With risk increasing, small businesses can protect themselves from cybercriminals

Small Business

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Many small business owners wonder how cybersecurity pertains to their business, or think they could never fall victim to cybercriminals.

But, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), cyber-attacks are a growing threat for entrepreneurs and the U.S. economy. In 2020 alone, the FBI reported that the cost of cybercrimes reached $2.7 billion.

While some small businesses have little to no financial resources to devote to professional information technology solutions, tools are available to help understand the risks and where improvements can be made.

The Federal Communications Commission, for example, offers a free planning and assessment tool for business owners to develop a strategy based on their unique needs. There are also free online resources from the Department of Homeland Security, including a cyber resilience review, cyber hygiene vulnerability scanning, and supply chain risk management toolkit.

Additionally, resources are available for training employees, a key part of developing a cybersecurity plan. According to the SBA, employees and emails are a leading cause of data breaches because they are a direct path into business systems. Training topics include using good browsing practices, avoiding suspicious downloads, creating strong passwords, and protecting sensitive information.

The SBA suggests businesses use and keep antivirus software updated, safeguard internet connections by using a firewall and encrypting information, and if using Wi-Fi, making sure it’s secure and hidden. Backing up data regularly, working with bank and card processors on a secure payment process, and preventing access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals, can also improve security.

Being able to use technology is key for small businesses. Having a good plan and consistent practices will go a long way in protecting them from cybercriminals. 

For more information and training resources, visit here.