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Cyber Security and Small Businesses –
a Strange Relationship

Why small business must do more to protect themselves online

The situation is very clear and obvious to anyone who wants to see – small businesses are just as attractive to hackers and other cyber attackers as major companies that have finally started to take cyber security seriously. The latest Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec clearly states that 40% of businesses attacked by cyber criminals are small to medium sized businesses, but for some reason, most small businesses still do very little to secure themselves online.

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Small businesses have to take important steps to strengthen their online security and protect themselves against hackers and cyber attacks.

The reasons and the consequences

The most common reason why the majority of small businesses are still not taking their cyber security seriously is that they simply do not think they are particularly attractive to potential attackers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cyber criminals are perfectly content with getting personal and financial data from an office of 15, as long as they will be able to use this data to make money. Considering the fact that it takes them very little time to gain access to such data when the companies are not secured, it more than pays off to target small businesses.

Perhaps the strangest thing about this is that the consequences of suffering data breaches are well understood and quite dire. For instance, upwards of 60% of small businesses that suffer a data breach need to be closed as the result. Those that survive incur significant financial losses and it takes a lot of time to make sure all of the effects of the data breach have been put under control.

In short, a smart business owner will do everything in their power to secure their company in cyberspace.

How to do it

It is pretty much impossible to ensure your small business will be 100% safe online, but the good news is that with a few easy-to-implement strategies, you can make your small business secure enough so as to dissuade any potential attackers from even attempting something illegal.

For one, you need to promote a certain culture in your company where every employee, including you the owner and the management, will understand the importance of cyber security and how they should behave to contribute. This may involve providing training for your employees and other education methods that will have them realize what proper behavior is.

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While it's impossible to be completely safe online, small business must secure
not only their business data, but also that of their customers.

Furthermore, your employees need to be educated on the importance of strong passwords, as well as the importance of making sure their devices and computers are off-limits to everyone but them and their colleagues.

In addition to this, you will want to employ the latest in anti-malware and online security software, also making sure that your software is always updated to the latest version. This is something that often gets forgotten and it can provide the perfect opportunity for attackers to make their move.

Wi-Fi networks should also be secured, including out-of-office networks that the employees might use when they are not in the office. Sensitive systems should be off-limits for everyone but the essential technicians and engineers.

Turning to Professionals

The easiest, the most successful and the most cost-effective effective way for small businesses to handle their cyber security is to turn to professionals who will provide these services to them. These can be part of your existing IT services or they can be a whole new team who will be handling this and only this. When hiring such professionals, you will want them to be experienced, highly recommended and supplied with latest in cyber security technology, such as exceedingly secure remote access software.

In short, you simply cannot afford to leave your cyber security to chance. Both you and your employees need to understands the importance of online security and what consequences might occur if everything is not in order.

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