High-profile cyber-attacks on companies such as Target and Sears have raised awareness of the growing threat of cybercrime, but recent surveys conducted by the Small Business Authority, Symantec, Kaspersky Lab and the National Cybersecurity Alliance suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security.

Most small businesses lack any formal Internet security policy for employees and only about half have even rudimentary cybersecurity measures in place. In fact, only about a quarter of small business owners have had their computer systems tested to ensure that they are hacker proof and nearly 40 percent do not have their data backed up in more than one location.

A small business doesn’t equal a safe business. As large companies continue to get serious about data security and bulk up their protection, small businesses are becoming more frequent targets and the results are often devastating for owners and employees alike.

The good news is that even if you don’t currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to test your computer systems and make security recommendations, there are simple, economical steps you can take to reduce the risk of falling victim to costly cyber-attacks.

Use these 10 easy tips to get a jumpstart on your company’s cyber security:

  1. Train employees in cyber security principles.
  2. Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business.
  3. Use a firewall for your Internet connection.
  4. Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
  5. Make backup copies of important business data and information.
  6. Control physical access to your computers and network components.
  7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden.
  8. Require individual user accounts for each employee.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.
  10. Regularly change passwords.

In addition to the listed tips, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a tool for small businesses that can create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns. It can be found at www.fcc.gov/cyberplanner.

A data breach could cripple your small business, costing you thousands or millions of dollars in lost sales and/or damages. Contact Taggart Insurance today. We have the tools necessary to ensure you have the proper coverage to protect your company against losses from cyber attacks.