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How to protect your small business from cyberattacks

two employees discuss cyber security while in front of a computer

In today’s predominantly digital landscape, small businesses need to protect themselves against cybersecurity attacks – especially in a post-pandemic world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further pushed organizations to move operations online and adopt enhanced digital processes – making them more vulnerable to security threats.

Small businesses are even more susceptible to hackers and attacks due to a lack of resources and knowledge compared to their larger counterparts.

In 2021, 41% of small businesses that suffered a cyberattack reported that it cost them at least $100,000, up from 37% in 2019.

Here are five ways to protect your small business from cybersecurity threats and attacks.

1. Educate your employees 

Whether you have five or 50 employees, educating them on best practices is a great preventative measure.

Your employees are your first line of defense, and the more aware they are of potential threats and fraudulent messages, the safer your data and business will be.

Hackers target employees through phishing emails, urgent gift card requests and other targeted attacks, so ensuring they are aware of these common scams will be another layer of protection.

2. Secure your Wi-Fi 

Ensuring that company devices are connected to a secure wireless network is important, whether your employees work in the office or remotely.

Most Wi-Fi equipment is not yet secure during the initial setup since it can be accessed through a default password. To secure your Wi-Fi, make sure your network is encrypted and hidden with a unique password. One of the most secure kinds of passwords is a Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) code.

In addition to securing your wireless network, you’ll want to hide your network from the public so your router doesn’t broadcast your network name. To do this, set up your wireless access pointer or router to hide your Service Set Identifier (SSID), also known as your network name.

3. Provide firewall security 

In addition to securing your Wi-Fi, providing firewall security is another measure to help keep your business safe.

A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing your data and information on a private network.

To best protect your business, make sure that your operating systems’ firewall is enabled.

4. Enable two-factor authentication 

While two-factor authentication can seem like a hassle to go through every time you log in, it does provide a safeguard against hackers.

Two-factor authentication doesn’t cost your business extra but provides that additional layer of protection. Many of today’s commonly used business platforms, including MailChimp, Instagram and Outlook, already offer two-factor authentication.

5. Encrypt and back up your data 

In the unfortunate case when a cyberattack does happen, an effective strategy to protect your business is to encrypt your data to prevent anyone who gains access to it from rendering it.

Another thing you can do is back up your data and store it separately so you can quickly and easily restore it.

Published on April 14, 2022.