While small businesses and entrepreneurial startups used to just plan for operational launch functions like obtaining funding, hiring staff, and attracting customers, cybercrime has made cybersecurity a new necessity. While all companies need to take cybersecurity protection measures, it’s even more critical if you work in IT or handle sensitive information. Read on for some tips courtesy of Smart Girl Brand.
What Is Cybercrime?
The term “cybercrime” covers a variety of topics, including data breaches, network infiltrations and shutdowns, installation of ransomware and viruses, and theft of data and other company and client information. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this type of criminal activity is continuing to expand. Some efforts are minimal — amateurs looking to create small-scale headaches by slowing a site; others are more sinister, damaging, and costly to recover from. To protect yourself and your customers, it’s important to not only take preventative measures but have a solid recovery plan in place, should you need it.
What’s at Risk?
Understand that different types of cybercrime carry different risks. For example, one type of crime involves infiltrating business email for illicit purposes. Some cybercriminals target vulnerable populations — like seniors — with scams. Spoofing and phishing are ways criminals mislead internet users into thinking they’re a reputable or trusted source, only to steal or otherwise compromise sensitive data and information. Identity theft is another type of cybercrime that has the potential to disrupt business, impact finances, and even ruin an individual’s or company’s reputation.
Protection and Recover
Small businesses may think they can’t afford cybersecurity measures, but in reality, you can’t afford not to take proactive steps to protect yourself. Regularly back up your data and then back it up again — all on a regular basis. Having multiple layers of protection in your data systems and your IT infrastructure is critical, as is testing its effectiveness frequently.
When you have more than one layer of infrastructure protection and you have a system that allows you to manage your data through a single interface, you enjoy a greater degree of protection. Additionally, using a process map to organize your project will allow you to better analyze and understand every aspect of your business – which gives you an edge when facing the unknown.
If the worst happens, and you’re hit with a cyberattack, you may find yourself in crisis mode. Seeking the help of a cybersecurity professional and having a plan for recovery will help minimize damage and you get back on your feet in no time. Look for a plan that’s easy to put in place, doesn’t break your budget, is secure, and gives you the flexibility that your operation needs. A solid plan should also include a crisis communication protocol in the event you need to disclose a cyber-hack to impacted clients or customers.
Training Your Employees
You and your employees can be proactive about reducing the potential for cyber-hacks. Start by developing best practices around procedures like how you create, store, and share information. According to Cybernews, discuss the need for hard-to-decipher passwords that are changed on a regular basis, and consider requiring the use of dual authentication when logging into the company network. Staffers should also know how to protect information on work devices and what steps they need to take if they become aware of a hack or if a device is lost or stolen.
Running an entrepreneurial endeavor is challenging under the best of circumstances, and if you aren’t familiar with the potential threat of cybercriminal activity, it can be overwhelming to consider the protection you need. Use the tips above to protect you and your business.
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