Small to midsized businesses (SMBs) are the apple of a cybercrook’s eye. They know you can’t afford the same online defense mechanisms that large corporations can, but your data and your customer’s data is just as valuable to a thief.

All SMBs need to be flexible and cost-conscious in order to be competitive. But if you’re relying solely on “free” online services to conduct business like Google Docs, Dropbox, and Facebook without seriously reflecting on IT risk management and data security, you could be putting your entire business at risk.

According to Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Report, targeted attacks against SMBs rose by a whopping 91% in 2013, with 62% of those attacks being carried out successfully to the detriment of the business under siege.

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

Here are five things you can do right now to help make your business and your customers more secure:

  • Determine what your risks are and prioritize them. Do an internal audit and take stock of all the tools you’re using to do business including the communications tools, social channels, and various types of software. Look for deficiencies in the tools you’re using and how you’re using them and rank which poses the biggest threat. Measure your cyberattack readiness: How will you and your company respond to an attack?
  • Train your employees. Make sure your staff aren’t unknowingly putting your company at risk by ensuring customer and business data is kept in-house and not on your staff’s personal mobile devices. Teach them to be aware of the personal information they share about themselves online, including on social networks.
  • Monitor online threats. As the saying goes, “knowing it is half the battle.” In other words, be aware of cyberthreats such as phishing, emailed viruses and URLs from unknown sources, and social media-related scams and attacks. Never click on any link from an unknown source.
  • Keep your antivirus software up to date and backup your data. Be sure to regularly install patches to your antivirus solution, any other software you use, and to your computer’s operating system. Of equal importance is know where your data is stored and backup that data regularly.
  • Review and fine tune your risk strategy. Conduct regular reviews of your risk management strategy and add to it as you go along. Where you spot weaknesses, don’t delay to make changes. Change your passwords regularly, make sure you’re passwords aren’t easy to guess, and don’t use the same password repeatedly.

There is no such thing as a “silver bullet” when it comes to IT security. That is to say, there is no one single software solution you can buy that will safeguard your business and your data from cybercriminals. But that doesn’t mean you have to make it easy for the bad guys to rip you off. Would you leave the front door of your home unlocked? Of course you wouldn’t. So apply the same cautious and common sense approach to IT security and risk management. Doing so might be the difference between opening up for business tomorrow and declaring insolvency.

Want to learn more about how you can protect your business and achieve your strategic goals? Outsource My IT is a leader in keeping small to midsized businesses on the leading edge of managed IT services at affordable rates. Call us at 973-396-5278 or email us at contactus@outsourcemyit.com for more information and a free consultation.