Small businesses are under siege from cyber criminals.

In fact, 43% of cyber-attacks target small business purposely.

That means that small businesses need to prepare for the threats on the horizon. Cyber security is no joke, and it’s not something that comes with little consequences.

60% of small businesses close up shop within six months of a cyber-attack. That’s thanks to a detrimental loss of data, revenue, resources, and reputation.

Here are 5 tips from the experts to protect your data, secure your servers and promote safety across the web.

5 Quick Tips to Boost Your Small Business Cyber Security Plan

1. Educate All Employees on Cyber Security Threats and Best Practices

The first thing your business needs to do is educate your employees. These are the individuals that will be working on your network and exposing your data to threat. Therefore, they need to know what to do and what not to do.

For example, not everyone knows the difference between malware and ransomware. So you need to educate them.

This ensures that everyone on the team is on the same page and is moving towards the same goal of data protection.

2. Always Use a VPN — And Make Sure Employees are Too

Another best practice to follow — both for small businesses and large corporations — is the use of a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN is a secure channel or network used to promote private, protected internet access. This encrypted tunnel secures your data and interactions online, making it impossible for hackers to decode and gain access.

As BestVPN.com President, Peter Zaborszky, explains, “Once they [hackers] get hold of your personal information, they stand to make money by selling your personal information to such as passwords, bank account numbers, and any other personal information you may harbor in your device. A more dedicated hacker may decide to use your personal information to gain access to your client’s network, damaging your reputation.”

Everyone should use a VPN. This way, you have less to worry about when it comes to external threats because no one can trace it back to you.

3. Monitor and Restrict Software and Hardware Usage

One in four data breaches comes from an internal threat.

Therefore, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the websites your employees visit as well as the software they download and use.

The best way to control these factors is to limit your employees’ ability to alter, download or use certain hardware and software by accident or on purpose.

4. Back Up Your Data

A smart habit to start getting into as a small business is backing up your data. There are many platforms and services available today that let you backup your data to an external drive, the cloud or another storage device.

This is important — because if you’re attacked, you can’t risk the time, energy and resources required to get all of that information back.

The best part about these data backup services is that they don’t just back up data — but customizations, functionalities, operating systems and more.

So you can get back up and running as if nothing happened.

5. Invest in Antivirus and Anti-malware Software

This one really is a no-brainer. The first thing your business should do is integrate antivirus and anti-malware software onto all devices — computers, tablets, smartphones and beyond.

Hackers can gain access to all kinds of devices these days — including smart TVs and voice-controlled systems. That’s why you need a first line of defense.

The Importance of Cyber Security in a Digital Age

Cyber criminals aren’t going away, and neither are the methods they use to destroy your business.

Luckily, these tips will put brands on the path to cyber security success.