A small business is more vulnerable to all kinds of perils than larger businesses. Now with more transactions taking place online, small businesses have to make themselves available for consumers who prefer the convenience of the Internet. However, this means that smaller businesses may be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Fortunately, there are several steps small businesses can take in order to protect themselves from the many different types of cyber attacks that can occur every day.
Anti-virus software often presents the first line of defense in protecting a small business against cyber attacks. Viruses and malware can infect computers and other devices in a number of ways. Spam emails and harmful websites often contain malware that are not only annoying but can also damage the hard drives of computers and devices. There are also other forms of malware that can record information such as keystrokes and login information that hackers use to infiltrate systems.
This is why it is important to have a reliable anti-virus software program to stop these problems before they begin. When looking for the right program, it is crucial to make sure it is compatible with the device’s operating system as well as with a particular device. The program also needs to work in the background so that it does not interfere with the running of the system.
Of course, a good security system needs to include encryption system. While encryption is important in protecting financial information, it is just as important to use it to protect all sensitive information that hackers can use to commit all kinds of crimes including identity theft. Many operating systems already come with standard full-disk encryption tools, but many only work when users are logged out of their machines. However, there are also many other outside systems available.
Locking and Securing the Network
Locking a network also helps to protect against cyber attacks. Many hackers attack systems via WiFi systems with a method called wardriving. When systems are unlocked or otherwise not protected properly, hackers can scan for vulnerable systems with high-powered antennae. Once they find a vulnerability, they can search the system for all kinds of information including passwords, financial data and other sensitive data.
This is also why it is a good idea to physically lock down computers in case a hacker gets physical access to a device. Feeding a cable through a computer’s Kensington lock port slows down thieves and sometimes acts as a deterrent for a thief. Tracking software can also help in the case that computers or other devices are stolen. One of the advantages of tracking software is that it works covertly, so a thief may not take precautions as the machine is tracked.
Training employees so that they understand the importance of preventing possible cyber attacks can help stop problems before they start. A periodic visit from an IT expert can keep everyone involved in the business aware of possible threats and help everyone take steps to prevent them. Companies should also set policies in place regarding personal interactions on company devices and prohibiting other online activities.
There are many other ways to prevent cyber attacks on a small business that may be especially vulnerable without the resources of a larger company. However, there are measures even small companies can take in order to keep their businesses safe from hackers and other threats. While anti-virus software, encryption programs and tracking software can go a long way toward preventing these attacks, it also helps to have employees who understand the importance of taking proper precautions against potential cyber threats.
About the Author: William Stevens is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to technology. In this article, he offers security advice to small businesses and aims to encourage further study with an information security masters.
Photo credit: Brian Klug