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If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or have recently started a small business, it’s important to educate yourself about cybersecurity best practices. Cyber attacks on businesses are increasing, according to Insurance Journal; while there is almost daily news of high profile attacks, that is really just the tip of the iceberg. While you might assume that only major corporations are targeted, small businesses are often pinpointed by hackers because they tend to have less effective cyber defenses — and are thus easier to attack.


12th and Upton Associates helps business owners keep their companies safe with cybersecurity, data privacy compliance and related data management services. Read on for a quick primer to cybersecurity for entrepreneurs.


Keep devices and software up-to-date


Your business computers, tablets, and phones all run on some kind of basic operating system and use software packages—like the Microsoft suite. From time to time, you will be prompted to update an operating system or software product. While it can be tempting to ignore these notifications and continue with your workday uninterrupted, it’s best to apply updates promptly. Why? Updates often include changes that address security vulnerabilities identified in previous versions.


Secure your local network including your Wi-Fi



An unsecured internet connection can be an easy target for hackers. Most small businesses run a local network over Wi-Fi that is based at their router. Make sure that you set unique router and Wi-Fi passwords and keep those passwords secure. You may want to change them regularly, especially if your Wi-Fi is also accessible to customers. If you are working out of a home office, consider using a wired connection to your router; it is much more secure than Wi-Fi.


Consider a separate Firewall


A firewall is an added network security measure that monitors traffic and will block traffic that’s deemed risky and a possible threat. There are multiple ways to set up firewalls: as separate hardware devices you can buy, as additional services running on your router, or on your individual PCs. The professionals at EC Wise can help you determine the appropriate firewall implementation for your organization.


Back up your important documents securely


You don’t want to risk losing important business data or documentation because of a security breach or cyber attack, such as ransomware. It’s important to back up data in a safe and secure manner. Lifewire lists possible options, such as saving documents on an external encrypted hard drive, keeping it in the cloud, or using a removeable USB flash drive..


Use best practices for passwords


Business devices, email, software solutions, bank accounts, and more should all be password protected. We recommends using a password manager so that you can manage unique passwords for all your accounts and only need to remember one. Finally, use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Instead of simply inputting a password, this will add an extra layer of security—for example, by texting a unique code to your mobile device that you then have to enter to access an account.


Create clear policies for your employees


Cybersecurity best practices only work if they are actually implemented. Write down your security policies for yourself and your employees, ensuring clarity and consistency for all. Workable offers a guide to drafting cybersecurity protocols. A comprehensive company policy will address password management, email usage, data transfer, use of company devices, and more. Revisit these policies regularly to ensure they’re up-to-date.


Use the latest CIS controls


The Center for Internet Security, CIS, regularly releases controls designed to safeguard against cyberattacks. CIS Controls v8 is updated to keep up with modern software and systems. For example, more companies are embracing working-from-home and moving fully to cloud environments. The latest CIS controls can help you stay on top of such changes in the constantly evolving cybersecurity landscape.


Have a disaster recovery plan


Even with appropriate precautions, cyberattacks may occur. It’s good to be prepared in case of security breaches. You should have a disaster recovery plan in place for exactly this purpose. We can recommend disaster recovery solutions designed to address everything from network failures to leakware, natural disasters, ransomware, and employee errors. A solid plan will be flexible, allowing you to implement various layers of infrastructure protection while still managing data through a single interface.


As the world increasingly relies on digital technologies, it will become even more important to protect your business against cyberthreats. These tips can help you maintain security. Don’t wait until something goes wrong to take action. Planning ahead is critical to staying safe.


12th and Upton Associates offers tailormade security solutions backed by top-tier technology—all in the interests of keeping your valuable business safe. Find out how we can help you.

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