Busy retail business owners are more connected than ever, and as a result, cyber security is of the utmost importance. This year has been no exception when it comes to seeing an increase in cybercrime, cyber attacks, and data breaches. Furthermore, as these recent breaches have underlined, cyber attacks are becoming more common and sophisticated, with a more evolved set of bad actors and techniques cropping up each day.
Thankfully, there are several easy-to-implement cyber security steps and online safety measures you can implement into your business and daily routine that could help you stay one step ahead of these bad actors and cyber risks.
Here are a few quick tips to consider:
- Use strong passphrases/password manager
- Enable multi-factor authentication
- Install a firewall & anti-virus software
- Keep your software and devices updated
- Research what you’re about download
- Keep your privacy & security setting in check
- Have a backup strategy
Use strong passphrases/password manager
To keep your valuable personal and business data safe from cybercriminals, you need to implement strong passwords and consider using a good password manager with the following tips. Use a uniquely long, complex password for each account. This will make it much harder for hackers to use various tools and attacks to “crack” your password and steal all your information at once by hacking one easy-to-guess account with a password you have used over and over again.
Creating more robust, unique passwords with a combination of letters, numbers, uppercase, lowercase, and symbols, instead of just letters and numbers makes it difficult for hackers to predict, guess, or even crack your passwords. Plus, a password manager will keep your passwords safe and secure and easy to recall when you need them.
Enable multi-factor authentication
You’re already using passwords, right? Perhaps you should consider adding an additional layer of security. A little extra protection never hurt anyone! Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or Two-Factor Authentication are great ways to keep your account safe from bad guys who like stealing your personal data—especially if they crack your password.
With MFA in place, even if someone gains access to your username and password, they won’t be able to log into your account with only that information. MFAs introduce additional credentials and information such as one-time codes, SMS text, or visual verification to further the authentication process.
Install a firewall and anti-virus software
It’s imperative to install a firewall and anti-virus software to protect your business from hackers. Both security measures will protect your computer systems and network perimeter against malware, viruses, and intruders, which might bring your business to a painful halt. Installing both can also help prevent cybercriminals from accessing sensitive data on your computer.
Remember, having more devices connected to the internet increases your vulnerability to an attack and increases the risk to your company. So it’s best to have multiple layers of protection to combat cyber threats.
Keep your software and devices updated
As a small business owner, you have enough to worry about – don’t neglect the care, maintenance, and security in keeping your software and mobile devices updated. It can be tempting to postpone that anti-virus software update notification or run Windows updates.
However, not having critical security patches, point of sale software updates, or even an insecure mobile device could be the Achilles heel that takes down your business with a security incident, data breach, or system compromise.
Do your research before downloading
It is also essential to research any newly downloaded software to ensure it’s legitimate and safe before installing it. It’s not enough to just read the app store reviews or scroll through what other people are saying about it on social media. You should also check the internet for articles or blogs published regarding any issues or security flaws with the software or app.
You should only install apps from trusted, reliable sources such as the App Store and Google Play. This step is crucial in effective malware prevention.
Keep your privacy settings in check
It’s essential to keep a close eye on your privacy and security settings for apps and software like Google docs, social media, and Zoom calls. It’s equally essential for the security and privacy of your employee’s and customer’s data. For example, if you’re hosting a Zoom meeting, create an event password so only those invited to the session can join. You can also restrict who can share their screen or files with the rest of the attendees.
Be sure to fully explore and properly set up your privacy and security settings in your mobile apps as well. Correctly configuring your settings can prevent unauthorized access to your sensitive data, contacts, photos, and more.
Have a backup strategy in place
Want to up your anti-ransomware game? Keeping your data backed up is one of the most effective ways to avoid accidental data loss. Not backing up your data can result in catastrophic consequences, not just for you but also for your employees and customers. A recent example of this is the WannaCry ransomware attack that recently affected many businesses. These and other security incidents prove how important it is to have a reliable backup strategy that safeguards information, especially in these times where cyber-attacks are constantly targeting our computers and devices.
A simple backup strategy like the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy can increase your disaster recovery capability in the event of a ransomware attack. The backup plan calls for three copies of your data, on two different types of media, with one copy off site.
It’s time to protect your business and your customers by putting into place these simple, easy-to-use steps and basic cyber security best practices to maintaining a more secure online hygiene. True, no single tip is foolproof, but the above tips combined can help make a real difference in the online security of your retail business. A conscious effort of practicing better online safety paired with ongoing user education can help decrease your exposure and risk of being hacked or your business compromised.
Here at C&K Systems, we offer many managed services and security solutions that can help protect your business and your customers from online threats. Our managed services and security solutions include Managed Desktops, Server management, and Managed Backup Solutions. Let us do the heavy lifting of managing your IT for you. Contact our retail technology experts by calling 888-476-7911 today.