If you own or run a small business, don’t fall into the trap of thinking cyberattacks only happen to large corporations with billions of dollars in capital. The truth is that cybercriminals focus their sights on small- to medium-sized companies that they believe lack the resources or manpower to adequately protect themselves. Effective cybersecurity solutions are essential when it comes to growing your business.

In fact, the FBI recently issued a warning for all small businesses to expect a rise in ransomware attacks during the holidays — a time when most people take vacation and leave networks especially vulnerable to hackers.

As a valued client of C&K Systems, the safety and security of your business and its data is very important to us. That is why we put together this list of five tips to protect your network this holiday season. While incidents and threats continue to ramp up, these tools can go a long way toward cyberattack prevention and ensuring your finances and reputation stay well intact.

1. Employee education — Because most data breaches result from human error, it is essential your employees learn how to spot fraudulent emails and links that could lead to phishing attacks or infect your network with malware. With the right amount of training, your staff can turn into cybersecurity experts and grow into your greatest line of cyberattack prevention.

2. Password hygiene — Employees and other members of your staff may use the same password for various apps and programs because it’s easier to memorize. Bad idea — using the same password is equivalent to inviting hackers into your network. Have your employees use unique passwords for different programs, and most importantly, a password manager who requires them to change them every three months.

3. Multi-factor authentication — MFA requires users to provide two or more verification factors before accessing a network. An example is an ATM, which forces users to have a card and a password to access their bank accounts. An MFA makes it difficult for a hacker to hit their target by adding an extra level of defense, forcing them to get through more than one barrier of your security.

4. AI-based cybersecurity solutions — AI (artificial intelligence) can boost a business in a number of ways — none more, however, than when it comes to cybersecurity. AI provides your network with 24/7/365 monitoring and security, keeping your data and your clients’ data safe even when you and your employees are away from the office. And because AI-based solutions are developed to know the nuances of your network, they can detect strange activity — such as the source of an attack — and identify and resolve problems before they even begin.

5. Up-to-date software — Hackers and cybercriminals are growing more skilled and audacious by the day, so it is essential businesses maintain pace. Always make sure your antivirus software is updated regularly and your Wi-Fi networks are secure. And as more companies shift toward a remote work environment, make sure your employees are logging into your network with their personal devices as securely and safely as possible.

Though the thought of a cybersecurity attack and ensuing data breach sounds scary, this is no time to panic. Rather, this is an opportunity for you to take stock of your security and see how and where it needs to be strengthened. And if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at C&K Systems. Our comprehensive suite of services includes 24/7/365 support and increased cybersecurity, giving you and your staff peace of mind you need to get through the busy holiday season.

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