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Small Business Cyber Security Basics

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Our world relies heavily on technology and the Internet. Criminals target companies of all sizes, including small businesses. Knowing a few security basics can help you protect your business and even reduce the risk of your business falling victim to a cyber criminal’s attacks.

 

Below are six key areas to focus on to help make your business more secure:

 

1.) Require strong passwords on everything

Strong passwords are at least 12 characters long and are a mix of numbers, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters. Use strong passwords for all laptops, tablets, computers, and smartphones owned or used by your company and your employees. Make sure that no one leaves any of these devices unattended in public places. Never reuse old passwords and never share passwords in texts or by email. Make sure that you also limit the number of unsuccessful log-in attempts to limit password-guessing attacks.

 

2.) Use multi-factor authentication

Require multi-factor authentication to access areas of your network with sensitive information. This requires additional steps beyond logging in with a password such as a temporary code on a smartphone or a key that’s inserted into a computer.

 

3.) Secure your router

Make sure that you change the default name and password that comes pre-installed on your router. Make sure that you also turn off remote management and log out as the administrator once the router is set up. Make sure your router offers WPA2 or WPA3 encryption, and that it’s turned on. Encryption protects information sent over your network so it can’t be read by outsiders. If you do not know how to do this we recommend getting in touch with a reputable tech company to take care of this for you.

 

4.) Keep all software up to date

Make sure that all of your devices are setup to automatically update when an update becomes available. This includes any apps, programs, web browsers, hardware, and operating systems.

 

5.) Secure all of your files

Backup all important files offline – either on an external hard drive or in the cloud. Make sure that the offline backup is secured with a strong password. Make sure you store all of your sensitive paper files securely. Also, make sure that you encrypt the data on devices and other media that contain sensitive personal information. This includes laptops, tablets, smartphones, removable drives, backup tapes, and storage solutions.

 

6.) Train your staff

Create a culture in your company of security by implementing a regular schedule of employee training and make sure that you keep your employees updated as you find out about new risks and vulnerabilities.

 

 

Most importantly, make sure that you have a plan in place just in case you do experience a breach. You will need to get backups online quickly so you can get back to work as well as notify any customers who may also be impacted. The FTC’s Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business gives you steps that you can take.

 

Again, cyber security is increasingly important in our world. If you are uncomfortable or lack the knowledge to implement security at your company we highly recommend hiring a professional technology company to keep your information secure.

VAMBOA cyber security

Cyberattacks against private businesses and the government,  including hacks, seem to be on the rise. The recent hacks of Home Depot, Target, Sony Entertainment and the U.S. military’s Central Command have heightened our need to safeguard our cyber presence against potential threats. Our online information, records and documents, in both the government and private business sectors, are at constant risk.

Small businesses are increasingly becoming more of a target for criminals looking to access sensitive data because attackers know that small businesses tend to have limited resources dedicated to their cyber security.

The protection of sensitive data, such as business invoices, client and employee data, payroll records, and other proprietary information is essential to the security, and ultimate success, of a small business. Much like installing locks and other physical security measures, it is imperative that business owners learn how to identify vulnerabilities in their cyber security that could potentially put their firms at risk.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has taken steps to strengthen its public and private sector partnerships on cyber security. The aim of the SBA is to help small businesses learn how to guard against cyberattacks, secure their business information, and identify security threats.

Providing the protective tools and techniques needed to maintain and guard business information and systems, the SBA has developed a free online course called Cybersecurity for Small Businesses to help educate business owners as to how to secure their online information. The information also assists in the evaluation and usage of security tools and techniques.

The SBA has previously conducted cybersecurity workshops for small business owners across the country in partnership with the FBI and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The program was renewed in December 2014, and the SBA is in the process of coordinating the 2015 calendar of workshops.

The SBA’s cyber security programs are in line with President Obama’s newly announced legislative proposal, a program that will facilitate seamless sharing of information about cyber security vulnerabilities, and potential hacks between government and private business websites.

In a recent statement, President Obama said, “Our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business CoachingContracting Opportunities, aBlog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans.Join Now!

VAMBOA: SBA Offers Cyber Security Resources to Business Owners: By Debbie Gregory

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