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Important Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

High-profile cyberattacks at large companies have generated national headlines and raised awareness for the growing threat of cybercrime. Despite these attacks, almost half of Canadian small businesses say they do not allocate any portion of their annual operating budget to cybersecurity, according to a survey conducted by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Last year, 41 per cent of small businesses that suffered a cyberattack reported it cost them at least $100,000. Additionally, only 51 per cent of small businesses surveyed have important data backed up or archived. Many small businesses put off making necessary improvements to their cybersecurity protocols until it was too late because of the upfront cost. While it’s true that some cybersecurity efforts can be expensive and time-consuming, many cost-effective steps can be taken right now.

The following is a list of easily implementable security procedures for small business owners:

  1. Train employees in cybersecurity principles.
  2. Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used for the business.
  3. Use a firewall when connecting to the internet.
  4. Download and install software updates for all computer operating systems and applications as they become available.
  5. Make backup copies of important business data and information.
  6. Control physical access to all computers and network components.
  7. Secure all Wi-Fi networks. If there is a Wi-Fi network for the workplace, make sure it is secure and hidden.
  8. Require individual user accounts for each employee.
  9. Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software.
  10. Regularly change passwords.

When receiving a strange email, take a look at the sender’s email. While the name might look legitimate, the email itself might have some clues. Phishing email addresses are often misspelt or do not match the normal naming structure of the organization from which it is pretending to be.

Contact The Hull Group today to learn more about prioritizing cybersecurity.

How to Secure Important Data

When using a computer, tablet or phone for personal or professional use, there are most likely going to be important files, photos, data and documents that users want to protect. Whether they are sensitive documents, sentimental photos or important work projects, securing data is the easiest way to keep them safe.

Follow these tips to protect the files that matter most:

  • Keep files organized. Arrange files and documents using folders and subfolders. This will make it easier to find files and keep track of which are backed up.
  • Choose a backup solution. There are a few different options to back up files. The following are the most popular:
    • Cloud storage saves files, documents and photos to a remote database. A cloud storage service may come standard with the operating system of a computer or device. Cloud storage is convenient, but it can also be expensive and requires an internet connection.
    • External storage—such as hard drives, USB flash drives or memory cards—are devices that can be connected to computers or other devices to store additional copies of files, documents and photos.

For extra peace of mind, files and documents can be backed up in more than one location. That way, if one method is compromised, the data will still be somewhere else.

  • Back up important files. Once a backup method has been chosen, it’s time to decide what’s important enough to be backed up and to do it. These could be files like family photos, school projects, work files or financial documents.
  • Set a schedule. Set a reminder to back up data at least once a week.
  • Protect backups. Even backups need protecting. When possible, enable passwords or use encryption security on cloud or physical backups. It is also a good idea to keep backup storage separate from computers to minimize the chances of it being stolen or destroyed.

Contact us today to learn more about staying protected from cyberthreats.

Tips to Avoid QR Code Scams

QR codes have become more popular as a way to provide contactless communication. For example, many restaurants have QR codes available at tables to access menus instead of using physical copies. A QR code is a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information by the camera on a smartphone. While convenient, this technology can also be dangerous.

The following are some tips for avoiding QR code scams:

  • If it’s unclear where the QR code was sent from, contact the supposed sender to verify its legitimacy.
  • Look out for URL-shortened links that appear after scanning a QR code, which can hide malicious URLs.
  • Use a mobile defence solution that blocks phishing attempts, exploits, phone takeovers and unauthorized downloads.
  • Embrace multifactor authentication in place of password access to applications and cloud resources.

Contact us today to learn more about mobile data protection.