In conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec released a survey that reveals U.S. small businesses (less than 250 employees) believe they have secured themselves against hackers and malware even though their online security policies and practices are weak or non-existent.
The survey provides eight tips small businesses can use to improve their online safety practices for safe Internet use.
- Know what you need to protect: One data breach could mean financial ruin for an SMB. Look at where your information is being stored and used, and protect those areas accordingly.
- Enforce strong password policies: Passwords with eight characters or more and use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g., # $ % ! ?) will help protect your data.
- Map out a disaster preparedness plan today: Don't wait until it's too late. Identify your critical resources, use appropriate security and backup solutions to archive important files, and test frequently.
- Encrypt confidential information: Implement encryption technologies on desktops, laptops and removable media to protect your confidential information from unauthorized access, providing strong security for intellectual property, customer and partner data.
- Use a reliable security solution: Today's solutions do more than just prevent viruses and spam; they scan files regularly for unusual changes in file size, programs that match known malware, suspicious e-mail attachments and other warning signs. It's the most important step to protect your information.
- Protect information completely: It's more important than ever to back up your business information. Combine backup solutions with a robust security offering to protect your business from all forms of data loss.
- Stay up to date: A security solution is only as good as the frequency with which it is updated. New viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other malware are born daily, and variations of them can slip by software that is not current.
- Educate employees: Develop Internet security guidelines and educate employees about Internet safety, security and the latest threats, as well as what to do if they misplace information or suspect malware on their machine.