Every small business with an online presence has the potential of becoming a target for cyber attacks. Hackers have the ability to hijack and hold websites for ransom or steal customers’ personal information. Small to medium-sized businesses stand out as easy targets for hackers because the websites usually offer less security protection and fewer resources dedicated to cybersecurity. According to Hiscox, an insurance provider, approximately only 52% of small businesses have a strategy around cybersecurity. Because of this insignificant percentage, 71% of cyber-attacks happen at businesses with less than 100 employees according to the U.S. Congressional Small Business Committee. To avoid security breaches and irreversible consequences of cyberattacks, check out our five tips to protect your website from cyber attacks:
Create a Cybersecurity Plan
In order to avoid any security threats, you must create a cybersecurity plan. Creating an action plan and incident response strategy is a great way to be proactive and ready for the worst-case scenario. First, you should create a secured document that will be shared with all of the relevant contacts at your company. This document should include every person who plays a role in your plans, such as the company’s owner or CEO, along with external contacts such as web support providers and tech support. The document should include all relevant contact information that can be easily accessible in the event of a cyber attack. All of the contacts on this document should be immediately informed in the case of a security breach as the first step in responding to the incident. Additionally, you should include:
- A list of potential threats
- Where data all relevant data backups are stored
- When to contact law enforcement
Additionally, The Federal Communications Commission offers a great cyber planner tool to help small-medium-sized businesses create a plan to protect their business from security threats.
Provide Employees with Proper Cybersecurity Training
This is one of the most overlooked, yet simple steps that you can take to help protect your business from cyberattacks. Ensuring that your employees understand all of your company’s security policies and procedures is crucial to the safety of your business and its website. To train your employees on this important initiative, schedule semi-yearly courses to highlight the importance of website security and protection. Semi-yearly may seem unnecessary to some. However, these courses will help your employees understand the importance of cybersecurity and the numerous negative implications of a possible security breach.
Plan for Mobile Devices
It’s 2021 and nearly all employees routinely access corporate data from the convenience of their smartphones. This sounds like a great advancement, however, during the times of COVID-19, hackers understand that most employees have been working from home and therefore are spending an increasing amount of time on their mobile devices. Despite spending more time accessing work information from smartphones, businesses are not taking the same precautions as they may on traditional computers. Your company’s password policy should apply to all mobile devices that have access to the company’s network and important accounts. Implement security practices for mobile devices and do not let hackers take advantage of you or your business.
Increase Your Email Security
It may seem like common knowledge, but basic email safety precautions can make a substantial difference in terms of your company’s cybersecurity. Phishing attacks often involve the installation of malware on the victim’s computer when a link is clicked or opened. Email safety precautions include:
- Deleting suspicious attachments or links
- Encrypting documents so that both contacts need a passcode to open it
- Installing anti-malware software on all devices
Do not assume that your employees know to discard these suspicious emails. Include this component in your semi-annual training to prevent irreversible damage from occurring.
Implement Safe Password Practices
Do not underestimate the power of your password! Weak or stolen passwords are the cause of more than 80% of cyberattacks targeted at businesses. Employees should create long, unique passwords that cannot be easily guessed. Brute-force hacks are cyberattacks that use trial-and-error with as many username and password combinations as possible to guess an employee’s login credentials. A great way to prevent this from occurring is to utilize the multi-factor identification settings. It’s a simple, yet effective way to provide an extra layer of protection. One suggestion is to use employees’ cell numbers as the second form of identification. Multi-factor authentication will make brute-force attacks nearly impossible.
Protect your small business by taking these steps and creating a safer environment for your business. Remember, it’s better to take these initiatives and prevent attacks from occurring than it is to do damage control.