It’s no secret that today’s small businesses are under a constant threat of a cyber attack. We’ve all seen it in the big-business world – Target, Home Depot, Macy’s, etc.,

As a small company, responsible for protecting the personal and proprietary information in their care, a breach of the security could mean the end of the business, and ongoing legal problems that can haunt business owners and investors.

 So how can you, as a small business owner and/or employee, protect yourself, your company, your clients, and your information? In his article in “Entrepreneur” (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246473), John Mason gives us a few tools which will help keep make you effective in your fight against cyber attacks.

First of all, Mason tells us to create a culture of cyber security. We cannot assume our employees, or employers, are savvy with the latest opportunistic attacks. Email blasts, word of mouth, and addressing all potential opportunities as they show up will keep everyone on the team vigilant in keeping an eye open for weaknesses and points of entry for cyber criminals.

Next, he reminds us that these attacks are not just some kid accidentally getting into your system by guessing a password; these are sophisticated, planned attacks with the sole intention of gaining access to your network, drive, cloud, etc.
That being said, your responsibility is to conduct your business with the expectation that you will be subject to an attack, and to be just as sophisticated and planned in your defense as the bad guys are at their attack. Streamlining your system to function as a unit, with all parts working together to be a wall of defense, is vital to blocking those pesky baddies from snatching your sensitive information. Always keep the most sensitive information as safe as possible.

Another thing to consider is getting social. While it’s not widely embraced, staying in touch with other business, IT developers and security professionals can help keep each other up-to-speed on the latest attacks, provide vital information on new security software or programs, and create a universal toolbox for putting a strong defense.

We don’t want to ignore one of the easiest ways for hackers to gain access to proprietary info. – personal or business mobile devices. From phones to tablets, mobile access is by far the growing way to do business. How well do you trust the tablet you’re swiping your card on at the local coffee spot? Does that SMB using a mobile payment system have high standards of security, or maybe someone put an app on the tablet, with a backdoor code capturing all the information needed to get a brand new credit card with your name on it? There even viruses for mobile devices that remotely access your microphone and/or camera to spy on business meetings, conversations, etc. Not a fun thought!

 You need to have a firm mobile device policy; avoid apps or programs that are not verified as safe. Do your diligence and research what is being downloaded, popular or not – a simple Google search can help avoid major issues down the road.

Finally, you need to choose a security provider who fits your business. They should be vetted, have an easy to implement program, with easy updates and upgrades. They should also provide 24-hour access to an  actual live security professional.

In our current business arena, it is more and more evident that we can’t stop every attack, but we can begin to fight back. Do everything you can to avoid being on the list of names associated with the next cyber attack!