How many Small Businesses are in Connecticut? And how many Small Businesses have been protected from data theft?
According to the current Federal data, there are 322,805 small businesses operating in Connecticut, of which 94,723 have employees and remaining 228,082 have no employees at all.
So according to the 2018 Cybersecurity Survey of Connecticut Businesses, a quarter of Connecticut businesses suffered from Data breaches in a previous couple of years.
Let’s have a look at some numbers:
- Half of the small business have had data breaches between 2016 and 2017
- somehow two-thirds of these attacks are on small or medium businesses
- $84,000 to $148,000 is the average cost of a data breach for small businesses
- 90 % of small businesses don’t use cyber protection because they don’t have the budget or they don’t know about it
Why Cybersecurity is a need for small business
With the arrival of industrialization, small business gets an edge to grow. It’s a small capital business which is started from a minimum budget. With the boom in IT infrastructure, small industries also started using websites and blogs to enrich their business. But every coin has two sides. So does it. If it’s a blessing it is also a boon for small scale industry.
If you are running a small business loan company then you have to be careful about the client’s personal information, credit card numbers etc.
For example, when your company fill out a loan application or some other documents that carry confidential information then you must think” I am sure this doesn’t go into the wrong hands”
Well, something similar can happen in the mind of the customer when he transact with your business. When they pull out a credit card, write their checks, provide a personal social security number or give a professional email address. They trust that their confidential information will be saved.
The challenge of security in advanced criminal cyber tactics world is that you can’t plug a few holes and hope for the best. You have to be serious about data integrity and implement such a strategy that takes every possible risk into account.
10 top Data Protection Tips for small businesses
Here are some suggestions for securing your system for keeping the information of your business safe:
1. First, collect, then protect.
Follow reasonable security measures to be sure that the customer and employee’s personal information is protected from unauthorized access.
2. Don’t collect what is not needed.
The more information you have, the bigger a target it will be. Avoid using social security numbers and personal information for customer identification. More layers of identification eventually help attackers from being able to simulate users. Delete the personal information that you don’t need.
3. Updates new security software.
If you are having the latest security software, web browser and operating system then you are most probably have the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Many software usually connects automatically and defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if there is an available option.
4. Scan first then use all new devices.
Be sure to scan all USB or other devices before attache them to your network.
5. Educate your employees.
Employees are the handlers of customer data. According to the data analysis,12% data breach from employees, and 60% from hackers in Connecticut alone. They, however, need to be up-to-date on how to protect that confidential information and make sure it does not go in the wrong hands. They should be aware of the new fraud schemes and asked to employ best practices such as do not respond to suspicious links in unsolicited email messages.
6. Use Secure Communication Methods
The biggest threat that faces your small business is insecure communication. Many companies still choose transfer information through relatively insecure channels such as emails.
Do you know that fax is a more secure form of communication in the business world than anything else?
“When a document is sent by fax it converts into binary code (1s and 0s), sent to the network and reassembled on the other end. Hacking requires direct manual access to the telephone line, and if a file were intercepted it would present itself as nothing but noise, making it virtually impossible to interpret or read.
Other than using fax, you should also review your company’s policy to mobile communications. If your staff uses mobile devices for work purposes it’s okay but, there need to be restrictions on the information devices because they can get access. You should aware of whether devices are being taken home. Clear the guidelines for when IT departments would clean the device.
7. Create a strong Password Strategy
Will you believe it or not, but a lot of cybersecurity attacks succeeded in Connecticut small businesses because their passwords are too simple. It is called “brute forcing.”
Brute force is about to overpower the computer’s defense system because of repetition. In the case of password hacking, dictionary attacks involve dictionary software that recombines English dictionary words with thousands of varying combinations.
This is the stuff like you see in movies, in which the hacker cracks one letter at a time with thousands of variations in a minute. It’s true, you can’t be safe from 100 percent of password threats, but you can make your password harder.
Here are a few things you must know:
- Employees email passwords should be with combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It should be reset every week.
- Administrative accounts should use even more complicated password. Don’t set a simple password like “Password01” or “Admin123.” its easy for the hackers to frequently try these overused codes.
- Implement a strong policy or rules for employees who don’t use strong passwords or don’t take it seriously. They should know you take seriously.
8. A Secure Backup Plan
Cybercriminals are usually known as “cyber blackmail” because they attack a small business.
They usually hold some of your valuable data and demand a ransom. If you have a sufficient backup plan, you’ll have much more advantage in this situation.
With a secure backup plan, your data should be saved and stored in multiple places.
9. Designate a relevant Person
The main barrier for small businesses is a lack of financial resources. Small Business Organizations would say like, “We can’t manage to carry a full-time IT person.
These are valid reasons because small businesses start with small capital, but you need to find ways other than this. Cybersecurity strategies or strong passwords are not optional; they need to be regarded as basic.
However it works for your business; find a reliable IT person to oversee your Cybersecurity efforts. There must be someone who watches over employees work if they are wearing multiple hats.
10. Enable a firewall for your business website.
Even small companies which have a few employees use valuable data that needs to be protected. Be sure you have a firewall to keep outsiders from accessing your small company’s data network.