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How to Prevent Cybercrime at Your Small Business

Deborah Gallant
August 26, 2023

Should small businesses be concerned about cybercrime? We asked Kyle Knapp, owner of Viterium, a Pittsburgh-area IT firm, and a member of Entrepreneurs Forever, for his expert opinion.

“Smaller businesses sometimes think, 'I'm too small for anyone to target,” says Knapp, “but cyber thieves are counting on this and on small businesses not having the resources or security standards in place."

You can get more info on cybercrime at small businesses by watching the Kyle's Deep Dive presentation covering how to keep your business safe (click "play" on the video to watch the entire presentation).

Securing Your Small Business Data: Cyber Security Tips

The best way to stop cyber crime at your business is to beef up your security – prevention is always more effective, efficient, and lower cost than falling victim to the crime. So … an antivirus app? Well, yes you should have that.  (It is now often bundled with your Operating System, but you might want a standalone antivirus software too.) But that is just the start.

Knapp recommends a multi-faceted that includes the following:

  • Backup your data: Knapp says this is key to defend against the impact of ransomware. “If you have a backup of all your information, there's no need to pay the ransomware. You can restore from backup and be up and running without any issues,” he notes. “The rule is 3 copies of your data in 2 locations.” Does the cloud count as a location? Yes. So does an external hard drive, stored in a different location.
  • Use multi-factor authentication: Knapp describes this as that “annoying” thing where your bank requires you to set up a 2nd step to access your bank account — like adding your phone number or another means of identifying that the “you” who’s logging in is really YOU. His advice: anytime you have this option, use it. It builds in extra security.
  • Maintain separate business and personal computers: “For a very small company with only a couple employees, there's a little bit of a wiggle room here, but for larger companies or anyone involved in medical or financial transactions, it's definitely best to keep business and personal computers and any mobile devices separated,” says Knapp.
  • Stop using the same password over and over: “If someone is hacking and gets into one of your accounts and you're using that same password for your bank, a hacker can just input a username and password that they've identified. They’ll try it with all of the major banks within seconds. With automated tools, it's a lot more likely to happen than you may think,” Knapp says.
  • Train your employees: This should be first on every business’s list. No matter how careful you are personally, if your employees are still using the same password everywhere, storing customer data on a personal device, aren’t familiar with spoofing scams, etc. you’re still at risk. All it takes is one download of a suspicious software program. Training also isn't a one-time thing: Repeat annually (at a minimum!) and communicate new threats as they occur.

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