Top 10 Cyber Tips for Small Businesses

With more than 10,000 cyberattacks happening every day, small businesses must stay vigilant to protect their intellectual property, as well as customer data. By letting customer information, such as credit card numbers or other personal information fall into the wrong hands, a company’s customer loyalty and brand reputation will most definitely suffer.

In an effort to encourage small businesses to keep their information secure while using technology to enhance their operations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers these 10 cyber tips:

1. Train employees in security principles.
Create security practices to protect business information. Then communicate these practices to employees regularly.

2. Protect networked information from viruses and spyware.
Use antivirus and antispyware software on all computers. Set the software to automatically check for updates and conduct scans during off-times.

3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection.
A firewall prevents outsiders from accessing data on your private network. If employees work from home, make sure that their system at home is protected by a firewall.

4. Regularly download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications.
Operating system vendors provide patches and updates to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install such updates automatically.

5. Create backup copies of business data and information.
Regularly back up your data, including word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files and accounts receivable/payable files.

6. Manage physical access to computers and networks
Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops, which are particularly easy targets for theft, should be stored and locked up when unattended.

7. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden.
“To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name also known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). In addition, make sure to turn on the encryption so that passwords are required for access.”

8. Require individual user accounts for each employee
Set up separate accounts for each employee with strong passwords.

9. Limit access to data and information.
Do not provide one employee access to all data systems. They should also not be permitted to install any software without prior permission.

10. Change passwords regularly.
Passwords should be changed at least every three months.

For more information about these 10 cybersecurity tips, visit: http://www.fcc.gov/cyberforsmallbiz