Hackers aren’t shy about targeting small businesses. They know that the majority of businesses are vulnerable to cyber crimes. It’s not overly difficult for smart hackers to break into the credit-card accounts or bank accounts of small businesses. Many have no difficulty accessing employee facts such as their Social Security numbers. Fortunately, small business owners do have a tool to use against cyber criminals: common sense. Entrepreneur Magazine recently ran a feature story providing tips for small business owners who want to protect their businesses from hackers. Below are a few suggestions from the story.
Encrypt your Data
Entrepreneur recommends that you first encrypt all of your significant data, anything from bank routing numbers to credit-card account information to employee Social Security numbers. Hackers want to steal these records. It’s how they ultimately drain money from your small business. Entrepreneur’s advice? Turn on the full-disk encryption tools that are included with your computer’s operating systems. On Windows, this tool is labeled BitLocker. On Macintosh computers, it’s known as FileVault. The tool, once activated, will encrypt every file and program on the drive.
The Lockdown Approach
Most computers have a Kensington lock port, a small metal loop that users can run a cable through to lock them to their desks. If you wish to truly protect your business, require that your employees take this protection measure. It might sound silly, but the Entrepreneur story said that businesses are often hacked after burglars break in and steal laptops along with other devices. A cable strapping a laptop to a desk won’t stop all thieves. But it might scare away those who want to strike especially quickly.
Often the easiest way for cyber criminals to gain access to your company accounts is through your business’ Wi-Fi network. That’s why Entrepreneur Magazine suggests you do away with Wi-Fi completely and instead install a wired network. If you can’t do that, at least protect your Wi-Fi accounts with passwords which are difficult to compromise. A good bet? Long passwords consisting of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.