Before you spend another day developing marketing campaigns or improving your service offerings, spend some time thinking about cyber security. You may have a small business, and you may even work out of your home, but protecting yourself online is just as important as protecting your physical property from intruders.
You likely trust an alarm system to maintain the safety of your home. Perhaps you carry homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to protect your belongings from theft, fire and other unexpected tragedies. You may feel safe and secure with those security measures in place, but your business is far from safe if you haven’t taken the following steps to protect yourself from virtual intruders.
Is Your Home Business Secure Online?
1. Invest in quality malware protection.
If you’ve ever had a virus infect your home computer, laptop or mobile device, you know that it can cost valuable time and possibly money. All business electronic devices with internet capabilities are vulnerable to the same viruses. That includes ransomware attacks that can jeopardize confidential client information and passwords for your banking and payment services.
Think about the impact your business would face if you were to lose all of the files saved on your computer. You may have backups to restore those files, but you still need quality malware protection to ensure sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Malware programs are installed onto your computers and mobile devices. You can set them to run automatic scans on a routine basis, identifying and removing viruses, worms, Trojans and other threats before they put your business at risk.
The best programs will also flag risky or compromised websites before you click into them when online. Make sure that every device used for business purposes is protected by your chosen malware. The FCC also recommends setting your malware software to scan your computer after every system update.
2. Install a firewall.
Your home is protected by doors, windows, walls and a roof. Imagine giving your cyber assets the same protection. That’s exactly what you do when you install a firewall. You create a virtual barrier around your business network and then set security parameters that prevent unauthorized entities from gaining access. The traffic flowing in and out of your network is constantly monitored, so you’re protected even while sleeping or on vacation.
How do you install a firewall? It’s simply a software package that you download directly to your computer. If you have employees who work from home, make sure that their home networks are also protected with a firewall.
3. Use Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0 to create a customized cyber security plan.
The FCC offers a free online planner that allows small businesses to create personalized cyber security strategies. The planner includes 12 security areas that are important for small businesses, and you can decide which ones to include in your final plan. You only need to give the name of your business and your basic location information to create a custom cyber security strategy in just minutes.
Cyber criminals are becoming savvier, and they’re building a powerful digital arsenal that allows them to attack without warning. They can turn a growing business into a struggling or even failing business overnight. The good news is that quality malware protection and other security measures can stop you from becoming a cyber victim.