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[caption id="attachment_223423" align="alignright" width="262"] John Fleming | PHOTO COURTESY OF SBA[/caption]
Last year, cybercrimes targeting small businesses reached a record high of $2.4 billion. With online sales expected to surpass $1 trillion, retailers must evaluate their vulnerabilities to cyberattack and protect their systems. Small businesses are especially attractive targets because they typically lack the security infrastructure of large corporations.
There are simple steps business owners can take to mitigate risk. Here are five easy actions business owners can take:
Update your software: Check regularly for updates or patches to guard against the latest cyber threats, it’s the cheapest and easiest way to prevent online attacks.
Review security protocols: Ensure your website is protected with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection. Also, do not store credit card data on your systems.
Create effective passwords:Weak passwords are a major reason small retailers are prone to cyberattacks. Unique passwords with at least 12 characters that are a mix of numbers, letters, capital letters, and punctuation are proven most effective. Multi-Factor Authentication provides additional security.
Be aware of social engineering threats: Hackers bait or trick employees through phishing, baiting, scareware, and incentives that appear to be coming from someone familiar, but contain malicious code allowing them access to sensitive information.
Set strict rules on computer use: Training and guidelines for employees who access your computer systems ensure only activities and data deemed necessary keeps hackers at bay.
Small retailers owe it to themselves, their customers and their employees to ensure online systems are safe To learn more about SBA’s programs and services related to cybersecurity, visit www.sba.gov/cybersecurity.
By SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator John Fleming