NEW YORK – Small businesses can be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than larger companies because they often don’t have sophisticated and comprehensive systems to protect themselves.
But there are things small businesses can do to improve cybersecurity:
Don’t do it alone.
Small companies, if they can’t afford in-house technology experts, should hire consultants who specialize in helping small businesses build and maintain their defenses.
Think beyond your system. Companies can be attacked through other businesses or computer users including vendors and online storage services. Small-business owners should ask anyone who links into their computers about the steps they take to protect everyone’s data.
Back up everything. When Marcos Francos’ company, Atlanta-based Mighty Clean Home, was attacked by ransomware, his files were rendered inaccessible. But because he had backed up all of his data, he didn’t have to pay the ransom demanded by cyberthieves to unlock the files.
The best way to back up files is on an off-site system that continually creates new versions of all of a company’s data.
Stay current. Software and hardware manufacturers routinely issue updates and what are called patches to improve security.
Get an EIN. Owners need to guard against a stolen identity from affecting their business accounts. So instead of using a Social Security number for business, they should have an Employer Identification Number. It’s easy to obtain one from the IRS website, www.irs.gov.