Winter has arrived, and with it cold temperatures, severe weather, and dark nights.
Is your small business ready?
It’s important to protect your business throughout the year, but each season brings its own challenges and risks. As you head into the New Year, take time to evaluate your small business’s security to ensure your winter is full of cheer instead of fear.
Here are three tips to help keep your small business safe all winter long.
1. Update Your POS Systems
Hackers often target small businesses through weaknesses in their point of sale systems.
Gaps in your software’s security leaves opportunity for hackers to download malware. Setting them up to scrape your customers’ payment information.
How can you protect against this? Update, update, update!
POS software vendors often release security updates, but it is your job to install those updates across your systems.
Transitioning your POS system to chip readers will also protect your customers. The chips in EMV cards create a unique code for the transaction every time they’re used, making it more difficult for hackers to replicate card data.
2. Back Up Your System Files Regularly
It’s also crucial to keep data backups to prevent losses from one of the more damaging types of hacking: ransomware.
Ransomware is a unique form of malware that encrypts your files so you can’t access your own information. Hackers then hold your files and data hostage until you pay them to return access.
These attacks can be devastating to a small business. The median cost per ransomware attack on businesses was $133,000 in 2017.
Not only can the ransom payment be expensive, but the downtime caused by lockout is costly.
One simple way to guard against ransomware is to create backups of your data regularly. It’s a good practice to follow the 3-2-1 rule. Create three backups in at least two different formats, and keep one backup stored offsite.
That way, if your files are held ransom, you can wipe the system and restore your data on your own.
3. Update Your Insurance Coverage
Recovering from a cyberattack is expensive, and the cost can be debilitating to a small business.
While some damages may be covered under your general liability insurance, it’s wise to add an extra layer of protection in the form of cyber liability insurance.
Cyber liability insurance will typically cover the following expenses:
- A forensics investigation to determine what happened, what repairs are needed, and what preventative measures should be taken.
- Losses to business from network downtime, business interruption, and data loss recovery.
- Legal fees to cover lawsuit expenses and settlements.
Conduct a cyber risk assessment for your business to identify the areas that need the most protection. Then talk to your insurance provider about getting those elements covered.
Keeping your business secure can be daunting, but it is well worth the investment. Not only will you rest easy knowing your business is safe, but you can instill greater confidence in your customers.
With a bit of preparation—and help from the tips above—you can keep your small business safe all season long.
What steps are you taking to secure your business this winter? Tell us in the comments below!
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Alice is a freelance writer that specializes in business and tech. She has an MA in Communication Studies and is passionate about helping small businesses.
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