4 Simple Ways for Small Businesses to Protect Themselves Online

Last Updated on: March 15th, 2016

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Today’s guest is going to do something similar to what Cassie Phillips did a while ago: help you protect yourself online.

I know we can always use more security tips, right? Sophie Lizard outlines 5 tips for freelancers in this post, and here are 4 more for you.

Now please welcome Arthur Baxter to center stage.

4 Ways to Protect Yourself Online

Small businesses don’t have it easy. Cybersecurity is something every business should be aware of, but it’s even more important when it comes to small businesses. According to the Small Business Subcommittee, nearly 20% of all cyber attacks occur in businesses with 250 or fewer employees. Unfortunately, most of the time these attacks could have been prevented if the business had enacted a few simple security measures. If you own a small business, it’s important you follow these 4 security steps to protect it from online threats.

1. Choose Better Passwords

If you want to protect your business, then it’s important to start using better passwords immediately. One of the easiest ways for hackers to infiltrate any system is by uncovering passwords, and when your passwords are simple names like family members, friends, and pets, it becomes even easier. First, start by using both upper- and lower-case letters, and add a few numbers in as well. Second, make sure your security questions don’t include answers that could easily be found with a quick social media search. Finally, try to make your passwords more than eight characters long. 12 characters is good, but 15 is even better.

2. Back Up Your Data

In a recent report conducted by Carbonite, a staggering 40% of IT professionals admitted their small business would go bankrupt if they lost all their files. Taking the time to back up your data may seem like a giant waste of time, but it’s extremely important—especially if your data includes customer-sensitive information like credit card details, addresses, etc. There are plenty of free cloud-based solutions currently available. In fact, here’s a whole list to help get you started. And while you’re at it, make sure you update your software whenever you’re prompted to. By keeping your software updated, you’ll have a much better chance at protecting your business from common malware and viruses that often find their way in.

3. Tighten Social Media Privacy Settings

If you’ve ever promoted your business online or have any connection with your business on social media, then it’s important to change your privacy settings pronto. While social media makes it easier to spread the word across multiple channels, potentially harmful information like names, dates, addresses, etc. are all public knowledge, and hackers can use this information to glean private info about you, your company, and your employees in which they can use to hack into your network. In order to protect yourself against these privacy threats, make sure you change your social media settings to help improve your privacy. Here’s a Facebook guide to help max out your privacy settings.

4. Start Using A VPN

Speaking of privacy, using a VPN will also help protect both you and your employees’ privacy. A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your traffic and anonymizes your data. It adds an extra layer of security to your network by anonymizing your data. Hackers can’t see what you’re doing, so they have no way of finding their way in. Most reputable VPN services cost around $5-10 a month. Best of all, you can use a VPN for Mac, Windows and all your mobile devices.

And there you have it. Following a few basic safety measures will go a long way in improving your business’s online security.

[Tweet “Thanks for the online protection tips @expressvpn for #bloggers and #entrepreneurs!”]

NOTE: If you have questions, please connect with someone from ExpressVPN via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. VE logo

 

 

Guest post submitted by Arthur Baxter, Network Operations at ExpressVPN. Learn more about Internet privacy on their site here.

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