As you grow your company, you might be amazed by the tools and systems that can make doing business easier. Technology can help you work more efficiently, connect with customers more easily, and of course, allow you to make sales and grow revenue. But doing business online with the amount of technology we all use can bring risk to your business.

Did you know cybercrime is one of the biggest threats business of all sizes face? More than 75 percent of data breaches target small and medium-sized businesses, which can cause major havoc for your business operations. Sixty percent of small businesses affected by cybercrime will close within six months of the breach, according to a study by McAfee. Think those statistics are scary? Imagine if your business was included among them.

Here are a few tips for protecting your business from cybercrime.

Protect your network

First and foremost: Create and maintain a secure network for your business operations. A password may seem second nature for log-on, but do you have a firewall? Contact your internet service provider to check on your security options and find out where your network protection may be falling short.

Employees should resist the urge be helpful by providing your Wi-Fi password to customers or visitors; if you wish to offer Wi-Fi to visitors, create a second network for guest use.

Talk with your employees

Next, talk with your employees about keeping your business safe. They should create strong passwords for work-related accounts, and avoid completing personal tasks on company computers to reduce vulnerability.

If your staff or contractors bring their own devices to work, create a policy to specify when and how they can access company data on their personal devices. If you use mobile phones to share company or customer information, be sure to have a passcode set on your phone and sync your phone to your computer frequently.

Back up your data

Encourage your staff to back up company data regularly, either to a cloud service, to a backup hard drive, or both. Consider scheduling a regular backup day each week to get employees in the habit.

You should also make a plan for how to handle any downtime that could come with a breach or other emergency. How will you access client files, invoices, passwords or other data you might need to keep your business running? Who’s your point person if there’s a breach of some sort or data disappears? Talk about contingency plans, and update them regularly so your team is best prepared to handle difficult situations. 

Stay alert

One of the toughest parts of avoiding cybercrime is keeping up with the changing landscape of how we do business online. By staying up to date with business news, you’ll help yourself stay aware of potential threats to your cybersecurity system.

Not sure if you’re doing enough — or the right things — to protect your small business? Get in touch with a SCORE mentor, who can help you review your practices.

About the Author(s)

Bridget Weston Pollack

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Strategy at the SCORE Association.

Vice President of Marketing & Strategy, SCORE
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