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Wyoming Business Tips for April 10-16

April 1, 2016

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By James Drever, WSBDC regional director

“I read that my business is at risk from cyber attacks. What are some things I should be doing to protect my business?” Kendra, Laramie

Ideally, you develop a security plan, which is something we can help with.

In the meantime, you should review your data and systems to see what is most valuable, what risks you are exposed to and how you can reasonably protect what you have. Develop a plan so that if your data and/or systems are compromised, you can make sure you are up and running, and back in business as soon as possible.

An often-neglected example is having secure off-site backups for your system(s) and data. If your physical building with computers is destroyed, or maybe all your computers are taken over by ransomware, having regular backups can quickly help you recover and be back in business. Otherwise, you might have to start from scratch, meaning it might not be possible to recover all data, depending on what computers are used for in your business. 

Various hacking methods gain a lot of publicity, but there is a lot you can do to protect your business. Is your software up to date? Do you have a plan in place to regularly check both your software and firmware? When was the last time you checked your router or modem to see if there was a security update?

We pay a lot of attention to hacking, but it is much easier to use “social engineering,” in which someone sends you an email encouraging you or your staff to click on a link or open a file that gives that person access to your computers/network.

Do you have malware/virus protection in place? Do you and your employees know how to handle suspicious emails or even phone calls? Does everyone know how to create and protect passwords or use a password manager?

As you look at your business, keep in mind that most breaches are caused internally and unintentionally. Don’t forget to make sure that what you have is physically protected and, if you use outside services, make sure they and your connection to those services are secure and reliable.

Finally, is your firewall turned on? If not, turn it on.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at http://wyen.biz/blog1/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.


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