Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Cybersecurity is a hot topic! There have been several large security breeches that have affected millions of consumers in recent years.

In 2013, Target Stores suffered an attack that revealed credit card numbers and personal information of millions of people to cybercriminals.  Most recently, consumers scrambled to change passwords after a cyber attack on media giant Yahoo. But cybersecurity concerns aren’t just for big companies. According to a report by Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute, 50 percent of small businesses have been breached in the past 12 months.

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September is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This time is designed to engage and educate with tools and resources needed to stay safe online. Here’s information you need to know along with helpful resources.

What is Cyber Security?

According to Wikipedia, computer security, also known as cybersecurity or IT security, is the protection of information systems from theft or damage to the hardware, the software and to the information on them.

Cybersecurity strategies include controlling physical access to the hardware as well as protecting against harm that may come via network access. Security breaches can happen due to malpractice by operators, whether intentional or accidental. Users can also be tricked into deviating from secure procedures.

Consider the Cloud

Cost effective, convenient and safe, cloud computing is the best way to manage your data and access it from anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. To learn more about cloud computing, read this SmartBiz blog post: Your Small Business: Four Important Reasons to Embrace the Cloud. However, making sure your important information is saved in the cloud isn’t a solution to avoid cyber crime. Make sure you back up all of your data regularly and pay for premium security.

Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

MFA means that you and your employees will be required to enter two forms of authentication instead of just one. You can do this immediately for your personal and business accounts. Look at your security settings and require your employees to enter their cell phone number as a second factor after they’ve entered their password.


Train Your Team

Create a cybersecurity policy and share with your employees. Hold regular workshops outlining threats that you might face and how your employees can thwart cyber attacks. Prevention is the best strategy.

Call in an Expert

Like plumbing and electrical work, you sometimes need to call in an expert. If you need to test a new site or conduct risk assessment, contact an expert to make sure your data is secure.

Additional Information

The Small Business Administration has an excellent list of tips to help you keep your company and data safe here: Top Ten Cybersecurity Tips. Strategies include educating employees about cyber threats and holding them accountable as well as establishing security practices and policies to protect sensitive information.

Additional resources are available from the office of Homeland Security. The Stop.Think.Connect.Toolkit is filled with tips, fact sheets, and shareable resources. Access the kit here: