For small business owners working out of their home office, the challenges are numerous. Time and resources are always stretched. Working nights and weekends is likely the norm. IT is strictly DIY, and with so many other pressing matters, network security is probably the last thing on your mind.
But here are a couple numbers that might just stop you in your tracks.
Did you know 43% of cybersecurity attacks are on small businesses?
Perhaps even more frightening: did you know 60% of SMBs that are hacked close their doors within 6 months?
These are uncomfortable facts, but facing them head-on is an infinitely better approach than burying one’s head in the sand. Even if you’re not particularly proficient in networking and IT-related matters, adopting a few cybersecurity best practices positions you more advantageously than leaving it all to chance.
Here are five quick tips you can adopt as a small business working from home to better protect yourself from cyberattacks.
Tip 1: Turn on WiFi Network Encryption
The first, and arguably, most important steps to protecting your business is ensuring your network is password protected and network encryption is enabled on your router. Network encryption scrambles information sent over your network to peering outside eyes, preventing hackers from seeing sensitive data. While it seems basic, many businesses still fail to implement this critical first line of defense, leaving valuable information out in the open for anyone to steal.
Tip 2: Create a Home Guest Network
Separating your business network from your home WiFi with network segmentation limits infiltration paths for potential hackers. NETGEAR Orbi Pro WiFi 6 systems, such as our SXK30 Mesh System, as well as, WAX214 and WAX218 Wireless Access Points make it fast and easy for SMBs based at home to set up a private business network for transmitting sensitive data – adding an extra layer of protection. If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, check out our recent whitepaper on network segmentation.
Tip 3: Strong Password Policies
Having weak-to-nonexistent passwords is an open invitation for hackers to sabotage you with a costly cyberattack. A password manager tool can be a good solution here, but just laying down good basic practices can go a long way. In 2022, hackers can crack a 7-character password that has upper and lowercase letters in just 2 seconds. By contrast, a 15-character password with upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols would take 1 billion years to crack with today’s technology.
Tip 4: Business VPNs
A VPN (or virtual private network) adds another layer of security to protect your vulnerable business data. The VPN encrypts your incoming and outgoing data while also masking your device’s identity from malicious hackers. This is especially important when you’re accessing private business networks remotely and electronically transmitting sensitive documents (such as contracts) and data. VPNs are a powerful tool and generally an inexpensive one at that, making them a great choice for any business.
Tip 5: The Latest Hardware and Software Patches
Lastly, always ensure your hardware and software are up to date with the latest patches. It can be easy to let these updates slide when there’s other work to do, but cybersecurity is a constant battle. Critical updates may be waiting in the wings for a simple system reboot. Make a resolution not to let these slide any longer, so you’re not left vulnerable to the latest attacks.
It’s important to remember that protecting your network is not a destination, but a journey. Hackers are always looking for new and innovative ways to access weak networks, so it’s worth investing a little bit of time now to have peace of mind and protect your most valuable business assets.