Small business owners have traditionally been complacent about security, believing they are not a priority for hackers. Unfortunately, this misconception has created a golden opportunity for hackers to target small businesses. Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report found that 43% of cyber-attacks are targeting small businesses, increasing from 18% in 2011. Despite this, only 34% identify hacking as a major concern.
Due to their size, small businesses have generally believed that they are not at risk of being attacked online but with the rise in attacks specifically targeting small businesses, is it time for business owners to seriously consider online security as a major priority and actively create a protection strategy?
When it comes to online security, here are five tips for SMBs to protect themselves online:
1. Invest in site protection and back up
Investing in effective site protection and backup systems is the most important first step in protecting your business against hackers. A good site protection system will be able to identify malware and security holes that could leave your website vulnerable to security threats. Putting in place a strong backup solution will ensure that vital data is not lost in the case of a security breach or online malfunction.
2. Develop a password strategy
Ensuring your business has a strong and effective password strategy will add an additional layer of protection onto your online resources. Use unique passwords for all devices and programs and be sure to change all passwords every 90 days.
3. Understand the threats your business faces
Educating yourself of the breaches your business could face online will allow you to develop an effective online protection strategy. It is important to know where your business may be vulnerable or what threats are facing the online market as this will give you an indication of whether your business may be at risk.
4. Keep up to date
It is important to ensure that all operating systems are up to date as programs are constantly finding new ways to keep their users secure. If you leave programs to outdate, you are risking new and improved hacking skills breaching the old system.
5. Don’t be complacent
It is vital that all small businesses are aware that no matter their size or online capabilities, they are still at risk of being attacked online. Education should come from the top down, so that each employee knows the risks small businesses face online and the techniques put in place to protect them. For the two million small to medium businesses in Australia, the message is clear: nobody is adverse to security breaches.
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