords they use at home. And since 86% of people’s passwords are just terrible, it’s not like they’re being very thorough.

Now, it is true that coming up with a very strong password can be tough – not to mention your employees will need a different one for each account. Also, they’ll need to change them regularly AND also keep track of them all.

That gets tiring and complicated fast, but there is an easy fix: a password manager.

Essentially, it’s software that stores all passwords in one digital, encrypted vault. You only need one master password to access and change them.

Best of all – password managers normally have auto-fill features, meaning they automatically fill in the login fields without your employees having to type anything. So, you won’t need to worry about hackers or rogue employees planting keyloggers on your computers to steal company data.

3. Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security on all your employees’ accounts. 

Basically, to complete the login process, they will need to enter a randomly generated code (alongside their login credentials) that’s either sent through SMS or generated by an app (like Google Authenticator).

That way, even if a cybercriminal manages to steal an employee’s password somehow, they wouldn’t get to do much with it without also having access to the employee’s mobile device (which normally receives the randomly-generated code).

And if you can implement multi-factor authentication on your company’s intranet and within your services, it’s even better.

4. Antivirus/Antimalware Protection

All the precautions I mentioned until now are extremely useful, but if you don’t secure your devices with antivirus/antimalware programs, hackers can still wreak havoc with malware.

So be sure to install security software on all devices – including the router. And keep the software and your OSs up-to-date all the time.

Great security solutions include ESET, Norton, and Malwarebytes.

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