How to Keep Your Business Safe from Cyber Attacks

If you’ve watched the news recently, chances are you’ve probably heard about some large-scale cyber-attacks on major retailers. Unfortunately, hacking incidents are becoming increasingly common. Hackers pride themselves on cracking complex codes and security features, and stealing sensitive personal information. As a result, business owners have to get creative in order to protect themselves and their customers. Here are five ways to address the question, “Is Your Small Business Account Safe from Cyber Attack?

Encrypt Data

Even the largest corporations with the most cutting edge security measures in place are occasionally targets for hackers. In order to protect your data, it’s a good idea to encrypt it regularly. Encryption basically gathers all your company data and turns into a secret language that only you or your team members are able to understand. The data is password protected and can be accessed through a secure web-based platform. Encryption can help protect sensitive company and client information in the event of a cyber-attack.

Schedule Frequent Back-ups

Frequent back-ups are a must for any business website. Backing up your data daily ensures that if your site is hacked or there’s a problem with a plug-in that causes, you can easily access a recent back-up without experiencing too much downtime. Always make sure to find a secure program that allows you to schedule regular back-ups for your site.

Upgrade your Plug-ins

Many business owners use platforms like WordPress for their websites, and install security plug-ins to help reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. This is an effective way to protect your business website, but it’s important to note that security plug-ins will require updating over time. Most developers will notify you when updates are available for a particular plug-in. When you login to modify your website, be sure to check for updates regularly.

Run Regular Virus Scans

Sometimes you can unintentionally pick up a computer virus as you’re browsing the web. Some of these viruses are designed to harvest sensitive data from infected computers. Make sure you have a trustworthy virus protection program installed on your laptop or PC, and schedule daily scans. This can help protect your sensitive personal and business information from falling into the wrong hands.

Create Complex Passwords

Do you have website logins for yourself and your team members? If so, it’s a good idea to set guidelines for strong passwords. Consider establishing a rule that all passwords need to contain a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. That way, it makes it more difficult for cyber criminals to gain unauthorized access to your business website. Outline these metrics for your employees and explain to them why strong passwords are so important. Having effective passwords in place can prevent hackers from accessing your website via private accounts.

Cyber-crime is a very real threat, and hackers are becoming more sophisticated as technology continues to evolve. Taking steps to protect your small business online can help prevent cyber-attacks that compromise sensitive company information and customer data. Get started today by encrypting your data, scheduling regular back-ups, upgrading your plug-ins and virus protection programs, and developing complex passwords.

About the author: Fay St. James is a technology writer living in Boston. She frequently covers IT and security issues related to small business.

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