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5 Cybersecurity Rules for Small Business Owners

A smiling Latino small business owner holding an "open" sign in front of his business.

May is Small Business Month, and while you’re busy building your dreams and scaling up your business it can be easy to put your focus on everything but internet security. Don’t let your attention to security slide—it’s absolutely crucial that you take an active role in protecting your information and your livelihood. Get started with these five cybersecurity rules to defend your small business from the threat of digital thieves.

5 Cybersecurity Rules for Small Business Owners:

  1. Know your enemy. The first step to protecting yourself is knowing where the threats lie. Emails can be a minefield of malicious links, fake invoices, and requests to send money, so it’s imperative that small business owners are aware of the tactics scammers use in order to defend against them. Make sure that all of your employees are aware too, because scammers often cast a wide net in the hopes that at least one of their targets will be fooled.
  2. Know your friends. Fraudsters can take advantage of your growing business, capitalizing on the fact that you’re busy doing it all. It’s all too easy for them to build a website claiming to be a legitimate business, only to be a front for a scam. Make sure to do your due diligence to ensure that any company you use for services is legitimate, and stay vigilant, because those criminals also impersonate trusted businesses, banking on catching you with your guard down.
  3. Use strong passwords. Password protect anything you wouldn’t want an outside person having access to, including physical devices like routers and cell phones. Imagine you only had one key that unlocked each item, file, or place you needed secure. If it fell into the wrong hands, the wielder would gain access to everything. That’s what it’s like when you reuse passwords across multiple accounts. Security company Kaspersky recommends using at least 10 characters of varying types that you can remember, haven’t used before, and is hard for computers to guess.
  4. Always use MFA. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the name for when a system requires one or more other methods of verifying a user’s identity, such as a code sent to a verified phone number or a fingerprint. It’s an additional layer of protection on top of using a strong password. It can also be a signal to you that someone is attempting to gain access. If you find that you’re repeatedly receiving codes on your device, don’t fall for their trick! A fraudster may be hoping you’ll be so annoyed by these notifications that you turn off MFA, allowing them much easier access.
  5. Backup, backup, backup! Make sure to backup your most operationally critical files, and try to store them somewhere separate from where the originals are kept. This can be a valuable asset if you ever fall victim to fraud, have an infrastructure issue, or experience flooding or fire damage, and can help you get back on the job quickly.

These are just some of the steps you can take to protect the business you’ve built from scratch. You can find more ways to protect yourself and your business on The Money Mill blog, including alerts about trending scam techniques. For more about what Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union does to keep your financial information secure and how you can stay vigilant, visit our website.