Protect Your Small Business from Online Criminals

Cyber crimes targeting small businesses rarely make the headlines, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a popular target for online criminals.
If anything, small businesses are a target of choice because, compared to large corporations, they typically have weaker cyber security and more accessible assets.
There are some simple steps you can take to protect your personal cyber security. Although most of them are common sense, it makes it more difficult for criminals to access your data, making you a less attractive target.

1. Be Cyber Secure

All small businesses with an internet connection need antivirus software and firewalls, even if you never conduct any of your operations or administration online.
It’s also wise to ensure your data is securely backed up, encrypted, and password protected. The financial losses to a small business whose accounts are hacked, or customer information stolen and sold, can be devastating.

2. Always Update

Small businesses can be slow to upgrade software to the latest version, or replace outdated programs with new ones. In some cases, doing so can appear to be more hassle than it’s worth but that is rarely accurate.
In many cases, software is updated with the sole purpose of protecting against a current threat from online criminals. Missing or even just delaying one of these security updates can leave you – and your customers – exceptionally vulnerable.

3. Plan Ahead

Develop an incident response plan that clearly defines each of your employees’ roles should your small business suffer a cyber crime or data breach. Run through it with your employees, educate them about safe online practices and how to be on the lookout for potential online criminals.
Your small business can be targeted in the most unexpected ways. An employee may post on Facebook that she lost her wallet on vacation down south. An acquaintance of hers on Twitter might have friends in that area and post asking for them to look for it. A cyber criminal might Google her, see where she works, and send her an email telling her that her wallet has been found, they have her corporate credit card, what are the last four digits just to confirm she is the legitimate owner?
These are the sneaky ways that online criminals will try to trick you and even your most tech savvy employees. Planning ahead is critical.
For more information about protecting the finances of your small business, call (514) 227-2700.

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