It’s just a regular morning – you’ve got your coffee going, and you’re planning out the day in your mind, wondering what to look forward to for lunch. You open up your email, thinking a quick glance before work hours can’t hurt, and that’s when you notice something odd. You have 147 new emails. The threads don’t match. Customers’ names are all jumbled up. Personal and professional messages have collided, and information that shouldn’t be shared is everywhere. It’s a nightmare. You are the victim of a cyber attack, and as your day wears on it will become clear just how much damage has been wrought.
You and your small business were an easy target for a cybercriminal. Why? A few reasons:
Your small business holds a wealth of information, not just for you but for cybercriminals. All your customer data and financial information – can be worth a pretty penny to those looking for online profit. Larger companies tend to have stronger security which makes it more difficult to gain access to their platforms. This isn’t your fault, and there are steps you can take to better protect yourself.
Passwords are your first line of defence against cyber attacks. All employees and contractors must use strong and complex passwords and these passwords should be unique for every account. Change your passwords regularly (every three months or so).
You and your employees should be well aware, through ongoing training, of phishing scams and how they work. Never click a link. Amazon says you’ve won a gift card. Log in via the app or through a browser. Don’t ever click the link in the email, no matter how tempting.
This mildly annoying extra layer of security is certainly worth it. Enable it on all your accounts. Two-factor authentication requires you to punch in a code sent to your phone or email before gaining access to your account. While it’s a little more hassle for you, two-factor authentication really does make it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to your life.
When your computer or phone tells you it’s time to update your software, it’s not fooling around. Running dated versions of operating systems and software leaves you vulnerable. Older versions are often updated because they have holes in the software where cybercriminals can burrow in. Don’t forget about solid firewalls and antivirus software to protect against cyber threats.
So, keep your mornings stress-free and don’t be caught by cyber attacks. A cyber breach can do much more than ruin your day, it could tarnish your reputation and lose you customers. Cyber threats are constant and constantly evolving. The importance of strong passwords, using two-factor authentication and keeping your software systems up to date can’t be overstated. Stay safe out there.
For more tips around protecting your business online, take our quiz!
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