Brace yourself for some huge numbers!
It’s estimated that cybercriminals will steal more than 33 billion records by 2023. This will be a 175% increase in cybercrime.
Even worse, small businesses will be the most affected. Passwords aren’t enough – you need stronger IT security measures to prevent hacking of your business data.
The cybersecurity tips below will help you protect your livelihood. But it’s important to first understand why hackers target small businesses.
Why Hackers Attack Small Businesses
While most people think hackers primarily target larger enterprises, it’s actually the opposite. Large companies have invested heavily in their cybersecurity, making them almost hackproof.
Small businesses don’t have the financial capacity to acquire state-of-the-art cybersecurity systems. This makes them more vulnerable to hacking.
The sheer number of defenseless small enterprises is too tempting for hackers to ignore. But there are a few things you could do to mitigate the risk of hacking attacks.
8 Ways to Prevent Hacking
Check out these practical cybersecurity tips to save your business.
1. Choose a Good Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A house is only as strong as its doors – the same is true with your business’ ISP. When choosing an ISP, don’t only look at the price and connection speed.
With the numerous service providers in the market, it’s wise to get an internet package that comes with built-in security features.
It’s only after you’ve confirmed the ISP’s security reliability that you can consider the speed and affordability. Choose an ISP that checks all three criteria.
2. Train Your Employees on Cybersecurity
Protecting your business’ systems starts with an individual.
Train your employees on how to prevent hacking so that they won’t open the doors to the bad guys and let them walk away with valuable business data. This will help you reinforce your cybersecurity chain at every stage.
In fact, this is a more cost-effective measure of preventing hacking attacks for small businesses as they have fewer employees. Ensure your staff goes through top-notch cybersecurity courses like the CompTIA Security+ Certification offered by Alpine Security.
3. Consider System Hardening
System hardening is also known as security tightening. It involves activities such as deactivating unnecessary software which may create loopholes for simple hacks and configuring your operating system for maximum security.
Also, block suspicious sites on your network to reduce the chances of having your system attacked by spyware and viruses. Don’t forget to update your anti-virus software for optimum protection.
The system hardening process is usually carried out in phases to gradually reduce hacking exposure and increase on the defensive layers.
4. Encrypt Your Data
A whopping 84% of small enterprises believe their businesses are not valuable enough to get targeted for hacking. But what percentage of these companies actually store customer and employee data?
Sensitive information like your customers’ credit account numbers and your employees’ social security numbers are always at risk, regardless of how “invaluable” your business is.
In the event of a security breach, your employees, customers, and even business will suffer. To avoid going down this road, ensure all your data is encrypted.
To further protect your customers’ financial data, consider outsourcing your e-commerce to trusted sites like Google Checkout and PayPal.
5. Update Your Passwords with Two-Step Verification
Even with proper cybersecurity management, passwords can still be compromised through social engineering and password resetting. To stop hackers from accessing your business information with your passwords, Two-Step Authentication is necessary.
With this feature, if someone tries to access the company accounts from unknown devices, they’ll be asked for a separate verification code in addition to the required password. The verification codes are usually sent as SMSes or emails to registered phones or email accounts.
Two-Step Verification is especially important if you’re sharing passwords with some of your staff members.
6. Back up Data
Back up your data so you never lose it even in the worst case scenario. Backups are done through cloud computing store your data in multiple offsite servers for convenient access.
Daily data backups will allow you to recover everything up to a recent point. This is especially important if your business is at risk of ransomware attacks.
Instead of paying ransom for the stolen data, you’ll be able to access your data from a backed-up file in the cloud. Test your backup occasionally to ensure you can recover your data whenever you need it.
7. Hire “White Hat” Hackers
“White hat” hackers aren’t the typical malicious hackers – they’re the good hackers.
They perform sophisticated hacking tests to identify weak points on your security system. They’ll then provide solutions on how to prevent computer hackers depending on your security risks.
For best security practices, conduct routine “white hat” hacks and penetration tests.
8. Get a Cybersecurity Insurance
Insurance isn’t just for your home, cars, and health – you can also get a cybersecurity insurance for your small business.
While you hope your security system never fails you, you’ll be 100% on the safe side with an insurance cover. This way, if there’s a security breach in your company, you won’t be liable to pay tons of money in lawsuits. Your cyber liability insurance will cover for the loss.
Prevent Hacking the Right Way
As cybercrimes escalate, small businesses are increasingly becoming prime targets for hacking attacks. Cybersecurity has never been more urgent than now!
Fortunately, you can implement the simple and practical solutions above to prevent hacking.
But not all hacking attacks happen online. Most cyber-attacks occur when someone steals physical electronic devices from your business. To ensure nobody walks away with vital business data from your premises, physically lock down your computers when not in use.
For more information on how to improve the physical security of your small business, check out this blog.