The holidays are a particularly busy time for small businesses. It’s easy to lose sight of cyber security in all the commotion—but now is the time of year when cybercriminals are at their peak. They are cognizant of the fact that smaller businesses are more likely to let their guard down when they are distracted by holiday sales and events.

The holiday season may be a dangerous time for a small business, so here are some cybersecurity tips to help you get through.

Keep Your Software Up to Date

One of the most common ways for hackers to gain access to small business systems is through outdated software. A “buffer overflow” attack is the most common type of data breach, which occurs when a hacker sends more data to a software program than the program is designed to handle.

This can cause the program to crash or give the hacker access to the system. It is critical to keep all of your software up-to-date in order to protect your business. This includes not only your operating system and web browser but also any plugins or extensions you might be using.

Many software programs will check for updates and tell you to install them, but you should also check for updates on your own from time to time. 

Use Strong Passwords

In order to protect your company’s security and privacy, you should be using resilient passwords. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and stay away from easily guessed words and phrases. 

Each of your company’s accounts should have its own unique password. Passwords that are both difficult to guess and easy to remember are an important line of defense against hacking and other forms of cybercrime. Because each of your accounts uses a unique password, if one of your passwords is ever compromised, none of your other accounts will be harmed.

Starting with a phrase that is simple to remember yet challenging to guess is the first step in developing secure passwords. Then, to make the sentence even safer, you should use letters, numbers, and special characters. For instance, “I love my cat” may be shortened to “1L0v3m3C4t!” 

Don’t Click on Unknown Links or Attachments.

Emails with malicious attachments or links are often the first step in cyberattacks. Do not open emails from people you don’t know or that contain attachments or links you didn’t expect. Cybercriminals frequently send emails that look like they came from a bank or a company with which you regularly do business.

If you click on a link in the email, you might think you’re going to the real site, but in reality you’ll be redirected to a fake one where you’ll be asked to enter sensitive information like your username, password, or even payment details. It’s also possible that the email’s attachment is malicious software disguised to look like a harmless file.

Even if an email looks like it came from someone you can trust, you should be careful before you open any attachments or click on any links. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of an email, you should contact the sender immediately before doing anything else. 

Be Cautious When Using Public Wi-Fi

Keep in mind that public Wi-Fi networks are usually less safe than private ones. Not all public Wi-Fi networks have proper encryption, so anyone who is connected to the network can steal your information. 

To make matters worse, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t usually watched as closely as private ones are. This makes it easier for an attacker with enough technical skills to take over your account or device. If you have to use public Wi-Fi for work, only visit encrypted sites (search for https:// in the address bar) and don’t enter personal information into any forms or login pages.

Backup Your Data Regularly

Having recent backups of your data is crucial to allowing your company to quickly recover from a cyberattack. Malware that encrypts your data and ransomware that locks you out of your system are just two examples of the various types of cyberattacks. In the event of an attack, restoring your system to the condition it was in before the attack can help limit the extent of the damage. 

It is important to create backups of your data on a regular basis and to keep those copies in a safe place, like a remote server or a cloud storage service. That way, if the worst should happen, you can swiftly get your company back on its feet.

Train Your Employees

If you’re a business owner, you should provide cyber security training to your staff. This way, if they ever come across one, they’ll be prepared. Cyberthreats like phishing schemes can be extremely expensive for any company. They can compromise important data and harm your credibility. You may safeguard your company from phishing attacks by taking a few simple precautions. 

The first step is to raise awareness of them among staff members. Second, all employees should know the company’s rules about how to use the internet and email safely. All of your workers will be more likely to adhere to the same standards if you do this.

Use Security Tools

There are many different security tools available that can help protect your small business from cyberattacks. Some popular options include firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. Be sure to research the different options and choose the ones that best fit your business’s needs.

Firewalls can help block unauthorized access to your network, while antivirus software can scan for and remove malicious software. Intrusion detection systems can watch your network for things that don’t seem right and sound an alarm if they find something. By using these tools, you can help keep your business safe from cyber criminals.

Keep an Eye on Your Activity Logs

Experts in information technology stress the need for routinely reviewing activity logs as a technique to detect early indications of a security breach. Keeping an eye on the logs could help you spot any strange behavior that could mean a hacker has gotten into your systems. 

If you see something strange, you should tell your IT department or security provider right away.

Put in Place Physical Security Measures

Physical security measures, such as locks and alarms, should complement digital protections. This will make it more difficult for intruders to break into your facility and steal sensitive data from your computers. 

If they can’t get into your computers in person, they are less likely to be successful in a cyberattack. This is why it’s important to take both cyber and physical precautions to keep your business safe.  

Have an Incident Response Plan

The sooner you can reduce the damage and restore normal operations after a cyberattack, the less impact it will have on your business. You should make a plan ahead of time that covers finding, containing, and getting rid of the threat, as well as getting things back to normal. 

The plan should include information about outside resources like law enforcement and cybersecurity experts, as well as the names of the key people in charge of each step of the response.

Bonus Tip: Partner With SHOCK IT For Your Cyber Security

The effects of a cyberattack can be catastrophic, and no company is safe from this threat. More than ever, it’s crucial to keep your data safe in today’s interconnected digital world. One way to do this is to work with a reputable cyber security service like SHOCK IT. We have the knowledge and tools to help you protect your data from even the most skilled hackers. 

In order to make sure that your data is safe, we will work with you to find possible points of failure and come up with ways to fix them. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your business from the ever-growing risk of cyber attacks.