10 Cyber Security Tips Every Business Owner Should Know

From accidental data breaches to malicious cyber attacks, there are plenty of online threats for business owners to worry about. In the wake of high profile hacks like the WannaCry or Equifax breaches, cyber security has shifted from an added layer of security to a necessary component of any business plan.

If you think hackers are just targeting major corporations and big industries, think again. According to recent studies, approximately 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. Of those affected, more than half go out of business within six months of a breach. According to the Ponemon Institute, cleaning up after a cyber breach can cost a small business an average of $690,000. Is that something you could handle on your own?

At Doherty Insurance, we want to make sure you don’t have to. Here are 10 tips to consider as you assess your business’ cyber security needs:

1) Make a cyber security protocol

Create company wide policies on how to safely use technology in your business. Make an action plan of what to do if a breach were to occur — outline who is responsible for what and a timeline for getting actions done.

2) Train your staff

Employee education is crucial in ensuring that your data stays secure. Schedule regular meetings to go over your cyber security protocol and to answer any questions employees may have. This is also a great opportunity to discuss current cyber risks — like common email phishing scams.

3) Regularly update security software

Installing security software is not enough. Make sure to regularly update software as new versions become available. Often, these updates address gaps in protection and are crucial to minimizing vulnerabilities in your devices.

4) Secure your internet connection

Install a firewall that gives you the ability to accept or block access. You can also encrypt and change the name of your wireless network so it’s not obvious that it belongs to your business.

5) Don’t forget about mobile threats

Mobile devices create their own unique security risks. Disable automated actions like location sharing, auto connecting to Wi-Fi networks, and bluetooth connectivity. Always lock your devices and use strong passwords, and don’t forget to update operating systems as needed.

6) Encrypt records and confidential data

Encryption will help make your data more secure by converting it into complex codes that are not easily broken or guessed. You can encrypt data along with emails, texts or other sensitive information like employee or client records.

7) Control access to devices and data

Remember — not every employee needs access to all of your data systems. Only give employees access to systems they need to perform their jobs. Make sure devices are locked with strong, unique passwords when not in use.

8) Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication

The days of ‘password’ and ‘1234’ as secure passwords are long-gone. Avoid using obvious passwords, like your address or any significant dates. Instead, use a combination of lowercase and capital letters, numbers and symbols. You can also consider using a secure password manager — learn more about those here. Don’t forget to add multi-factor authentication to any accounts that have sensitive data.

9) Talk to your bank and payment processors

Making sure that your business has a strong cyber security protocol isn’t enough, especially if you take online payments. Talk to your bank or payment processor to ensure that they are using the most up-to-date and trusted validation and anti-fraud services.

10) Get Cyber Liability Insurance

This is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to protecting your small business from online threats. Traditional liability insurance coverages are not equipped to deal with new internet exposures. A Doherty Insurance agent, however, can help put together a cyber liability policy that covers a range of loss exposures to fit your unique business. Additionally, our agents will keep up with the ever changing world of cyber liability, to make sure your coverage adapts as technology and subsequent cyber threats evolve.

Not sure if your business is doing enough when it comes to Cyber Security? A Doherty Insurance agent is here to help. Stop by our office in Andover, visit our website, or give us a call at 978-475-0260 today to learn more about cyber liability insurance and how it can protect your business.


Doherty Insurance Agency
21 Elm Street
Andover, MA. 01810
Telephone: 978-475-0260
Fax: 978-475-0303