Broadband and information technology are powerful tools for small businesses to reach new markets and increase sales and productivity. However, cybersecurity threats are real and businesses should use the best tools to protect themselves, their customers and their data.
Here are 10 key tips for small businesses:
1. Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
2. Protect information, computers and networks from cyber attacks by using the latest security software, web browser and operating system.
3. Provide firewall security which prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network.
4. Require mobile users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks.
5. Regularly back up the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files and accounts receivable/payable files. Store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.
6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended.
7. Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure, encrypted and hidden. To hide it, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name. Password protect access to the router.
8. Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs, and dont use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
9. Limit employee access to data they need for their job, and limit authority to install software.
10. Require employees to use unique passwords, and change passwords every three months.
Source: Federal Communications Commission