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The Global Cyber Attacks: A Critical Reminder for Small Businesses

NEWS…You can use

The recent cyber attacks around the globe are alarming, but many small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t believe it could happen to their firms.  The facts: small businesses are particularly vulnerable, and surviving a cyber attack is difficult and expensive. According to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of businesses that suffer a cyber attack are out of business within six months.

Without sophisticated IT support, small companies are easy picking for cyber-criminals. THE Small Business Expert and SBE Council Advocate Susan Solovic reminds small business owners that they can take simple steps to avoid being the victim of a cyber attack, or cyber-criminals who are trying to steal your data or hold your business hostage.

Solovic recommends the following steps small businesses can take to minimize the threat:

Create Strong Passwords

Don’t use the same password over and over, and don’t use one that is easy to guess.  The longer your password the better, because it’s more difficult for a cyber-criminal to hack.  The experts recommend a minimum of 12 characters if the site allows.

Make sure you store your passwords safely.   If you want to store them manually file them somewhere away from your computer.  It’s best to write down a clue rather than the actual password as another protective measure.  However, the most secure way to store your passwords is to download a password management program.

Log-Off

One of the simplest ways for a cyber-criminal to access your proprietary information is from your computer or mobile device when you forget to log off.  Think about how many times you leave your computer or mobile device unattended while you’re still logged-on.

A cyber-criminal can easily and quickly access account information, log-ins, and even financial information.  So before you leave your computer or devices unattended for more than a few minutes, take a few seconds to log-off to protect your information.

Update Systems

Cyber-attackers are really smart folks.  I wish they’d put their intelligence to work for a good cause rather than criminal activities, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.

What you need to realize is that as soon as you have updated your anti-virus software, web browser and operating systems, the cyber-criminals are already devising new methods to steal your information.

To protect your business, you need to make sure you’re regularly updating everything.  This should be a priority, not something that falls to the bottom of your “to-do” list.

Back-up Regularly

Even when you do everything right, there is still a risk of becoming the victim of a cyber-attack.  Make backup copies of all important business data such as financial information, word documents, electronic copies of legal documents, databases and customer account information.  If possible set your systems to back-up automatically, and if not make it a process to do it at least once a week.

Regularly back up your data, preferably every day. There are services specifically, that will back up data for up to 90 days and save numerous versions of your files. This will help your company recover files even after ransomware takes hold.

Limit Employee Access

Not everyone on your team needs access to the same information so limit your critical data access to those who truly need it to do their jobs.  Require employees to have unique passwords that are changed at least every 90 days.  And don’t allow any employee to install a software program without your permission.

Prevent Ransomware Attacks

• Do not open any e-mail links or attachments, even if it is from someone you know. Or at least heavily scrutinize and scan any attachments before opening.

• Use a browser extension that shows when a website might be malicious.

• Use both antivirus and firewall software.

• Avoid public Wi-Fi unless using encryption software or a virtual private network (VPN).

Train Employees

Make sure everyone on your team is properly trained on how to detect and deter a possible cyber security risk.  Sometimes an innocent mistake can be the most costly to your business.

You or your business does not have to be a victim of a cyber attack.  Take action TODAY!

To speak with Susan Solovic, or to book her for an interview, please email: susan@susansolovic.com.

ABOUT SUSAN SOLOVIC

Susan Solovic is THE Small Business Expert and Advocate for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.  Her forthcoming book, THE Once Percent Edge, will be published in January 2018.  For updates and sneak peeks of the book’s content, please click here. Susan is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com Top 100 and USA Today best-selling author, media personality, and attorney.

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