If you own a small business in Connecticut you may be thinking you are too little for a hacker to bother with. Just the contrary, hackers love small businesses because few can afford the high priced security of a full time IT employee or IT service company. This means your payroll, client and employee personal information and accounting records are easy prey for a skillful hacker. Being proactive in your computer network security is crucial to protecting your business and your customers.
According to a survey done by the National Small Business Association, 94% of small business owners are very or somewhat concerned about cyber attacks, yet 1 in 4 have little or no understanding of cyber security. Unless your business is IT support chances are you won’t know much about computers beyond Microsoft Word and Excel and surfing the internet.
However, behind your firewall is valuable information that can be rendered useless if attacked by malware or a virus. As a business owner you owe it to yourself and your clients to prepare your system to defend against hackers.
You don’t need to be a tech wiz to protect your small business network from hackers and cyber attacks. Practicing some simple techniques can help cut down on the chances of your system being infected.
Guidelines for Internet Use – Even if you only have 3 or 4 employees it is essential that you express the importance of not visiting sites that are known for being harmful. Gambling, pharmaceutical and adult oriented web sites are well known for viruses and the less you visit these sites the less chance you have of being infected with malware.
Don’t Open Emails you don’t Recognize – A popular way for hackers to get into your system is by sending emails with attachments that contain a virus. Make sure your staff knows not to open any email they don’t recognize and to be wary of any email saying FREE or URGENT. These are well known tactics of hackers who prey on people’s curiosity and then slip in a virus.
Budget for IT Support – You don’t need to hire a full-time IT specialist or retain an IT company 24/7 to protect your network, but you do need to have your system checked periodically to ensure your software is up to date and you have the right programs to protect your data. Having a trained IT professional review your system once a month is better than nothing and can help you avoid costly attacks on your network from hackers.
Business Insurance – Insurance helps protect what matters most and with the right business insurance policy you can have peace of mind knowing you are covered. From business interruption that results from downtime to liability insurance, you should sit down with your local insurance representative and discuss the unique risks you face when it comes to cyber threats to get the coverage you need. You may also want to inquire about cyber endorsements for traditional business insurance policies.