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Do you have a small business and are concerned about the current cybercrime situation in the world? You are not alone. Nowadays, not only big, but small businesses are frequently targeted by cybercriminals. Their aims vary from doing intentional damage to demanding ransom money. Thus, modern businesses, regardless of their size, mustn’t neglect to protect their information systems and intellectual property. This is particularly important when the systems include customer information, such as credit card numbers, and personal data. In this article, you will learn why and how to protect your businesses from cybercriminal activities.
Why should small businesses be concerned with cybersecurity?
Cyber attacks have become a common thing, targeting not only big businesses but smaller ones also. Most attacks usually involve an email containing a malicious attachment sent to an employee, who after opening the attachment, automatically gets hacked. Typical examples are the WannaCry and Petya ransomware, which targeted companies, locking their computers and demanding ransom money to unlock them. Therefore, it is essential for businesses of all sizes to take the necessary steps to protect their interests.
How to Protect Your Business
Although protecting an information system requires the advice of experts, there are a few general recommendations that you should consider, such as:
Getting Cybersecurity Insurance
Cybersecurity insurance is a type of insurance used to protect businesses from risk resulting from the use of the internet and other information technology practices, and which are usually not included in other types of insurance policies.
Typical cybersecurity insurance covers include hacking attacks, theft, destruction or loss of data as a result of criminal or fraudulent activities, extortion, denial of service attacks, failure to properly safeguard data, defamation, post-incident public relations expenses, investigative costs, data retrieval from damaged hardware, loss of income due to business interruption and more.
Developing a Password Strategy
A password is a mandatory secret word that goes together with a username. They are generally classified as weak or strong, depending on how easy it is to crack them. Businesses need to create a password strategy and train their employees on how to create strong and easily remembered passwords.
As small businesses usually cannot afford hiring experts, one way to develop an effective strategy is to follow the advice of software giants such as Microsoft, whose main guidelines can be summarized as follows:
1. Don’t Use:
- Easily obtainable personal information, such as birthdates, wedding dates, pet names, and driver's license or passport numbers.
- Successions of characters or numbers, such as 123.
- Adjacent letters on the keyboard, such as qwerty.
- Dictionary words in any language.
- Words spelled backward, common misspellings, and abbreviations, such as dneirf.
- At least 14 characters.
- Include letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers.
- Increase complexity by including some uppercase letters.
Furthermore, Microsoft advises testing the strength of any password with a password checker.
Extra security can be obtained by using a two-factor authentication system, such as by adding a security code sent by SMS to your mobile device to enable access.
Doing Penetration Testing for Your Website
A penetration or "pen test" is an authorized simulation of a cyber attack. It is done in order to evaluate the security state of a business computer system. The aim is to identify vulnerabilities and strengths in a business computer infrastructure. An important component of it is website penetration testing, which is designed to test the security of a given website. Pen tests may include background information (called white box), or minimal or no information except the company name (called black box). Smaller businesses using credit cards, and which must abide by the payment card industry data security standard, are required to do penetration testing on a regular basis.
Using virtual data rooms:
Virtual data rooms are online repositories of data and documents. Due to their efficiency and cost efficacy, they have been widely accepted by businesses. They are also called VDRs or Deal Rooms. They provide access for authorized users only through a website or special applications. They offer viewing, copying, printing of documents and data, and other important capabilities. For small businesses, outsourcing to a VDR services company has the advantage of them not having to worry about cybersecurity measures, as the VDR service they use is in the hands of experts.
Using Virtual Data Rooms
Virtual data rooms are online repositories of data and documents. Due to their efficiency and cost efficacy, they have been widely accepted by businesses. They are also called VDRs or Deal Rooms. They provide secure access for authorized users only through a website or special applications. They offer viewing, copying, printing of documents and data, and other important capabilities. For small businesses, outsourcing to a VDR services company has the advantage of them not having to worry about cybersecurity measures, as the VDR service they use is in the hands of experts.
The 21st century has been labeled the cybersecurity century. This is due to the increasing danger that people, businesses and organizations alike face from criminals operating over the internet. A properly managed business cannot afford to ignore the necessary protection measures available on the market. Among them the following stand out: obtaining cybersecurity insurance, creating an efficient password strategy, using virtual data rooms, and performing regular pen tests. Their importance is well explained by former UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham, who said:
“The knock-on effect of a data breach can be devastating for a company. When customers start taking their business—and their money—elsewhere, that can be a real body blow."