Small businesses possess all kinds of data that are virtual gold for cyber thieves, including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, dates of birth, banking account information, and health insurance information.

In the last article, we suggested four ways that small businesses can lower the risk of getting hacked by a cyber criminal.  We’ll offer four more in this edition.

It is crucial to keep in mind, however, that small companies with strong and numerous safeguards in place still fall prey to cyber crime.  This is not surprising, given the fact that even large corporations with security budgets in the millions of dollars are attacked routinely.

Protect your online bank account from cyber crime

Consumer advice guru Clark Howard recommends that small businesses have a single computer dedicated solely to online banking.  Doing so will lower the risk of the business’ bank account getting hacked because it limits the computer’s potential exposure to malware, which is a main way cyber crooks can gain access to the hard drive.

Another method to fight against cyber theft is by using software that recognizes patterns of bank use over time and helps prevent fraud.  According to USA Today, there is an app that will send a text message to an employee’s smartphone to ask for permission before executing any suspicious transactions.

Banking security is a big deal, because a company does not enjoy the same protections afforded to a private individual.  Losses can be huge and difficult, if not impossible, to recoup.

Encrypt hard drives

If a computer is lost or stolen, the data will be much safer if it is encrypted.  Basically, this means that data cannot be easily viewed by someone who doesn’t have rights to it.  While it is impossible to protect the data 100%, encryption does makes the cyber criminal’s job much harder.

Lock mobile devices

Smartphones are an integral part of many small businesses.  Because they can hold sensitive and proprietary information, it is critical to include them in cyber security precautions.  Be sure to put a password lock on your mobile phone.  Additionally, Businessweek reports that remote wipe services exist that allow the owner to remove data from a smartphone that is no longer in the owner’s possession.

Keep computer software updated

A very simple way to reduce the likelihood of a cyber attack is by keeping server and workstation computers’ operating system (OS) software up-to-date.  Software makers frequently update their OS in order to combat newly discovered security holes.

Antivirus software should also be regularly updated with the latest virus definitions.  The network and software can be configured to automatically push out the updates to all the company’s computers.

Running old OS and antivirus software is akin to putting a “Welcome” mat at the front door for a cyber thief.  Implement a system to ensure this does not happen.

Get business insurance

Cyber crooks are sophisticated, and even vigilant small businesses become cyber attack victims.  Small business owners must recognize the limits of taking preventative measures against actions that are not entirely preventable.

Business insurance that specifically covers Internet and digital theft and hacking, known as cyber liability insurance or sometimes Internet insurance, is crucial to protect the company.  It can guard against all sorts of first party and third party issues, and compensate for losses inflicted by cyber criminals that could otherwise be catastrophic.