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Cybersecurity for Small Business

We’ve all heard a great deal about cyber security threats, ransomware, malware, viruses, data theft and many more digital issues. Studies show 43% of small businesses will be targeted every year and that up to 60% are not likely to survive the attack. The New York SBDC is working closely with SBA, DHS, DoD and New York State resources to develop small business specific tools, programming and services to help small businesses address this growing threat to our security.

Monthly Cyber Security Tips Newsletters:

From the NYS Office of Information Technology Services Enterprise Information Security Office

November 2022 Shop Smart and Stay Safe This Holiday Season
October 2022 Protect Your Identity This Cybersecurity Awareness Month
September 2022 Hack the Human: End-User Training and Tips to Combat Social Engineering
August 2022 Cyber Secure Families – Cyberbullying & Information Sharing
July 2022 Take Small Steps to Secure Your Identity Online
June 2022 Cyber-Safe Travel
May 2022 Winning Posters for 2022
April 2022 Cyber Clean for Spring
March 2022 Don’t Bust Your Bracket: Online Gambling Safety
February 2022 Fraud Alert! Beware of Common Tax Scams
January 2022 New Year, New Privacy Settings

10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business


Broadband and information technology are powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers, and their data from growing cybersecurity threats.

  1. Train employees in security principles
    Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
  2. Protect information, computers and networks from cyber attacks
    Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available.
  3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
    A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system’s firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.
  4. Create a mobile device action plan
    Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
  5. Make backup copies of important business data and information
    Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.
  6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
    Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
  7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
    If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.
  8. Employ best practices on payment cards
    Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
    Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.
  10. Passwords and authentication
    Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.