Top cyber security tips for small business

StuartBusiness Technology, Cloud Accounting

Huge opportunities for small businesses beckon thanks to online technology and the connections it forges. With this in mind, it’s important you’re equipped to deal with cyber security threats. From phishing scams and ransoms to data hacks and fraud, cyber threats come in all shapes and sizes. But there are ways to minimise the chance of your business data being compromised.

Here are 5 simple cyber security tips to help keep your data secure:

1. Strong and secure passwords

Regularly change passwords and do not share them. Strong passwords with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols are harder to hack. Go one better and activate two-factor authentication. It’s basically a two-step verification process that requires not just a username and password, but also a piece of information that only the user gets given – such as a code sent to your mobile phone. This extra layer of protection makes it harder for hackers to gain access to sensitive information. Most cloud services and social networking sites give you the option of two-factor authentication. It’s not always enabled by default though, so you may need to manually turn it on.

542 Tip: Tell your employees to create passphrases for their online accounts. Advise them to use two-factor authentication or verification for additional protection. Read more: How to minimise the risk of your Xero account being compromised

2. Utilise latest available security updates

Run weekly anti-virus and malware scans and have up-to-date security software. Instances of malicious software (malware) are increasing. It can be easy to accidentally click on an email or website link which can infect your computer.

In some instances, your device may be impacted by ransomware.

542 Tip: It’s a good idea to use multiple backup methods to help ensure the safety of your important files. Keep your security software up to date and back up data to devices or locations isolated from your business network.

3. Monitor your accounts for unusual activity

Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. Be alert and protect yourself from being scammed. Check your accounts (including bank accounts, digital portals and social media) for transactions or interactions you did not make, or content you did not post.

542 Tip: If you become aware of a scam, or you’ve been scammed, let other people and your industry association know about it. We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page.

4. Control who has access to your data

Maintain a record of all the computer equipment and software used by your business. Have policies and processes in place for your staff that outlines what is the accepted standard when accessing data, emails and the internet. Make sure your employees are aware of the policies and that they review them regularly.

542 Tip: Keep items secure to prevent forbidden access and remind employees to be mindful of where and how they keep their devices.

5. Know who you’re dealing with

Scammers can take the information you publicly display and impersonate you or your business. Impersonators may send emails to trick your staff into providing valuable information or releasing funds.

542 Tip: Be aware of who you are interacting with. There are steps you can take to protect your business. We advise doing your due diligence before entering into any business arrangement. Read more: Do you know who you’re doing business with? 

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