Nowadays, no matter what you do for a living, the establishment of a personal smaller business is a very troublesome process. Once you have built your small empire, you will certainly be very enthusiastic about having your own company, working for no one but yourself, and all the other convenient features that come with the joy of having a business of your own.

Now, imagine for a second that all your hard work, patience and money invested crumble to pieces along with your company in a single day. 

Why? Well, it probably wouldn’t be entirely your fault, but it would be your mistake if you didn’t think seriously about one of the greatest threats for small companies – Cyber Attacks.

Luckily, if you realize on time how many issues can these attacks cause you, and take some serious matters of precaution, you will be able to prevent these cyberbullies from damaging your business.

Why is Your Small Business Even a Target for Cyber Attacks?

Most owners of smaller companies never even ask this question. You are probably thinking about how if hackers are going to attack a company, it has to be a large international firm with a lot of digits on their accounts. 

Well, hackers do not choose their targets based on the amount of money on that target’s account, but by finding a poorly secured network which they can infiltrate easily, often without you even noticing it. Recent studies showed that, believe it or not, over 80% of hacker attacks had small companies as their target. That is why they need to pay attention to virtual data room security.

How to Educate Yourself to Be Prepared for These Attacks

It might not sound like it but one of the most effective ways to protect your company from a cyber attack is to get to know a little bit more about these attacks and learn how you and your employees should react in case they occur. 

There is a national cybersecurity convention which you can attend, and also an online manual on how to protect yourself and your company, but it will not be enough if only you are aware of this threat. You will probably have to educate your employees as well since you can’t always know what’s happening in your company or what your workers are doing. 

By educating your employees, you will significantly lower the chance of hacker’s success. You will also need to know which components of your business require your attention since there is no chance you will guess what besides the software itself is vulnerable without educating yourself.

Steps You Have to Take to Protect Your Data

This doesn’t simply mean that having a good quality antivirus will save you from malicious software. If you want to be thoroughly protected, there is a whole list of steps which you will have to take, so you can be sure that your data and software are protected:

1) Develop multifactor authentication in your company 

Sometimes, not even a strong password with a lot of characters is not enough to keep your software protected. The multifactor authentication system is a much more secure solution since by using it, your employees will have to enter another identifying code besides the password to log in to your system 

This way you will protect yourself from password hackers which would normally easily figure out all passwords to your network.

2) Encrypt your e-mails

Nearly half of cyber-attacks target emails that are without protection and therefore an easy task. If you encrypt your emails intercepting them will become much harder for hackers. 

It is also recommended to teach your workers to encrypt emails so when you are not in your business office they will shield your company from hacking. 

3) Always use a firewall on both hardware and software

A firewall is your first line of defense against these kinds of attacks so make sure you also have your hardware under firewall protection as well. 

Some people think how it is enough to install a software firewall but that is the common mistake considering that hackers know how to break into hardware as well.

4) Configure your wi-fi encryption

Your wi-fi network may be targeted for cyber-attacks. Hackers know that most businesses have their personal internet network, so if they choose you as their victim, they will most probably try to break into yours. 

Be sure to encrypt your wi-fi code and have your whole network hidden, since that way it will be harder to reach. You can also configure a different internet connection for your clients or guests, so your business network is only available to you.

5) Be careful with your bank processor

Have in mind that even your payment system can be under attack. That is why it is very smart to contact the Payment card industry security council to guide you through the process of securing your payment system. 

Using a card for means of payment is more often than paying with actual money nowadays, so you should take this matter seriously.

It is also very important to have your software updated regularly to its latest version just in case because even if you follow all these instructions if your system is not up to date, hackers will always find a hole in it.

6) Have Your Hardware Components Protected As Well

Not all of the hackers will be in pursuit of your money, some might have a personal thing with your company or even against you so they will find a way of getting to your customer data. If you put too much focus on having your software protected, you might miss some hardware attacks. In that case, you have to be prepared for that possibility as well.

The first step is to encode your hardware with strong passwords. If you have a lot of employees have them all put their unique personal passwords with as many characters possible. 

You can use a password manager to help your workers put the strongest passwords.  This way you will be vulnerable only for inside attacks, so maybe it is a good idea to have 24-hours surveillance all over your company. 

Cover every angle so if you get attacked even after securing all the hardware components, you will know who is responsible.

7) Encode all Your Data and Always Have a Copy of Your Files

Some criminals will be after your protected files to have an advantage over you. If you don’t protect yourself in time, they might be able to break into your files and request ransom money. Of course, they know that publishing your data online or giving it to certain people can hurt you and you will be forced to pay them.

The other scenario is that you might face a hacker who is not after money but will want to play with you by deleting your files for you to feel helpless because that is what empowers them. To be fully prepared, encrypt your data and always have it backed up. 

The easiest way to back up your data is to put it on Cloud storage, which is very developed these days and features multiple platforms where you can store your data. With the data encryption, it is not quite that easy but still, you can manage this. 

Consult with a good IT expert (if you don’t have IT staff) about measures to take when encrypting data. By doing this, you will have access to the encryption keys which should be regularly updated to make an almost flawless defense.

8) Get your Company Cyber-security Insured

Cybersecurity insurance might not be very affordable but represents a small price to pay if you think of it as necessary protection which will hopefully save you from having to pay much more for ransom. You can buy this insurance and rest with the ease that your files are safe. 

Considering that only about 10% of the world’s leading companies are cybersecurity insured and that the theft of company data files can cost you much more than the insurance itself, this is something you must do.

Conclusion 

In the end, the very least you can do is test if all the matters of precaution you took have an actual effect. The best way to do this is to run a risk assessment. In some countries like the UK, these assessments are free online, but either way, there are always some security scans that you can run. 

If you strictly follow all these rules, it might not mean that it will provide you with the sensation of complete safety. We live in the modern world where even the smallest businesses have their data online, on the drives or in their software, so it is easy for a hacker to think of new ways to break in your network. 

As a responsible company owner, it is up to you to follow these steps and at least do everything in your power to protect your property, in this case, your data.

Lori Wade

Lori Wade is a writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from business to entrepreneurship and new technologies. If you are interested in M&A or virtual data room industry, you can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn or find her on other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!