In my experience as a business coach, I’ve found that very few small business owners do much to protect their business from cybercrime, privacy invasions, or business interruptions brought on by poor data security. However, business owners need to be aware of the many cybersecurity threats for small businesses.
Security breaches can jeopardize your business by leaking important information, draining your funds, and causing a breakdown of trust between your brand and your customers. Here’s what you need to know to avoid cybersecurity threats for small businesses.
Cybersecurity Risks for Small Businesses
While the scope of cybersecurity is vast and complex, there are a few repeated trends when it comes to the types of risks that affect small businesses. Here are some of the most common cybersecurity threats for small businesses:
- Phishing: Phishing is when a scammer imitates a legitimate person or organization to obtain information, such as someone pretending to be from the IRS to trick someone into revealing their social security number.
- Insecure Passwords: Too many people use something simple like “password” as a password. It’s incredibly easy for hackers to guess. Passwords should be a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers for maximum security.
- Malware: Malware is a type of software that’s designed to harm. It’s often contained in legitimate-looking downloads that employees might click by accident. Once downloaded, the virus inside can wreak havoc on your system.
- Employee Action: Unfortunately, it’s relatively common for unhappy employees to sabotage their employers by leaking information or accessing files that should be off-limits.
Small Business Cybersecurity
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself from many types of cybercrime. Here’s what you need to know to counter most major cybersecurity threats for small businesses:
- Invest in antivirus software. Proper computer security for small businesses can go a long way. A good antivirus program can detect malicious links, files, and websites before you or your teammates click on them.
- Educate your employees. Some phishing scams can look incredibly convincing. Educate your employees on how to avoid falling for email scams and to avoid downloading suspicious files. Have a plan in place to contain a virus if one is downloaded accidentally. When in doubt, ask an IT expert before clicking a link.
- Safeguard your information. Don’t keep your passwords in a file that anyone can access. Consider using a password management software like LastPass to encrypt your passwords while still providing access to the accounts your employees need. Also, don’t keep sensitive information like customer credit cards where others can find it.
- Maintain administrative access. You should always be able to access your employee accounts and to revoke access when an employee leaves. If an employee changes their computer password, you still need a way to access their files. No employee should be able to access their work email or make changes to files after they leave your company.
Cybersecurity threats for small businesses are just one of the hazards you’ll encounter while operating your own business. If you need help navigating the leadership landscape, a business coach can help. Sign up for my email list and stay up to date on all of my top tips for business leaders.