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Malware, data breaches, and denial of service attacks are just some of the tricks employed by hackers to disrupt business and steal money. While all businesses are vulnerable to this threat, the consequences of a cyber attack can be especially steep for small businesses. They have fewer resources to prevent or recover from an attack that could make it difficult or impossible for the company to continue operations. Although this can be a stressful challenge to contend with, the good news is you can take several steps to secure your company’s data without spending a lot of money.

Use Two Factor Authentication Whenever Possible

Hackers can take over a company’s social media or email account by resetting the password or through social engineering. This gives them free reign with information they could use to steal from your business and compromise the integrity of customer data. To combat this, many email and social media providers along with other companies that serve online businesses have begun to require two factor authentication. You may also hear it referred to as two step verification.

When someone tries to access your company data from a device that a service provider doesn’t recognize, they will need to complete a second form of verification. The most common method of authentication is for the service provider to send a code via text message to a cell phone number previously registered by the business. The person requesting access will also need to enter the code before the service provider allows him or her to view the account.

Make Sure Your Software is Secure

You increase your vulnerability to hackers when you run old versions of software or fail to secure your software properly. It’s simple and free to make sure your company is running the most current version of a computer’s web browser and operating system. This step makes it more difficult for hackers to access private financial data, customer records, company trade secrets, and other highly confidential information.

Educate Your Employees and Insist They Take Online Security Seriously

Your employees should be aware of phishing scams or Trojan attacks and understand that they could be the personal target of either of these hacking attempts. Be sure to educate your employees about never opening suspicious emails or providing personal or company information to unknown contacts. As you become aware of new threats, it’s important to distribute this information to your employees and let them know of any new rules they must follow. They should understand that hackers can pose as legitimate customers.

Take Extra Precautions When Using Free Public Wi-Fi

Using free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, hotel, or airport can be convenient, but it also comes with an increased risk of compromised data. The best way to avoid this scenario is to use a virtual private network or create a secure hotspot through a smartphone when logging onto company systems outside of the office. This give you and your employees and added level of security that logs into a private network before accessing a free public network.

These are just four of many steps you can take to prevent your business from becoming the victim of a hacking attack. Feel free to schedule a consultation with Palmetto Payroll to develop an even more comprehensive plan.