Think you don’t need to worry about SMB cybersecurity because your business is too small to be attacked? Sorry, nearly two-thirds of American small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are targeted by cybercriminals annually.
Thing is, we’ve all been desensitized by the multi-million dollar data breaches into thinking that cybercriminals only target large organizations with deep pockets. The minimal effort required for criminals to replicate attacks across SMBs means even “small” wins count (SMBs lose on average $130,000 due to successful cybersecurity incidents).
Small compared to what enterprises face, but certainly not small for you. This guide will help you understand the most common small business cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and the 6-step strategy bolstering your defenses.
Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats
Given the variety of high-impact hackers and the growing sophistication of their attacks, you need be aware of the threat landscape:
Phishing emails often appear to be sent by a legitimate company or individual, and include a link or attachment that appears to be innocuous but harbors malicious code. Phishing attacks can be used to gain access to valuable data, or as a foothold for more advanced attacks.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data on your computer and holds it hostage until you pay the ransom. Once it’s installed, it encrypts your data and the cybercriminal can hold you at ransom to unencrypt the files (hence the ransomware attack moniker).
These threats for SMBs come from people who already have access to your systems, such as employees, contractors, or other authorized users. A disgruntled employee could intentionally or inadvertently cause damage to your systems or data, while a malicious insider may try to exfiltrate valuable information like intellectual property.
Many SMBs underestimate the risk of having unmonitored systems and devices on their network, such as outdated or vulnerable software, improperly configured firewalls or internet connections, or unsecured IoT devices. Vulnerabilities such as these allow hackers and malware to lurk in your systems undetected.
|🔑 Top Cybersecurity Tip
Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your applications. Microsoft found it can help prevent up to 99.9% of account hacks.
6-Step SMB Cybersecurity Strategy
To improve your business’s cybersecurity posture and reduce the risk of falling victim to these threats consider implementing a 6-step cybersecurity strategy:
Invest in antivirus software, firewalls, and other tools that can detect and block attacks before they cause damage. Security software can detect and block attacks before they cause damage, while firewalls can help prevent malicious actors from gaining access to your internal systems.
Protection involves solutions like:
- Installing anti-virus software on all endpoints
- Utilizing ‘net-gen’ security solutions such as Endpoint Detection and Response or Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) to supplement anti-virus software.
- Performing vulnerability scanning
- Putting enterprise grade, next generation firewalls in place
- Enabling mobile device management
- Requiring MFA for critical applications
- Creating and enforcing security policies for the company
Once you’ve put in place measures to protect your systems and data, it’s important to be able to quickly detect any potential threats. This can be done through regular monitoring and threat intelligence, so you’re always aware of potential cybersecurity risks and can respond quickly to mitigate them.
Some methods of detection include:
- Regular monitoring of system activity for any suspicious behavior
- Utilizing threat intelligence services to stay up to date on emerging threats
- Implementing a SIEM system to collect, filter, and sort through logs and data
- Outsourcing SIEM processing to a Security Operations Center (SOC)
Once you’ve detected a threat, it’s important to have a plan in place for dealing with it. You may need to immediately disconnect systems from the network, isolate and quarantine affected endpoints, or take other steps to limit the damage.
Some steps you can take to respond to a cybersecurity incident include:
- Disconnecting systems from the network immediately
- Quarantining and isolating affected endpoints
- Performing a full system restore from backup if possible
- Working with an MSP or MSSP to investigate and remediate the incident
Just as it’s important to have a plan in place for responding to a cybersecurity incident, you also need a plan for recovering from one. Whether you need to reimage affected endpoints, restore data from backup or take other steps, it’s important that you have a clear process in place for getting your systems and data back online as quickly as possible.
Some steps you can take to recover from a cybersecurity incident include:
- Reimaging affected endpoints with the latest system and security updates
- Restoring data from backup
- Conducting a post-incident review to identify and address any gaps in your security posture
- Review and closing security gaps
More cybersecurity reading for SMBs:
In addition to protecting your systems and data, it’s also important to ensure that you are meeting all applicable compliance requirements. This may include things like regular vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, data encryption, and security training for employees.
Compliance may seem onerous for an SMB looking to allocate all of its resources into production, but it can help:
- Make your services a more attractive proposition for customers
- Lower risk ratings and insurance premiums
- Potentially reduce liability in the event of an attack
- Reduce the risk of government audits and fines
Working with a dedicated IT company can help you meet all of your compliance requirements and ensure that your organization is protected at all times.
6. Integrated Cybersecurity for SMBs
The key to effectively protecting your SMB from cybersecurity threats is to implement an integrated security strategy. By combining the best of protection, detection, and recovery, you can ensure that your organization is always prepared to respond to any threats and minimize the damage caused by a successful attack.
Here’s the Most Cost-Effective Way to Enhance Cyber Security for Your SMB
There is a worldwide shortage of cybersecurity specialists, yet you can’t seem to retain talent; some will leave because you can’t offer a career growth path, and others may be burnt out because you cannot afford to maintain a large cybersecurity team (an eye-watering $125,000 for one security engineer).
Which is why the most efficient, cost-effective way to bolster threat detection and response is by working with a managed IT provider like powersolution.com. We provide a 360-degree cybersecurity solution, continuous monitoring, and real-time response for a fraction of the monthly cost of even a single in-house security engineer.
Talk to us about your SMB’s cybersecurity needs and find out how we help mid-sized and small businesses like yours maximize security affordably.