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The invisible threat to your business: cyber attacks and hackers

By Leslie Youngblood

Cyber attacks are all too real in this day and age, and small business owners especially should take them very seriously. Every single day, we see instances where employers lose important data, hackers attack websites, or even employees making off with sensitive organization info.

Every professional, especially owners and entrepreneurs should take all possible measures to ensure security and protection of their organization’s network devices. The new year is a perfect time to make sure your business' security game is on point and up to snuff, so here are a few methods to help you do just that.

Monitor Employees

We’re not talking in a creepy Big Brother way, but any company’s information is vulnerable to their employees. For example, an HR department officer shouldn’t have access to customer data, their bank info or other details. There are a number of monitoring tools available that small business owners can use to supervise their employees only after the staff agrees that you can and should look into.

Deploy Security Software

You need to use security software to protect company owned and dedicated devices and computers for your business. This is also true for the websites of your company. Use all protections, plugins and add-ons to ensure safety of your online presence.

Hire Cybersecurity Pros

If your company has very sensitive data and information and wants to protect it from your employees and any third party, the services of a cybersecurity official will be your best solution. Not only do these professionals guarantee protections of your networks, they react immediately to any threat and resolve the issues before any substantial damage is done.

Build Firewall Security

A firewall works as a barrier, or shield between your computer network and internet so mean internet trolls and hackers can’t use your high-speed connection to send viruses and other worms. Utilizing firewalls is especially important when you have employees that work from home.

Keep Backups of Data

Repeat after me: backup, backup, backup! It is crucial to have backups of all sensitive and important data. You can store much in online solutions like the Cloud, however keeping a tangible backup of info is your best bet in case any issues occur.

Secure Wi-Fi Connections

This might be a no-brainer, but it still stands to be said: Only grant office and/or business Wi-Fi and internet access to your employees and make sure they are not sharing the credentials with any outsiders.

Control Access to Devices

Many offices or businesses entrust their employees computers, tablets and other devices. Those devices should be updated with all necessary security apps and software first. Moreover, employees should monitor their device access with anyone else, limiting or keeping it off limits from a spouse and kids. That might sounds a little drastic, but you never know, and in the case of cyber security, when you have so many internet baddies out there, it’s better safe than sorry.

How’s your company handling cyber security? Have you experienced any threats or issues? What are some other safety methods you’ve found and are employing? We'd love to hear about 'em!

Leslie Youngblood is the Creative Director for Excelerate America, a 2nd stage business accelerator that helps small businesses excel and grow in the digital economy. She'd love to hear your thoughts about cyber attacks, hackers and bullies. Just drop her a line at leslie.youngblood@excelerateamerica.com.

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