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9 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business Owners

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9 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business Owners

By ngoriel, SBA Official
Published: October 17, 2013

Small businesses are becoming a larger target for criminals seeking to access sensitive data because attackers are well aware that small businesses have limited resources or personnel dedicated to information system security. In an effort to combat cyber-attacks, the Department of Homeland Security established October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month to educate the public about cyber security and to prepare the nation in the event of a cyber-incident.

Here are 9 cyber security tips for small business owners:

1.      Use the FCC’s Small Biz Cyber Planner to create a cyber security plan

The Small Biz Cyber Planner is valuable for businesses that lack the resources to hire a dedicated staff member to protect themselves from cyber threats. The tool walks users through a series of questions to determine which cyber security strategies should be included in the planning guide, and generates a customized PDF that serves as a cyber-security strategy template.


2.      Establish cyber security rules for  your employees

Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect personally identifiable information.  Clearly detail the penalties for violating cyber security policies.


3.      Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code
Install, use, and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors.


4.      Educate employees about safe social media practices

Depending on what your business does, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be taught how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. This type of safe social networking can help avoid serious risks to your business.


5.      Manage and assess risk

Ask yourself, “What do we have to protect? And, what would impact our business the most?” Cyber-criminals often use lesser-protected small businesses as a bridge to attack larger firms with which they have a relationship. This can make unprepared small firms a less attractive business partner in the future, blocking potentially lucrative business deals.


6.      Download and install software updates when they are available
All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install such updates automatically.


7.      Make backup copies of important business data and information
Regularly backup the data on every computer used in your business. Critical data includes word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly.


8.      Control physical access to computers and network components

Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, so make sure they are stored and locked up when unattended.


9.      Secure Wi-Fi networks

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your home business make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, configure your wireless access point or router so that it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).  In addition, make sure that passwords are required for access. It is also critical to change the administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.

Click here for a list of cyber security events and webinars. 

Source: FCC's Cyber Security Tips for Small Business


Other Related Resources

Federal Communications Commission – Cyber Security for Small Business

Learn more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month Federal government’s website to help protect you online



About the Author:

Natale Goriel

SBA Official

Hi, my name is Natale and I'm serving as a Moderator for the SBA Community. Our goal is to continually improve this site to meet your needs, so we appreciate your feedback and participation.


Great list. Setting up a routine backup of all computers is a good practice. This can be done automatically in Mac and WIndows machines.
now, all criminal activity is becoming increasingly dangerous and growing very fast. thank you for sharing this experience for us!!!
Well guiding force to drive small business holders to run their business efficiently & safely. Since cyber crimes are taking place more then frequently where it is important to keep a check & running the business in a better shape.
Thank you for the tips,it is true that the criminal activity on the net is certainly on an increase and these tips are going to be of great help especially for the small business ventures.
Great list. Setting up a routine backup of all computers is a good practice. This can be done automatically in Mac and WIndows machines.
Any spacial tipe for Wordpress User?
If you are really serious about security you must use a plugin like BulletProof Security or Better WP Security. They both have many security options that will make your website a lot safer. Besides this, you must, as this article also states, keep your software up to date (wordpress version, plugins, themes) and remove any files that you do not use anymore. Hope this helps!
There is a WordPress plugin that does a backup of your site and stores it on DropBox, you might want to check that out, as well as, VaultPress a website that provides security products for WordPress.


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