Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

The world as you know it is constantly changing. With advancements in technology continuing to break through barriers, businesses are able to expand their growth and achieve goals beyond their expectations. With that said, there is something out there that despite your social media presence and excellent marketing campaign that can cause you to lose everything you worked hard to achieve. That something is cybercrime. It’s real and it’s a serious threat to any business. On the up side, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a cybercrime happening to your business.

Employees

Your staff is your first line of defense against cybercrime. Educating them on the risks and then putting procedures in place to ensure that if someone notices something troubling they report it immediately. A part of the education should include present dangers of fraud scams explained and how a simple opening of an email can cause your business to release sensitive customer information onto the web.

Scanning Devices

Today, businesses use a variety of equipment such as an all-in-one computer, a laptop, an iPad and smartphones, for work purposes. While the convenience is a huge plus, the exposure to a cybercrime is also increased. The good news is that you can reduce your vulnerability as a target by scanning every piece of equipment that you use to conduct business prior to connecting it to your network. Professional companies like PCI Security Standards Council can perform a PCI ASV Scan on a regular basis to monitor the business and give you peace of mind.

Password Protection

Many businesses, big and small, overlook the importance of establishing excellent passwords. The longer and harder a password is, the better the chances that an attacker will move onto a softer target. Since many pieces of equipment contain the sensitive information creating these types of passwords on all devices is necessary.

Save What You Need/Update Often

Large corporations have many security measures in place to protect against cybercrimes. For this reason, many hackers target small businesses knowing that they don’t have the money allocated in their budget to afford all of what it takes to secure their systems. Thankfully, a small business can still safeguard sensitive information by saving to the system only what you need. For instance, if a customer gives you their social security number and it’s not necessary, don’t save it. You also need to update the programs you use that protect against malware and viruses as they pop up. If you have the option available, make certain to turn on the auto updates feature.

Encrypt Sensitive Information

Your customers count on you as a business owner to protect their personal information. It only takes one incident for them to lose faith and move on to another business. If your business accepts credit card payments, which most do, encrypting them prevents a would-be hacker from having the ability to use the information should they succeed in breaching your system.

Cybercrime is a real and present danger to your business. If you keep that in mind and take the necessary steps to protect it, you’ll decrease your chances of being a target drastically.