5 Ways Small Businesses must Protect their Data

Cyber security is a big concern for all minor and major businesses. Big hacks like Target, Home Depot and Sony have only emphasized how important it is for small businesses to protect themselves. Large businesses have the resources and the kind of budget or knowledge to perform due diligence against cyber security attacks unlike small businesses.

Here are 5 ways in which a small business can protect itself from potential cyber threats.

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BACKUP

Amongst one of the newest threats that are currently doing the rounds are ransomware. Symantec estimates that small businesses face a lot of significant dents in finances after being attacked by ransomware. Businesses often discontinue services or have to even shut down due to these attacks. Ransomware encrypts important files like documents, pictures, CAD files on a system. The local PC isn’t the only victim. Ransomware tries to attempt and reach out to other systems that are connected on the same network and affect their mapped network drives. Once the ransomware successfully encrypts all the data, there is a ransom demand laid down by the software that you have to pay in order to un-encrypt the data that the system can no longer access. The ransom is usually expensive. Small businesses can’t afford to pay such heavy amounts from their financial resources in order to retrieve all the data. Instead, if a business has quality backup of all its data, it can just reformat its systems and start all over. Reformatting the PCs and restoring data on all of them takes hardly a couple of days and saves the business a lot of money. Backup and protection of data in small business is very easy. There are a lot of online services that offer such facilities at affordable yearly fees. It is equally easy to set it up on your own. It is important to keep 3 different backups for the 3 different time periods for every PC. Backups should be split into on-site, off-site and local. This ensures that there are varied security measures and data isn’t lost by storing it at just one place and losing it all to a single natural or man-made disaster. Data storage is a cheap service and backup is an easy choice.

SWITCH TO THE CLOUD

The cloud is still a sensitive thing for business. Using a cloud infrastructure means that your business has to depend on an IT solutions business for your business to run. Cloud businesses build their businesses on reliability, speed and security. Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s S3 offers services that are incredibly powerful. They have over a 99% uptime guarantee in their Service Level Agreements. They replicate data in servers throughout the country. Microsoft offers the additional advantage of their entire Office Suite along with storage. Mostly, cloud services can lower ownership expenses.

UPDATE QUALITY AV

Antivirus protection is most necessary in today’s environment. By now we shouldn’t have to warn anyone to install a quality antivirus and keep it up-to-date. But still businesses ignore the importance of having this software embed into their systems. Small businesses should invest some time in keeping their systems up-to-date with quality antivirus software to avoid loss of data on a large scale.

RESTRICT ADMIN ACCOUNTS

Small businesses buy a few systems and attach them to a small local area network. They don’t use secure domain services or group policies. It isn’t appropriate for small businesses to utilize these kinds of services. It is important to make sure that employees aren’t using admin accounts through their PCs. Admin accounts are setup by default. Changing the user profile from admin to standard user eliminates 90% of security threat. Employees can elevate privileges on their PC when they need to install more software.

EDUCATION

Employee education can significantly reduce the threat of cyber attacks by increasing awareness. Simple reminders like avoiding opening spoof email attachments reduces the chances of attack. Hold seminars and awareness meets for employees so that they are aware of the cyber threats that linger online and how they shouldn’t fall victim to it.