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Protect Your Business Against Cyber Security Threat


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Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or manage a whole team, cyber security should be a top priority.

Massive data breaches that impact millions of consumers at once tend to capture the headlines, but smaller enterprises are increasingly at risk. A 2021 study by the Atlas VPN research team found that 31% of small businesses close after a ransomware attack, system failure or other major data loss incident. That’s because many small businesses haven’t taken the necessary precautions to protect their sensitive information.

But there’s good news—defending your business against cyber security threats doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming. And we’re breaking down the easiest, cyber security protection must-haves for every business.

Cyber Security Solutions for Small Businesses

1. Develop a Plan 

Ensure cyber security for your small business by crafting a formal data policy that adheres to current best practices and fits your specific needs. This involves setting up thorough procedures to vet new employees, ensure secure onboarding, manage access privileges and catalog sensitive data such as customer information, HR documents and financial records.

2. Implement a Firewall

A strong firewall is a sure way to protect against cyber threats and is your first defense against unauthorized access to your business’s most valuable assets. A firewall is a hardware or software tool that monitors your network and blocks potentially malicious activity. Choose between a software firewall that runs on individual devices or a hardware firewall that is designed to protect an entire network.

3. Scan for Viruses 

A virus is a common cyber security threat that you’ll encounter. Cybercriminals worldwide use viruses and malware to disrupt business operations, spy on financial records and personal details, hijack computing power, and hold files for ransom. Install antivirus software and set up automatic updates and scans to protect your essential information. Antivirus software can detect dangers in your system, identify which files or devices are impacted and offer steps for resolving the threat.

4. Set Strong Passwords 

Give your business another layer of cyber security protection by requiring unique passwords for each account. Your employees should be using strong passwords with at least 12 characters, including a mix of numbers, symbols and uppercase and lowercase letters. Consider a password storage platform to centralize your complex, hack-resistant passwords.

5. Use Multifactor Authentication

Strong passwords are a good start, but they’re not enough to safeguard sensitive enterprise data. This is where multifactor authentication comes in. This is a smart next step that either sends a unique code to a second trusted device or an app that sends a time-limited code to the user’s phone upon login. This easy-to-implement technology can drastically reduce the risk of costly cyberattacks.

6. Lock Down Your Wi-Fi

Wireless internet networks are convenient, but they’re prone to hacking if the proper safeguards aren’t in place. Turn off your router’s service set identifier (SSID) broadcast, so it doesn’t appear as an available network on strangers’ devices, and then protect it with a unique password.

7. Browse Safely

Beware of phishing attempts that lure unsuspecting users into following malicious links. If it’s unexpected, misspelled, or just a little “off,” don’t click it. Make sure your employees are able to recognize these emails as well to better protect against cyber threats.

8. Encrypt Your Files

If you’ve ever used a secret decoder ring that came from a cereal box, you’ve performed basic encryption. You can encrypt individual pieces of information, whole files or an entire hard drive. To any unauthorized user, the data will just look like a random jumble of characters. Your client, financial and HR data should be protected with encryption when stored on a cloud server or NAS (network-attached storage) device. It’s also a best practice to use a secure file transfer service with end-to-end encryption when sending files to clients or others outside your organization.

9. Back Up Your Data

If you store important files on an owned hard drive or local server, you need to perform regular backups. Use tools like automated software for backups to external secure data centers or opt for cloud-based solutions for secure file storage, access and sharing over the internet.

10. Dispose of Data Properly

Deleting a file or email message doesn’t mean it’s not retrievable by a tech-savvy criminal, leaving you vulnerable to cyber security threats. If you’re removing old equipment, use an advanced data destruction tool that overwrites the deleted data with random ones and zeroes in multiple passes, making recovery impossible. Additionally, conduct an annual data audit to make sure you’re not storing outdated but sensitive files.

11. Keep Your Devices Secure

Computer and server sessions should automatically time out to discourage unauthorized access. Don’t leave laptops or phones unattended and enable remote wipe so data can be deleted in case a device is lost or stolen.

12. Educate Your Employees Continuously

Cyber security protection is a team effort, so ensure that everyone stays informed of current cyber security threats and best practices. If you have

remote or on-the-road employees, emphasize that public networks and unknown devices are a cybercriminal’s paradise because they make it easy to intercept sensitive data in transit. Make sure you have a clear process for reporting potential threats.

Protection for Your Small Business

At WesBanco, we can provide individualized guidance to keep your business safe and prospering. We offer various services to help each business succeed and grow, including fraud protection and secure payment processing. Explore our business banking services today.

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Content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of WesBanco.

While we hope you find this content useful, it is only intended to serve as a starting point. Your next step is to speak with a qualified, licensed professional who can provide advice tailored to your individual circumstances. Nothing in this article, nor in any associated resources, should be construed as financial or legal advice. Furthermore, while we have made good faith efforts to ensure that the information presented was correct as of the date the content was prepared, we are unable to guarantee that it remains accurate today.

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