Small businesses have become the target of an increasing number of cyberattacks. According to the U.S. Congressional Small Business Committee, 71 percent of all cybercrime impacted businesses with less than 100 employees. While larger businesses generally have more personal data to steal, smaller businesses often have less secure networks that make them easier to breach. Employees can do their part to protect against cyberattacks by becoming more aware of what risks are present and how to guard against these threats. Ensuring that there are cybersecurity best practices for employees is crucial to protecting your business’s data and information.
What Does Cybersecurity Awareness Mean?
Cybersecurity awareness and cybersecurity risk assessment consist of two very important concepts. First, it refers to the knowledge and attitudes that employees have about cybersecurity threats. Next, it focuses on practices that aim to protect a business’s information assets. These countermeasures can help reduce the likelihood of cybercrime and minimize damages when cyberattacks do occur.
Best Practices For Making And Keeping Employees Cyber Aware
A company’s most valuable asset is its employees. However, staff can also pose certain risks, especially if they are not properly trained in computer and network safety. Businesses can significantly reduce their vulnerabilities by becoming familiar with cybersecurity best practices. Consider the following to help employees protect their organizations and the data they store:
Avoid Popups And Unknown Emails
Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive data or information, such as credit card details, usernames, or passwords, by disguising one’s identity as a trustworthy person or enterprise in electronic communication. Hackers often send emails or create popups in hopes of gaining access to a business system. When an unsuspecting employee clicks on a popup, link, or attachment in an email with embedded malware, a hacker is able to quickly gain access to the company’s network. Cybersecurity training can help employees avoid phishing scams by teaching not to click on popups or open emails from unknown sources. Training should address ways to check the legitimacy of any online communication before sharing sensitive information.
Data Protection Is A Group Effort
Cybercriminals have become increasingly cunning in the way that they deceive their victims. They are able to create websites and email addresses that look legitimate and could easily fool someone who is not paying close attention. Hackers also have the ability to take over social media accounts and send unsolicited emails to followers. To protect against these types of illegal behaviors, employees must use extreme caution to prevent revealing sensitive information. Business leaders can help establish proper security protocols through cybersecurity training and by creating and distributing business policies that cover these important topics. Businesses of all sizes should also consider investing in high-quality cybersecurity systems that include antivirus and malware protection software.
Use Strong Password Protection And Authentication
The use of strong passwords can help prevent identity theft and financial fraud. One of the most common ways that a cybercriminal breaks into a computer or network is by guessing the password. Business leaders should mandate that employees create complex passwords that consist of at least 10 characters and include a mixture of symbols, numbers, and capital and lowercase letters to help keep computer systems safe from intruders. Businesses should also implement multi-factor authentication when attempting to access private network areas.
Always Connect To A Secure Wi-Fi Connection
Accessing secure websites over Wi-Fi is considered safe. However, all Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to hacking. Most business Wi-Fi networks are fully encrypted, secure, and hidden. However, this level of security is not always easily replicated at home. Employees that work remotely should consider alternative ways to connect to a secure Wi-Fi network, such as by using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs provide users with online privacy and anonymity by allowing them to connect to the internet via an encrypted tunnel. VPNs can be used on computers, smartphones, and tablets, and are highly affordable. Today, many businesses offer VPN software to employees for use in the office, while traveling or while working from home.
Keep Computer Software Up-to-Date
It is easy to overlook essential computer and software updates, especially in a busy work environment. However, these updates and patches are essential for keeping operating systems, security software, web browsers, and applications protected. System updates should be installed right away to prevent gaps in security. Regularly backing up business data should also take place as a secondary measure to protect sensitive data from loss or damage.
Speak With The Cybersecurity Experts At Hartman
Employees play a key role in keeping their organizations safe from cyberattacks. It is essential for employees to be aware of the various risks that a business faces and how these cyber threats could damage their company’s reputation and finances. Simple practices by employees can be highly effective in preventing the occurrence of cyberattacks. Business leaders looking to learn the best strategies to protect their data should not be afraid to seek outside help from cybersecurity experts. Reach out today to speak with the cyber risk consultants at Hartman Executive Advisors.