e know that most cybersecurity advice is often overly technical and complicated, which makes it nearly impossible to follow. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few easy but impactful ways for all small businesses to protect themselves.
Why should small businesses care about cybersecurity?
Bad actors know that small business owners don’t always have the time or expertise to defend themselves the way a large enterprise can, which makes them a popular target. While you may not be concerned about hackers getting your information, 43% of attacks in 2019 targeted small and midsize businesses, according to CNBC. And cybersecurity attacks are costly: 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of suffering a cyberattack. It pays to have a plan in place.
We’re not here to scare you; we’re here to help! According to a recent security report by Verizon, 82% of breaches involve a “human element.” This means a password was stolen, a weak password was re-used, or someone was tricked into typing their information on a fraudulent website or app, to name a few examples. The good news is that the human elements of cybersecurity are easy to prepare for. Follow the below advice to keep your small business safe from fraud:
4 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses
Always check the URL
The most common hacking techniques aren’t complex hacking as depicted in the movies; it’s tricking people into giving up their information on websites and phone calls by impersonating a business, tricking people into clicking on malicious links, and other fraudulent behaviors. That’s why checking the URL is essential for security. Before visiting a website, make sure that the URL is a link you trust.
If you’re on your laptop, you can view a URL by hovering your mouse over the link before clicking on it. This can help you be a little more sure that you’re visiting a safe site.
At Novo, our entire business is on the novo.co domain (which may show up as app.novo.co or novo.co/blog, for example).
Use strong, unique passwords
The fact of the matter is that sometimes companies get breached. When you use the same password for all your logins, more of your accounts are at risk when a breach occurs.
A password you use has probably already been part of a breach: you can check out https://haveibeenpwned.com/ to see for yourself. Unfortunately, this means your beloved old password is already in the hands of cybercriminals, who can try that email-password combo to get into your other accounts.
We recommend you use a strong, unique password for every account. A password manager such as Dashlane or 1Password is a great way to have strong passwords without needing to remember every single one.
Utilize 2-Factor Authentication
2-factor authentication (2FA, also known as multi-factor authentication) is an extra layer of security, so even if someone knows your password, they also need your phone to prove that they are you. You can set up 2FA via text message or by downloading an app like Duo or Authy. Password managers also offer this feature, which means you can solve two problems with one app.
It’s important to remember that you should never share your 2FA code. Companies will never ask you for this code via email, text, or over the phone. Only use it to log into the service you’re trying to access.
Update your devices frequently
The companies that built your phone and computer want to keep you safe, and they have large teams constantly making updates to patch newly identified security risks. The best way to stay up to date on your devices’ security is to enable automatic software updates. This is usually available from the Settings or System Preferences app.
The above four tips will help your small business reduce the likelihood of fraud. Always remember to check the URL and update your devices. And while you’re at it, make sure that your passwords aren’t all the same and that you have 2FA turned on. Keep your business safe and thriving.