Small businesses contribute greatly to the U.S. economy, comprising over 95 percent of all businesses in the country, and thus, producing more than 50 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP), and also creating about 50 percent of all new jobs. This means that small businesses are truly making money, and money in the cash register or money in the bank is attractive to any hacker-thief, and so small businesses get their share of hacking attacks in pursuit of all that cash.

This is why small business owners get their share of serious challenges in protecting their business, its earned money, and all the private information about the business, customers, and employees. Small businesses become frequent targets of criminal hacking and cyber attacks because they lack the sufficient resources to secure their information infrastructures effectively.

Small business owners should thus, take the following actions to improve the security and effectiveness of their information systems:

Protect information, systems, and networks against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code

Small businesses should install antispyware and antivirus software on all their computers used for business operations. This software is readily available from software vendors or one or two can be recommended by the IT support company that the business is subscribed to. The software should be updated regularly in order to keep the multiple layers of protection working. The software can be set to automatically check for updates or carry out security scans at scheduled times.

Secure the Internet protection

Business computers and networks that have access to the Internet 24 hours a day every day are exposed to highly probable cyber attacks. Small businesses should install and keep operational a hardware firewall between their internal networks and the Internet. This can be provided and maintained by the IT support company the business is subscribed to. Administrative passwords should also be changed at regular intervals.

Make backup copies of important business data and information

Copies should be made of all business data including word documents, financial and sales spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resource files, accounts receivable and payable files, and other information used in or generated by the business. This will prevent loss of data when there are equipment failures, employee errors, or destruction of data by malicious code. An automatic backup should be done at least once a week, and stored on a separate external hard disk, off-line on a form of removable media such as CD’s, or in online cloud storage.

Train employees in basic security principles

All employees should be trained to use sensitive business information properly and to protect all business and customer information. Employees should receive training on the organization’s information security policies, including the use of computers, networks, and Internet connections, the limitations on personal use of telephones, printers, and other business resources, and any restrictions on processing business data at home. After receiving their training, employees should be requested to sign a statement indicating that they understand and will follow business policies, and that they understand the penalties for not following the policies.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 6:14:10 AM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection.

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