Top 10 Things Small Business Owners can do to Protect Themselves from Hackers (part2)

Are you worried about hackers? Do you not have a clue on what to do or where to start? Well, you have come to the right place. You should be concerned, and you should have a way to get helpful information. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of resources out there to help small business owners. This is the second in a series on helping small business owners protect themselves. You can see the earlier post here. So let’s get started.

  1. Do not give out your personal information to anyone that does not need it. This seems simple but how many times do you give out social security numbers phone numbers and the like over the phone or to a total stranger. Stop and think a second before you do this. Our inclination is to help people out and to trust people. We have to deny this impulse.
  2. Do not answer the phone directly. Of course, if your business depends on customer service and responsiveness, by all means, answer the phone. But what about your cell phone or your personal lines. Unless there is something time sensitive let it go to voice mail. I can’t tell you how many times a call comes in and they do not leave a voice mail. I look up the number later and it is a solicitor or even worse a scammer trying to do some social engineering.
  3. Talk to your employees. I mean stay in touch with what they are doing. Not just to preach to them about cybersecurity but to get to know their habits. What they are doing. Who they are talking to and how? This can tell you a lot about what they may be doing with your companies’ information.
  4. Get involved in your IT provider’s operation a bit. I don’t mean look over their shoulder. But ask them a few questions. And get to know the IT guy that is servicing your computers. Ask for a quarterly report on their operations and what they are doing about the latest virus or attack you read about in the news. Keep them on their toes.
  5. How old are your computers? And when was the last time they were serviced or updated? Know this and make sure it is getting done. A huge cause of attacks is old computers with old updates on them.
  6. Train your people. You can’t send everyone to training. But make sure you are taking advantage of local seminars offered by computer vendors or local computer stores. Send someone from your company to each of these. It really helps. And they can bring back this knowledge to the rest of your people.
  7. Give a reward for anyone who finds a cybersecurity problem. Instead of punishing someone for a mistake. Which will make them hide it. Give a reward. A small amount of money will do. Now you have gone from a hidden problem to a company full of people that are looking out for you.
  8. Make sure your managers are on board. They will be able to carry out your own ideas on cybersecurity if you cannot. If they see you doing the right things, then they will be more likely to do them.
  9. Get help. If you have problems or questions find an expert to advise you. If you have to spend a few thousand dollars for some help to get your house in order that is a lot better than hundreds of thousands later on. Better safe than sorry applies double with cybersecurity. Talk to an IT expert or talk to a consultant and get a cybersecurity study done on your company. Do the work now to save the pain later.
  10. Show the rest of the company that you are serious. Don’t just say you are serious. Take the actions and do the work. Show everyone including vendors, supply chain, employees and your managers that you are walking the walk. It will pay off huge in the long run.

These are just some ideas to get you going. And most of them will cost you nothing. Don’t be the last person to start taking action. I would be happy to hear from any of you on questions you have. Comments complaints or successes. You can reach me on my contact page or enter a comment below. If you need to remain anonymous that is not a problem I deal with company’s secrets every day.

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