As more and more people continue to make the leap to virtual work due to the events of 2020 and general advances in technology, it is more important than ever to keep your small business secure online. According to a recent Forbes article, “71% of business decision-makers believe the shift to 100% remote working during the COVID-19 crisis has increased the likelihood of a cyber-breach.” 

We have rounded up four top tips and best practices to keep your business secure online. Read on to learn simple ways you can keep your small business or start-up protected in the modern digital business environment. 

1 - Update Your Passwords

An easy task that is so often overlooked: updating your passwords. Reminding your staff and keeping your own passwords updated periodically is a great initial step to keep your business secure online. In fact, it is considered best practice to have your employees update their passwords every 90 days! 

Some tips to keep in mind and communicate throughout your business:

  • Passwords used for business should be different than the passwords use on their personal accounts
  • Remind employees not to have their password written down anywhere on their desk or stored in their work area or on their cellphones
  • Passwords should be a combination of letters, number, and symbols, when possible

For a funny look at computer passwords, listen to Michael McInyre.

2 - Don’t Fall for Phishing Schemes

The best way to keep your business secure online is through education. This means keeping both yourself and your employees up-to-date with the many ways phishers try to steal your information. General education should be provided for all personnel in your business and should include common red flags that an email or text could be a scam:

  • Attachments and Information Requests 
    • Companies generally, as a safety precaution will not send attachments without solicitation or ask for private information over text or email.
    • Teach your employees to not open unexpected attachments.
    • If an email asks for you to click on a link to enter a password or account information, do not use the link; instead go to the website directly and access from there.
  • Domain Email Tips
    • Look to see where the sender’s email originated from. This can be used to determine if the sender is legitimate or operating under a spam account. An example of a spam account would be [email protected] versus an authentic email which would look like this [email protected]
  • Generic Greeting
    • Check to see if the text or email is personalized with your name. Generally, hackers do not have access to this information or don’t take the time to include it. 

3 - Protect Your Business from Digital Intruders

Being proactive with a plan to keep your business secure online is critical. This is especially true when it comes to minimizing the threat of invasion from viruses, malware, and ransomware. Make sure your business invests in cutting edge security software that automatically updates to ensure you are protecting your business assets. 

4 - Utilize a Cloud Service

Ensure business continuity by having a back-up plan if your business does become the target of a cyber-attack. If there is anything to be taken away from the recent world events of 2020, it is that it’s wise to be prepared for anything. 

A cloud service is a digital server that can be accessed remotely from any location. This means your data can be easily transferred, and accessible in the case of a cyber-attack. By backing up your business data on a cloud server, your data will be restored, and you’ll be back in business as quickly as possible. 

It also protects your business from ransomware attacks where a bad actor locks up your hard drive or server and demands a large payment to release your information to you.

Why does this matter?

New York State law requires businesses to protect certain types of information, in particular employee information, from falling into the wrong hands. Failure to keep your data safe can result in fines, lawsuits and the loss of your reputation – which is priceless.

Ready Make Sure Your Business is Secure Online?

With so many things to consider when establishing the digital safety nets for your business, you will no doubt have a few questions. We have helped many small businesses and start-ups just like yours get set up for digital success.

Francine E. Love
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Founder and Managing Attorney at Love Law Firm, PLLC which dedicates its practice to New York business law