Hacking never seems like a credible threat until you become a victim. The ignorance astonishes, especially among small business owners – about 87% of small family business owners don’t think that they are at risk of being hacked. Unfortunately, the opposite is true – many hackers target small businesses because they are considered soft targets, which is not surprising considering the prevailing attitude. Don’t wait to act until hackers have control of your systems. Here are six tips to help strengthen your small business’s cybersecurity:

1. Deploy Anti-Malware Protection

Basic cybersecurity protocols installed on your IT systems are not enough to keep sophisticated hackers out. This is why it is necessary to install anti-virus and anti-malware protection programs. These programs detect and quarantine potentially destructive viruses before they can infect your systems. There are numerous anti-virus and anti-malware programs. They are priced differently, and the degree of their protective capabilities differs, too. To this end, experts recommend going for the best premium software – the investment will be worth it, regardless of the cost, as your business stands to lose substantially more in the event of a successful cyber-attack.

2. Restrict & Regulate Access

It is prudent to anticipate an internal cybersecurity risk from your employees and members of staff. To this end, only authorized personnel should have access to sensitive data. As such, implement access restrictions and strictly regulate employee access. You can restrict and regulate access by implementing security measures such as requiring passwords and the use of access cards. You can also implement a robust biometric authentication system to seal off all loopholes; a biometric system will also enable you to track employees’ activity for a more accurate risk assessment.

3. Update Your Computers

Computer and software manufacturers regularly roll out updates designed to improve your user experience. These updates also address loopholes in the systems’ security protocols. In fact, the massive ransomware attack of 2016 that affected NHS IT systems took advantage of the agency’s outdated computers. Unfortunately, most updates go largely ignored. Updating your digital devices – computers, mobile devices, and other IT equipment – will make it more difficult for hackers to get through. As such, update your devices’ settings to allow automatic updates; patch management software will also make automatic updates. Alternatively, you can have an IT professional do it manually.

4. Sensitize & Train Employees

Your employees may not share your concern for cybersecurity because of their restricted viewpoint. They should, especially considering that they will play an integral role in securing your systems. As such, sit down with them and explain why it is essential for them to observe recommended cybersecurity measures. Make the issue just as important as any other issue in the workplace – you can catch their attention by threatening repercussions for employees who bridge cybersecurity measures. Besides sensitization, basic training on the best cybersecurity practices will also be necessary – for example, teach them how to use any new cybersecurity measures. Follow-up training to keep them updated on new developments will also be required.

5. Secure Your Internet Connection

An insecure internet connection via Wi-Fi is an open gateway for hackers. A hacker only needs to access the active Wi-Fi channel to get unrestricted access to all your data. As such, close this loophole by securing your Wi-Fi internet connection using passwords and other authentication protocols. This will also require you to track your employees’ usage of the Wi-Fi to ensure that they don’t give out passwords and additional necessary authentication information. PS Have two separate Wi-Fi internet connections for employees and another for clients. You can also have an exclusive broadband-based internet connection for use with the most sensitive data.

6. Schedule Regular Backups

Data is a valuable currency in today’s economy, so it is vital to keep your information secure. This means anticipating potential data loss by scheduling regular backups to the cloud or another secure storage facility – daily backups are recommended. This is necessary because one common tactic for hackers is taking hostage of your sensitive data and threatening to destroy or reveal it unless you pay.

The next big ransomware attack could happen today or tomorrow. So, keep your guard up as early as now. Also, keep in mind that these are just tips to get you started – ultimately, you ought to take every measure necessary to keep hackers out.