Dear Doctor Digital, I’ve heard about small businesses that are being compromised by hackers and cyber goons from the dark web! Is my business really at risk?
The Internet in its broadest sense is the Swiss army knife of business tools. All business at the least use email, some of their functions tied up with the cloud, or Point of Sale (POS) and many have their whole business built around a digital landscape. As we all become more enmeshed with online as a place for our business operations, whether front or back of house, macro or micro it is important to be across how to not just do good business online, but how to do safe business on line.
Cyber attacks on small business fall under a few different categories. These tend to mimic the same strategies used with big business and government. You may wonder what your small or micro business could possibly have that would be of interest to cyber criminals hanging out in the dark web. The answer is the same thing that motivates all criminal activity – money. While you may be a little fish, when data for instance is stolen from a number of little businesses, that small fish adds up to a big school, and as mentioned previously, most small businesses don’t have the security in place big ones do, so to horribly mix a metaphor, its like stealing candy from a fish bowl.
Cyber attacks have happened to some of Australia’s biggest and most secure organisations. When those organisations don’t succeed at fending off attacks, it can seem overwhelming for a small business to know where to start and what to do. Learning about trends in cyber security can help you protect all the hard work and other resources required for running your business. Here is your critical checklist of do’s and don’ts when it comes to keeping your small business safe from unwanted cyber attacks, hacks and human threats!
- No Unknown Downloads. Make a rule against downloading files from
- Check Your Firewalls. Make sure
everything is up-to-date on all machines.
- Use current virus protection on all devices. Keep it current and updated whenever new patches
- Insist upon strong passwords!
- Update your operating
system regularly. This is
especially important when new security patches come out. Many computers do
this automatically, but make sure you have the auto update function turned
on so you don’t miss out.
- Use a virtual private
network (VPN). These connect you to the web with an encrypted
connection so data being shared online can’t be seen by third parties. VPN
providers offer secure data connections between remote workers and your
network too, which can be especially helpful if you send workers into the
field (for deliveries or repairs, for example).
- Make sure mobile devices
used for work are secure. Don’t store
important passwords on any mobile device. Learn how to use remote wipe
capability on your phones and tablets.
- Disaster Recovery plan. Not having one is a disaster. By thinking through the
critical elements of your business that could be compromised, and what the
damage may be, you can apply the fixes and antidotes before it happens –
and have a plan of attack when it does.
- People are flawed. Yes, even you. So don’t assume everyone is doing the
right thing, and be actively alert and across your staff, their actions
and all elements of your business and give them adequate security
- Outsource overwhelm. All too hard? There are plenty of companies and consultants who will happily come in, audit your business and provide solutions. Whether it is your time and money or their time and your money, this is a non negotiable expense that will save you far more than it will cost in the long run.
To find out more about how you can keep
your small business on top of Internet security, read our Internet Security for Small
Business Factsheet here.