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Protecting Your Small Business from Cyber Threats

Risk management is a key component in any successful business plan. In today’s world — where data breaches are common occurrences — it’s especially important for business owners to understand the digital risks they face. Are you doing all you can to mitigate the risk of a cyberattack?

The importance of cybersecurity
Many small-business owners may think their organizations hold little appeal to hackers due to their small size and limited scope. However, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), this naiveté may actually make them ideal targets. Their systems, if not adequately protected, may also inadvertently provide access to larger supplier networks. Consider the following tips compiled from information supplied by the SBA, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Tips for security
When monitoring your security, ensure you have firewall and encryption technology that protects your Internet connections and Wi-Fi networks. Make sure your business’s computers have antivirus and anti-spyware software installed and updated automatically. Require employees and others who access your systems to use complex passwords that are changed regularly. Keep only personal data that you actually need and dispose of it securely as soon as it no longer serves a business purpose. Back up critical information and data on a regular basis, and store the backups securely offsite.

Redundancy is key

  • If you have digital assets that you don’t want to risk losing forever — including photos, videos, original recordings, financial documents, and other materials — you’ll want to back them up regularly. Depending on how much you use your devices, you may want to back them up as frequently as every few days.
  • Have at least three copies of your data. This means a minimum of the original plus two backups. In the world of computer redundancy, more is definitely better.
  • Use at least two different formats. For example, you might have one copy on an external hard drive and another on a flash drive, or one copy on a flash drive and another using a cloud-based service.
  • Ensure that at least one backup copy is stored offsite. You could store your external hard drive in a safe-deposit box or at a trusted friend or family member’s house. Cloud storage is also considered offsite.
  • A two-tiered menu of investment choices for you and your employees

Educate your employees
To help ensure that your employees are also maintaining sound cybersecurity practices, establish clear security policies and procedures and put them in writing. Cover such topics as handling sensitive or personal information, appropriate use of Internet and social media, and reporting vulnerabilities. Clearly spell out consequences for failing to follow the policies. Develop a mandatory employee training program on the importance of cybersecurity. Explain the basics of personal information, as well as what is and isn’t acceptable to post on social media. Employees could unknowingly release information that could be used by competitors or, worse, by criminals. Ensure that employees understand the risks associated with phishing emails, as well as “social engineering” — manipulative tactics criminals use to trick employees into divulging confidential information.

Our team at CNB is ready to answer any questions you may have about online financial safety.


©2019 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. This material is provided for general information purposes only and is not a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any particular security, product or service.