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Held Hostage: Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Attacks

A VPN is an essential component of IT security, whether you’re just starting a business or are already up and running. Most business interactions and transactions happen online and VPN
small biz cyber sage

OEC Fiber does all we can to safeguard our high-speed fiber network, but we can only do so much. Individual internet users need to take precautions. And with cyber attacks on the rise, more and more small and midsize businesses are coming to grips with the need to step up their online and digital security.

These tips will help safeguard your business against costly cyberattacks and give you peace of mind.

Install Anti-Virus Software on Your Devices

Believe it or not, many small businesses must protect their devices with strong anti-virus software. While keeping the central server protected remains paramount, other devices like laptops, tablets and even cell phones need protection.

McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky and Bitdefender are four of the most popular and well-regarded anti-virus software programs available. These companies stay on top of cyber threats as they emerge and have features and options to better customize protection depending on your business’s particular needs and potential exposure.

Keep Your Software Updated

Neglecting software updates for your business makes it vulnerable. Your anti-virus software must be up to date to be protective. Check for and install updates regularly on your software and devices.

Operating systems, such as Windows and Mac, dedicate teams of software engineers and programmers to outwit cyber criminals. They test for previously unknown vulnerabilities in their operating systems’ codes, which necessitate frequent updates to overcome.

Establish a Firewall

Firewalls protect your system from viruses, malware and ransomware before they enter the company’s network and jeopardize the devices and data connected to it. In a sense, the two measures—firewalls and anti-virus software—perform similar functions at different points in your system’s security.

A firewall helps prevent cyber threats from entering your system. At the same time, anti-virus software identifies and eliminates them once infected. Hence, a savvy small business will ideally employ both to improve overall protection.

Require—and Enforce—a Strong Password Policy for All Staff

Let’s face it—no one wants to remember lengthy passwords. As annoying as they are, strong passwords make a significant difference in small business cybersecurity. Everyone in the business must employ complex and unique passwords for every login.

No, the family dog’s name with an “!” won’t cut it—especially if they use it for every streaming TV channel, shopping app and social media login. Discuss the importance of strong passwords with your team, even senior staff and business owners, and model good behavior by regularly changing passwords.

Consider Encryption

Businesses handling sensitive information from customers and other third parties—especially credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers and banking details must encrypt their data.

There are many professional encryption software options available for small businesses. Check the software details for more specific information and pricing to find the best fit. Keep the encryption “key” in a safe, easily accessible place, too!

Set Up a VPN

Establishing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect staff’s remote access to the business’s server and network. Once enabled, a VPN securely transmits all the data sent from and received by the business’ devices online through a secure “tunnel” before reaching a private server, where the encrypted data resides.

According to many cybersecurity experts, businesses employing remote workers or staff that travel or work from public areas like airports, hotels or coffee shops should view VPNs as a requirement, not an option. However, any business can benefit from the extra protection a VPN offers.

It’s easy to get comfortable and let your guard down—but you’ve worked too hard to let cyber criminals take your business away from you. Implement these six steps as soon as possible to help keep your company protected.

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