Did you know that according to a recent SBA survey, 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyber-attack. How about you? ‘Your Business Advantage’ will feature ‘Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats’… providing you with an overview of common cyber threats, understanding where your business is vulnerable, and taking steps to improve your cybersecurity.
Was your business impacted by the recent heavy snowfall? ‘Winter Preparedness at Work: Prepare Your Small Business for Winter Weather’ illustrates how winter weather can threaten your small business and its ability to be open and gain profit. You can choose to close or stay open during a winter storm or disaster, but be sure to prepare adequately for either by taking some preventive measures beyond shoveling and salting.
Please note that due to an unexpected facility issue, this month’s CHAMBER SPOTLIGHT featuring Tanglefoot Art Gallery will be published in next month’s issue. The article will focus on the purpose of Tanglefoot Art Gallery—To have an outlet for local artists to show and sell their work, and to bring access and education of fine art to the community. Don’t miss it!
Thank you for your engagement and for making the Twin City Area the location where you choose to work, to live, to support.
Your Business Advantage –
‘Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats’ Cyber-attacks are a growing concern for small businesses. Learn about the threats and how to protect yourself.
Cyber-attacks are a growing threat for small businesses and the U.S. economy. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, the cost of cybercrimes reached $2.7 billion in 2020 alone. Small businesses are attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses.
According to a recent SBA survey, 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Yet many businesses can’t afford professional IT solutions, have limited time to devote to cybersecurity, or they don’t know where to begin. Start by learning about common cyber threats, understanding where your business is vulnerable, and taking steps to improve your cybersecurity.
COMMON THREATS Cyber-attacks are constantly evolving, but business owners should at least be aware of the most common types. Common threats can include malware, viruses, ransomware and phishing.
CYBERSECURITY BEST PRACTICES The US Small Business Administration (SBA) offers these best practices:
Train your employees Training topics to cover include:
- Spotting a phishing email
- Using good browsing practices
- Avoiding suspicious downloads
- Creating strong passwords
- Protecting sensitive customer and vendor information
- Maintaining good cyber hygiene
- Use antivirus software and keep it updated
Secure your networks
- Use strong passwords Using strong passwords is an easy way to improve your cybersecurity. Be sure to use different passwords for your different accounts. A strong password includes:
o 10 characters or more
o At least one uppercase letter
o At least one lowercase letter
o At least one number o At least one special character
- Use multifactor authentication
A common example of multi-factor authentication is using a password together with a code sent to your smartphone to authenticate yourself. Another example is using a combination of a card (something you have) and a PIN (something you know).
- Protect sensitive data and back up the rest
o Back up your data
o Secure payment processing
o Control physical access
When the weather forecast predicts a serious winter storm, keep these winter preparation tips in mind for your small business:
• Communicate with your employees. Have a predetermined way to communicate with all employees to let them know if the store or office will be open that day.
• Let customers know if and when you’re closing. If you will be closing early due to a winter storm or blizzard, or not opening at all, use social media channels to relay that information. If you have a store-front, make sure to post a sign notifying your customers of your closing as well.
• Salt the sidewalks. Be sure to help prevent ice from forming causing slippery situations.
• Keep an eye on power lines. If you see a downed power line near your business, call 911 immediately and do not go near it.
• Consider buying a generator. Having a generator for any important devices or products needing electricity, like walk-in coolers and food storage is a good component of being prepared.
• Check on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Regularly replacing batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is a good practice for winter preparedness for your business—especially important if you will be using a generator.
• Have mailing back-up plans. When preparing your business for winter, think about what things you rely on the mail service to provide. Consider alternative options if they are not able to provide timely delivery.
In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages business owners to encourage their employees to create an emergency supply kit for their cars. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water and non-perishable snacks. Keep a full tank of gas and, if possible, have a professional check your battery, anti-freeze and cooling system. Keep your business warm and safe this winter season!
1 www.constellation.com/preparing-your-small-business-for-winter.html accessed 2-9-22 2 www.ready.gov/car accessed 2-11-22
Tanglefoot Art Gallery