There have been a lot of hacking incidents in the past year and many big companies, including Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu and Motorola have been the target of hackers who want to steal the data stored on their systems.

The hackers normally steal the customer data, such as names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card details and then they can use or sell the data in order to make money. Because of the hacking incidents, many of the large companies are now increasing their online security systems and the hackers are now focusing their attention on small businesses for their attacks. Instead of attacking one large company, they can now attack several small companies because they are generally an easier target with less secure systems.

Many small businesses don't have the means to protect themselves from cyberattacks, as compared to the larger companies that have proper security system; many of them lack the resources and expertise to build secure systems to protect their data from online attacks. Small companies also have a limited budget and few or no technical experts on staff. It is difficult for them to find the additional money that is needed for their online security systems.

The attacks are usually web-based and the hackers try to access the company's data by looking for passwords and security holes in order to access the system. The hackers also frequently try to gain access to the companies email system so they can use this for spreading malware, phishing and spam.

There are some basic things you can do to protect your system as a small business owner. Here are a few of them:

  • It is a good idea to install a firewall on your system. The firewall can prevent hackers finding a security hole in your system in which to enter it. It is worth paying for a good quality firewall and have it installed and configured by an expert.
    Passwords are important as the hackers will always try to find the password to access the system and the email. Always use strong passwords with combinations of letters and numbers to ensure that it will be difficult for the hackers to find. Change the password time to time.
    Don't allow your computer's programs, or your browser, to store passwords. It will be better you memorize them by using them regularly, and having a hard copy of your most recently updated passwords. You can also utilize password vault software such as LastPass to generate strong passwords while storing them securely.
    Always use anti-virus and anti-malware software. This will help to prevent malware being installed on your system and gaining access to the internet via your system to send data.
    Back up your system regularly, having a back up of your data is essential in case you are attacked and your data gets stolen.
    Enlist the services of an IT security professional to test and to make sure your system is secure.
    Review server logs and block suspicious IP addresses.
    The business owners and webmasters should regularly check the outbound links on their live server.

Overall, even small steps toward protection and security can make a big difference, without breaking the bank on your business. It's better to take precautions and to have a plan instead of waiting for an attack before doing something about security.