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Tips to keep your SMB safe from cyber threats

01 Jul 2019
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Small businesses make up the backbones of economies around the world. Although many won’t have in-house expertise to deal with every single cyber threat that comes their way, business protection doesn’t have to be as daunting as it looks.

Cybersecurity firm ESET says there are several key steps businesses can take to reduce their chances of becoming cybercrime victims. 

1. Back up data 

It’s imperative that in the digital age, businesses make data backup and protection a high priority. It’s important managers consider how much their business relies on data such as customer information, quotes, orders, or payment details, as this can all be considered critical. SMBs need to ensure that they’re backing up their data regularly and that the data can be restored. 

The backups should always be kept separate from business computers. That way, businesses can keep functioning if they fall victim to a cyberattack. Furthermore, if businesses have backups of data that they can quickly recover, they can't be blackmailed through ransomware attacks.

It’s also worth considering storing backed-up data in the cloud. And, cloud storage is also often a cheaper solution for SMBs. This is because cloud providers supply organisations with data storage and web services, without organisations needing to invest in expensive hardware up front. 

2. Keep devices safe 

Mobile technology is now an essential part of any modern business, with more data being stored on tablets and smartphones. However, business devices regularly get lost or stolen, and many of these devices contain important data. To protect this information, employees should be encouraged to use a suitably complex PIN or password to secure their device. Ideally, businesses should ensure all lost or stolen devices can be tracked and locked or wiped remotely. On top of that, all device software should be up to date, as manufacturers often provide security updates to keep devices protected. 

3. Use strong passwords 

Employees should always use password protection for their devices. Passwords, when implemented correctly, provide a free, easy, and effective way to prevent unauthorised users from accessing devices. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for important accounts such as email, and account management dashboards. 2FA can help prevent attackers from accessing restricted accounts even if they know the password.   

4. Protect networks from malware and phishing attacks 

Malware is software intended to infiltrate, damage, or disable computers, and can often be distributed through phishing attacks where scammers send fake emails asking for sensitive information or containing links to bad websites.

The first step in protecting businesses from malware and phishing attacks is to ensure that all employees exercise caution before opening any attachments, clicking on links in emails, or visiting unfamiliar websites. The second is to ensure that software is up to date and that all relevant protection is applied.

Finally, SMBs should run antivirus and intrusion detection software, which can help prevent infections.