A Small Business Guide to Preventing and Recovering From Cyber Attacks


Unfortunately, cyber crimes like fraud and data breaches are increasing, largely due to the fact that people are becoming more reliant on digital devices and the internet. If you're a small business owner, it's especially critical to take action against cyber threats that could endanger your business. For example, if hackers access sensitive customer information, such as payment data, you could be held liable. To help, the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce explains how to prevent cyber attacks and provides some tips on how to recover if you are targeted by an attack.


Set clear guidelines for how data is stored and shared, and use PDF tools


Your business may deal with sensitive documents like contracts and payment information. Make sure this paperwork is saved securely. Cloud storage is a great way to store digital documents, protecting against hackers and malware and ensuring all access is password-protected. Note that the format of the documents you save also matters. It's advisable to use a PDF editor to safely send documents in a password-protected format. You can combine multiple documents in one PDF to simplify sharing and reordering pages within the document as needed. With this and other PDF tools, you can ensure your files stay secure.


Invest in comprehensive cybersecurity software


Cybersecurity software helps to protect against incidents like unauthorized data breaches and identity theft. This roundup of technologies covers some of the most in-demand tools, including antivirus, malware, and intrusion protection software. The Federal Communications Commission offers additional tips for boosting cybersecurity using this kind of technology, such as securing your Wi-Fi networks and establishing a firewall for your internet. You also want to limit employees' access to sensitive data as well as their ability to install new software independently.


Provide cybersecurity training to employees


There's no point implementing all kinds of fancy software and tech tools if your employees aren't implementing them properly. Make sure to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices. For example, it's important that employees always use strong passwords on their devices and files. A good password should include a mix of numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters. Also, encourage employees to change their passwords regularly. Hold regular cybersecurity training sessions to make sure everybody is up-to-date on the latest protocols, and establish an IT help desk for everyday support.


Have a cyber attack response plan


In case your business is targeted by a cyber attack, have a plan in place. The priority is to contain sensitive data and limit an attack's scope. Writing out a cybersecurity response plan, with key tasks and who's responsible for them, is helpful. Start by assessing the nature of the incident and setting up an incident response team. Affected networks, systems, or devices should be isolated. You can then conduct a more in-depth investigation into the threat and determine how to stop it. It's also important to consider regulatory requirements. For example, if customer data was leaked, you need to communicate this.


Hire external experts to help with cybersecurity and recovery 


If you aren't technologically savvy, the idea of dealing with cyber attacks can be daunting. Don't stress. There are professionals who can help. You can outsource your IT security, for example, and hire experts in case of a breach. Professional cybersecurity experts can provide process improvement consulting, helping you to identify and eliminate wasteful practices in the supply chain. This can help you get rid of hurdles that would impede fast action in case of a data breach, for example.


The thought of your business being targeted by a cyber attack isn't pleasant. However, it's important to prepare for the possibility. By taking steps like adapting how you share data and training employees, you can stay safe.