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The Internet allows organizations of all sizes to have opportunities and work more efficiently by using computer technology, and cybersecurity should be an important part of the business plan. A digital theft reportedly is more common now than a physical theft. A culture of security must enhance business and consumer confidence.

To help local small businesses we regularly publish resources on IT Security Tips.

These ten tips can help business owners and executives protect their organizations – and customers – from cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity: 10 Steps for Small Business

Broadband and information technology are powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers, and their data from growing cybersecurity threats.

1. Establish security principles in your organization.

Establish necessary security practices and policies for all of your employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules to handle and protect client data and other vital information. Make sure your employees have been trained in accordance with your security guidelines and policies.

2. Keep your technology clean and up-to-date.

Keep the latest operating system and software packages, and good, quality anti-virus program to defend your computer network against online threats such as viruses and malware. Make sure key software updates,including anti-virus, run as soon as they are available, and after each operating system update.

3. Secure your internet connection

A firewall is a part of a computer system or network that is designed to prevent unauthorized inbound access to data on a private network while allowing outbound communication. Your employees need to know that outside network, such as the internet, should always be assumed not to be secure. If employees work from home, make sure your security policy enforce them to connect to the office only when their home system access is protected by a firewall.

Firewalls can be network-based or host-based: each has a role in layered security. Different types of firewalls depend on an origin of communication, a point of interception and a state of communication being traced. If you are not sure what type of firewall your business may need, arrange for a consultation with a Managed Services Provider in New Jersey – or area of your location.

4. Create a mobile security protocol

Smartphones and mobile devices are preferred targets of attacks and can create significant security and management challenges. Mobile devices security is especially  significant if they contain or have access to confidential information on the corporate network. Require your employees to password protect their mobile devices and to manage permissions they give to applications on each device. Mandate encryption of the data, and install security apps to protect mobile devices from data theft while using public networks. Create mobile equipment use policy, and set reporting procedures for misplaced or stolen devices.

5. Make backup copies of important business data and information

Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.

6. Ensure physical security

Prevent access to your computer network or use of business computers by unauthorized persons. Laptops and tablets are easy and desirable targets for theft; they can also be easily lost, so make sure they are locked with a secure pin.

7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.

8. Employ best practices on payment cards

Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.

9. Follow the principle of least privilege

A principle of least, or minimal, privilege or authority means limiting user access to data and information, and/or limiting authority to install or uninstall software. Do not provide any one user on your team with absolute access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to only the specific information or data systems that they need for the legitimate purpose, such as doing their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.

10. Passwords and authentication

Require all of your employees to use unique, complex passwords, and change passwords at least every three months.  Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry.

Read More Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business:

IT and cybersecurity is such a significant issue. To help small businesses we are promoting a series of IT security articles with practical tips on how to  significantly improve protection levels of your computer network and not to become a victim of cybercrime. Every organization needs to make certain their employees are educated on appropriate use, handling and protection of company data and devices.
In every article, we focus on one step you can take to avoid a potential cybersecurity breach: ready our IT Security Tips.
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