Small businesses are particularly susceptible to cyber attacks, which aren’t just a concern for big companies and governments. There is evidence to support the theory that small businesses are more at risk of cyberattacks, in part because they occasionally lack the physical resources necessary to adequately defend themselves.
It’s crucial to defend your company against cyberattacks, but with the online environment constantly changing, it can be difficult to know where to begin. To help small businesses negotiate the world of cyber risks, here is a handbook.
Cybersecurity Is Important To Monitor
If attacked hackers could potentially put things like your money, IT equipment, and data at risk. Hackers actively look to destroy and exploit items such as…
- Leak customer and employee credit card information
- Banking details
- Customer lists
- Business growth plans
- Pricing structure
- Product designs
- Intellectual properties
The impact these attacks hold on small businesses not only damages your business as a whole but can also ruin your business’s reputation. Hackers may also use your network to get access and hack other companies in close relation to yours. Following an attack on your network may result in financial loss from banking information and disruption of business, high costs to get rid of network threats, and having to tell your customers their information has been compromised.
Cybersecurity Tips To Stay Safe From An Attack
1. Carry Out Risk Assessments Regularly
Analyze potential threats that could jeopardize the networks, systems, and data security of your business. Identifying and evaluating potential risks can aid in the creation of a strategy for closing security holes.
Determine where, how, and who has access to your data as part of your risk assessment. Determine potential users of the data and their potential methods of obtaining it. Ask your cloud storage provider for assistance with your risk assessment if your company’s data is kept there. Establish the risks associated with prospective occurrences and the potential effects of breaches on your business. Use all this information to create a security strategy to stay protected.
2. Train Employees
Employees may walk away, leaving your company open to attack. While exact statistics vary by region and business sector, it is undeniably true that insiders who either intentionally or negligently provide thieves access to your networks account for a substantial percentage of data breaches.
Employee-initiated attacks could occur in a variety of circumstances. For instance, a worker might misplace a company tablet or divulge login information. Employees could unintentionally open email scams that spread malware on the network of your company.
Consider providing your staff with cybersecurity training to help them defend against internal threats. For instance, show staff members the value of having secure passwords and how to recognize phishing emails.
3. Encrypt Key Information
It’s best practice to have an encryption system in place if your company frequently interacts with sensitive data such as information connected to bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial transactions. Data is kept secure by encryption, which converts information on the device into incomprehensible codes.
Even if your data were taken, it would be useless to the hacker since they wouldn’t have the keys to decode the data and decipher the information because encryption was developed with the worst-case scenario in mind. In a world where billions of datasets are exposed every year, that is an appropriate safety measure.
4. Secure Wi-Fi Network
If your business uses Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) you must be at least using WPA2 or later versions of the platform to make sure you’re being the most secure you can be. We recommend upgrading this regularly.
5. Backup Files Regularly
Does your business care for file backups? In the event of a cyberattack, data may be lost or jeopardized. Could you still manage your business if that happened? Remember to take into consideration the amount of data that could be kept on laptops and mobile devices; lacking it, many organizations couldn’t run.
Use a backup program that copies your files to storage automatically to help. You can use your backups to restore all of your files in the event of an attack. To avoid having to remember to backup your data, use an application that lets you plan or automate the backup process. If your system is attacked by ransomware, keep copies of backups offline so they won’t become encrypted or inaccessible.
6. Use a Firewall
A firewall benefits any business that operates with its own physical servers since it safeguards both hardware and software. A firewall also prevents or discourages the entry of viruses into your network. As opposed to this, an antivirus program targets the software that has already been infected by a virus. Additionally, it can be configured to prevent the sending of private emails and sensitive data via the network of your business. Just remember to keep the firewall up to date.
7. Use Password Managers
The routine use of secure passwords that are different for each device or account soon becomes challenging to remember. Additionally, having to write out long passwords again and remember them can make your staff less productive. Because of this, many companies utilize password management software.
The right username, password, and even the answers to your security question are automatically generated by a password manager when you connect into websites or apps. To access their login information vault, individuals only need to remember a single PIN or master password. Numerous password managers also advise users to avoid using weak or frequently used passwords and nudge them to change them more frequently.
8. Enforce Strict Password Policy
On any devices that are used to store sensitive information, make sure that each employee uses a strong password. A strong password is one that has at least 15 characters, typically more, and is made up of an assortment of capital and lower-case numbers, symbols, and letters. A brute force attack is less likely to succeed the harder the password to crack is. Many believe you should also change passwords at least quarterly and use multi-factor authentication MFA.
9. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
For your company, a virtual private network adds still another level of security. When working remotely or while traveling, employees can safely access your business’s network using VPNs. To accomplish this, they place a secure link between your internet connection and the website or online service you need to visit, passing your data and IP address across it. They are especially helpful when using potentially hacker-prone public internet connections, like those found in coffee shops, airports, or Airbnbs. A VPN provides customers with a secure connection that keeps hackers away from the information they’re attempting to steal.
10. Do Not Overlook Mobile Devices
Security issues arise from mobile devices, especially if they have access to the business network or store sensitive data. However, they are occasionally forgotten when companies plan their cybersecurity. To prevent information from being stolen while a phone is connected to a public network, instruct your staff to use passwords on their cell phones, install antivirus software, and encrypt their data. Establish reporting processes for stolen or lost smartphones and tablets.