The U.S. Government and mega stores like Target are not the only ones who need to be concerned about cyber security. Small businesses are often an easy prey for Internet hackers. Yet, small businesses generally don’t have the same resources to defend against hackers and others who would threaten security.

As a small business owner you may feel like hackers won’t bother with your business, only targeting larger companies, but don’t depend upon your size to protect you against a breach. Often hackers get to larger companies through associated smaller business partners. This means that you are at risk even if only as a doorway to another larger company.

Is there anything you can do as a small business owner to protect yourself and the business you’ve built? The answer is yes.

Here are a few steps you can to protect your business:

1. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a Cyber Security Planner. As a small business you can get a copy and adapt the provided guide to suit the needs of your business.

2. Limit the number of people in your company who are authorized to use writeable media tools (think external DVD, USB, thumb drive etc.).

3. Make use of spam filters for email accounts.

4. Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on computers to protect use of the browser from becoming an entry point. Check often for malware and cookies. Antivirus software should be updated on a regular basis – automated updates are preferable.

5. If your business uses laptop computers, be vigilant about keeping them under lock and key when they are not in use for business purposes.

6. Back up all important business data on a weekly basis or purchase a program for automatic backup.

7. In addition to anti-virus and malware protection, you need a personal firewall and network security (software and hardware) that can detect unauthorized intrusions or virus signatures.

8. Only work on a secure Wi-Fi connection and always be sure that the network is password protected. Also check that your network name (SSID) is not broadcast as you use it. This can be done by a router configuration.

9. Train your staff to protect information. They need to understand how to protect information while at work, but also talk with them about what they post via social media.

As a small business owner, you can take precautions to various threats, like by having multiple layers of security, which can make your company a less attractive target to Internet hackers.

Michael Goins
General Manager

Michael Goins currently serves as the General Manager of Midwest Data Center, Inc. He has over 16 years of extensive IT industry experience. He possesses many certifications, including: Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Linux Certified Engineer, and Certified Novell Administrator. As General Manager, Michael has led his team of 35 IT professionals in developing a service portfolio to serve the growing IT needs of businesses in small and mid-size markets. Prior to his current position, Michael held key positions in the financial services and government contract sectors.