Cybersecurity Matters, Even to Fountain Hills, AZ Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you probably give very little thought to cybersecurity. After all, criminals are after big-time information from online giants like Amazon and Bank of America, right? Actually, while mega corporations are targets, it’s the “mom-and-pop shops” that bear the brunt of digital crimes.
How much do you know about cybersecurity? If the answer is, “not much,” these tips from the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce can get you up to speed.
Who’s at Risk?
Before we get into the threats, let’s take a look at the types of businesses that are most at risk. According to some experts, general businesses, including e-commerce and retail, are definitely threatened. In 2017 alone, 14 million small businesses experienced a cybersecurity breach, according to RedTeam Security. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what type of business you run, if any aspect of your business is handled online, then you are at risk.
Something else to touch on before getting into the gory details is that there are ways to protect your business. Even if you don’t have experience in IT or cybersecurity, you can keep everything from your networks and mobile devices to your employees’ computers and even thumb and USB drives safe.
Start by investing in software and solutions, especially cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, employee training, and secured Wi-Fi networks. For instance, if you have DSL internet, you can upgrade to a more secure modem with a built-in firewall. You might also consider outsourcing your digital security to a managed IT service, or finding IT and development professionals.
Train your employees on some small, but effective, defense strategies. For instance, make sure that everyone can identify fraudulent emails and phishing schemes. And teach everyone how to convert file types and password protect them. Since a PDF is less easily modified and more easily protected, let everyone know that you can convert PDF to doc when needed. Conversion is especially important if staff will be sending sensitive information through email or other digital channels. To convert a file, simply add it to the drop zone and select the desired file type. Then, to password protect the PDF, choose Protect from under the Tools menu. Then find Encrypt, and then Encrypt with Password. With those few simple steps you can increase security for sensitive files.
Types of Cyber Threat
Even if you pay someone to keep your systems safe, it’s wise to understand the types of threats your business faces every day. These include:
DDoS. A DDoS, or distributed denial of service, is a type of attack that creates such a strain on your network that your site can’t respond. This is problematic for business owners because it means your customers can’t reach your website.
Phishing. The oldest trick in the book, phishing involves tricking a human into doling out sensitive information, such as account numbers or system passwords. These often come in the form of an email, phone call, or text message from a “trusted” source, such as company leadership. However, instead of being the person they claimed on the other end, it’s a cyber pirate eager to collect his digital bounty.
SQL Injection. Like Phishing, SQL injection attacks have been around for years. This uses malicious SQL code that can result in unauthorized access to your company’s private information. According to California-based cybersecurity firm Imperva, there are many ways to reduce your chances of being a victim of an SQL injection, including insisting on input validation and specific types of firewalls.
Password attacks. If you think your passwords are going to protect your databases, you’re very likely wrong. Although a strong password is a great first line of defense, these can be cracked easily by brute force, which is often sophisticated software designed specifically for the job.
Implement Cybersecurity Practices
A cyber attack can cost you more than you know. In addition to losing revenue, you potentially face losing the trust of your customers. The best way to avoid the negative effects of a cybersecurity incident is to take proactive measures. For small businesses that aren’t up to date with current best IT and cybersecurity practices, this means outsourcing or hiring a consultant to ensure you are fully equipped for battle in the digital age. Use whatever tools are available to you to keep your business, and your customers, safe.
Membership in the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce offers invaluable benefits to entrepreneurs in our community. Join us today!
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