When we think about digital security breaches, most of us picture large corporations being attacked by a team of hackers; something like what happened to Ashley Madison in 2015.

It may surprise you to know, however, that most data breaches occur in small to medium-sized businesses. A whole 62 percent of such attacks happens to SMBs, dispelling the myth that cyber security is only a real concern for major businesses.

Here are five actions you can take to protect your small business from security breaches. If you have an in-house IT support team, you can likely take care of it yourself. Otherwise, you may have to outsource the task to an expert.

  • Encrypt your communications with a VPN

Setting up a VPN might be somewhat costly, but it’s a quick and simple way to boost your level of protection. VPN software works by encrypting your connections, reducing the likelihood of a breach through publicised information.

Another benefit of having a VPN is that they allow secure, remote access to a server you are not physically connected to.

  • Use strong, random passwords

There are four key ways hackers find out passwords.

  • By guessing over and over, until they get it right.
  • By using an algorithm to automate the process and try many combinations.
  • By using keystroke-tracking software to find out the password directly
  • By seeing the password written down to being told it by an employee.

Except for number three, each of these threats can be prevented by doing two things: choosing a strong password, using upper-case, lower-case, numbers and symbols, and by changing passwords often.

  • Ensure your team works with best practices in mind

One mistake is all that is required for an amateur hacker to breach a secure system. Phishing schemes (fooling users into revealing sensitive information) and spyware (which can be installed from a hidden download link) are a couple of examples of this.

Making sure your employees are aware of such practices is the best way to prevent them from happening. Even the best passwords can easily be cracked if an employee accidently gives out important login information.

  • Secure your Wi-Fi network

Anyone on your internet connection has the potential to see your incoming and outgoing data. It goes without saying that your Wi-Fi network should be secured with a complex, regularly changed password.

You should also take action to monitor the activity on the network, so you can identify any unwanted activity taking place. As an example, an employee’s outside device (such as a tablet or mobile phone) could be carrying malicious software, while also connecting to your network. You’ll want to make sure your workers are aware of such threats.

  • Be aware of the possibility to insider activity

As unlikely as it may seem, sometimes attacks come from the inside. Inside fraud was estimated to be $3.7 trillion in 2014.

Imagine that one of your workers had an incentive to hack into your systems and steal information to sell on at a later date. How easy would it be for them to do it? Do they already have access details and unmonitored access?

There are no ways to completely eliminate the chance of an attack occurring, but you can significantly reduce your risk by taking the appropriate steps. The threat is real, and it is something that you must take seriously.

This article was written by Pyramid IT.

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