It seems like every year there’s a news story about a major retailer getting hacked and their customers’ personal data being compromised. Often these stories come around the holidays, but cyberattacks aren’t isolated to just the biggest shopping season or the goliaths of retail. In fact, small businesses (<1,000 employees) are much more likely to be targeted for cyberattacks and other security breaches than big businesses.1
With only two percent of business owners taking proactive measures to protect themselves and their customers, over 14 million U.S. businesses are susceptible to hacker threats.1 Don’t want to be one of them? Use one (or more) of these solutions to help improve your small business security.
Plan Your Path to Security
If you’re just starting to put together your security plan for your small business, the Federal Communication Commission’s Small Business Cyber Planner is a fantastic place to start. Select the categories that apply to your business and generate a personalized plan that addresses all your areas of concern. Here is a list of the areas they address:
- Privacy and data security
- Scams and fraud
- Network security
- Website security
- Mobile devices
- Facility security
- Operational security
- Payment cards
- Incident response and reporting
- Policy development and management
Find the Right Tools to Help
Once you have a better understanding of the type of security you need, it’s time to look for the tools that will help you accomplish your security goals. Whether it be monitoring services, malware protection or more, there are several options out there to cover your needs.
- Comodo (Free): Don’t let the non-existent cost scare you away — this award-winning security provider has many of the tools most small business owners need at a great price point.
- ESET ($39.99 – $79.99): A multi-layered security system, ESET works with Google to halt dangerous malware. While the cost is higher than Comodo, it will cover more bases.
- StaySafeOnline (Free): While you may have the knowledge and resources to protect your business, it’s not just you working there. StaySafeOnline provides the resources you need to help assess risks, monitor threats and train employees with the same knowledge.
- Cradlepoint NetCloud (30 days free): As a small business owner, you’ve probably benefitted from the mobility, accessibility, breadth and ease of cloud storage. You also know that it comes with one specific potential drawback: security breaches. NetCloud offers ways to secure your network and businesses with extra layers of security through tools like multifactor authentication.
- Lookout Mobile Security ($2.99/month, $29.99/year): Great for businesses that run transactions from a mobile card reader or use tablets as their registers in store, Lookout Mobile Security predicts, anticipates and shields businesses against all types of mobile-specific security threats.
Increase Your Password Complexity
As an internet user, you’ve probably seen that many websites require passwords that are at least eight characters and include symbols, numbers and capital letters. In order to remember these complex combinations, many tend to use birth dates, spouse’s names or other personal information, but most cyber security agencies recommend using random passwords. Try password generator websites like Random.org that create totally random and secure passwords for you to use.
Your small business security plan is not just to protect you, your employees and your business — it’s about protecting your customers too. Protecting them also means safeguarding the reputation of your business and giving your customers a reason to choose you over your competitors. While it may seem like a big investment, your customers’ peace of mind is priceless. Take these steps to ensure they have it!
1Morris, C. (July 25, 2017). 14 million US businesses are at risk of a hacker threat. Retrieved October 31, 2017, from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/25/14-million-us-businesses-are-at-risk-of-a-hacker-threat.html
Headway Capital does not endorse or advocate, and cannot attest to the success of these products as described. Try these tools at you