Cybersecurity in small businesses is crucial to protect against loss of sensitive information and revenue. If you are a small business and think that the chances of a cyberattack is minimal, think again! Cyber security breaches from small businesses accounts for over 40% of the entire cyberattacks. It is therefore, imperative to enhance cybersecurity in small businesses.
Small businesses often face budget problems due to which cybersecurity takes a backseat. As a small business owner you need to understand that you are vulnerable and at risk for a cyberattack at all times. In addition, in the event that you are under attack, you would have to face severe losses in terms of downtime, reputation and subsequently revenue.
Prevention is the best cure – nothing can explain it better. There are several ways in which you can enhance cybersecurity for your small business without having to allocate a big budget. The key to a solid implementation of cybersecurity is strategy and you do not necessarily have to spend large sums of money to buy sophisticated software. Here are a few ways to enhance cybersecurity in small businesses.
#Create a Good Security Strategy
The first thing that you must do is create a good security strategy that works for your business. A security strategy that works for one business may not be the right fit for another as every business has unique needs. You must first identify which information is sensitive to your business and needs to be protected. Identify the points from where data leaks may occur and devise a strategy that will strengthen your business network.
As a business owner, you have to formalize your cybersecurity strategy which must contain steps to counter an attack or an incident management plan that describes in details the steps to counter a cyberattack. This will help you to save on precious time in the event of a cyberattack and minimize the damage.
Create awareness among your workforce about your formal security strategy through regular training sessions. Unless you spread the word, your people will not know or understand how important it is to follow security procedures. A major cause of data breaches in businesses occur due to human error which can be minimized considerably by creating an awareness among your staff. Creating and managing a good security strategy is a vital step to enhance cybersecurity in small business.
#Software to Enhance Cybersecurity in Small Businesses
You can choose from a plethora of software to protect your business from cyberattacks and data breaches. And the good news is that not all of them are expensive. Here is a quick look at some essential software:
You need an updated antivirus software to protect your systems against computer viruses. As you may be aware, viruses are malicious code that disrupts computer operation and steals information. Antivirus software scans for threats and neutralizes them immediately.
Anti-spyware and Anti-malware
You need anti-spyware to detect and remove spyware – a malware code collects information on the sly. Contrary to the antivirus that works on the files and folders, anti-spyware and anti-malware handles only threats from the internet.
You need encryption software to send your data across a network or internet securely. Hackers can listen in on networks especially wireless ones and steal your data. Use the strongest encryption key for maximum security.
Apart from the above, there are several software available to enhance cybersecurity for small businesses. Consider investing in software that are essential to keep your network safe. In the long run, they actually help you save money by cutting losses in the event of a cyberattack.
#Password Protection for Enhanced Cybersecurity for Small Businesses
Password protection is key to cybersecurity. If your password is compromised your entire business network becomes vulnerable. There are many ways to make your passwords unbreakable:
Insist on creating strong passwords that are at least 8 characters long and conform to the standard password creation protocols. Strong passwords are difficult to crack and keep your system safe. Educate your staff to not share passwords with each other.
It is advisable to change passwords after a period of time. But, it is not easy to remember the passwords when they have to be changed frequently. And you cannot write them down for safety purposes but you can use a password manager to generate and manage passwords for you. A password manager tool is a software that helps you to manage your passwords across different programs and applications.
Multi-Factor Authentication or MFA
Grant access to your network infrastructure only after a multi-factor authentication after verifying more than one credentials of your staff. You can setup a system to send a One-time-password or use an authenticator app to create MFA.
Protecting your network infrastructure ensures safety for your data and operations. Here are a few methods that can be used to enhance cybersecurity for small businesses and protect their network:
The Virtual Private Network or VPN establishes a secure network connection between the internet and your business network. Data is sent via encrypted channels that keeps it safe from external attacks. It is like a virtual tunnel through which your data can pass securely. The IP addresses are not revealed with VPN is used and therefore, it is a very secure channel that you can use for your data communications.
A firewall is a device that does not allow suspicious traffic to enter from the internet to a device or internal network. It constantly listens to the traffic and basically becomes a barrier between a trusted and untrusted network. It is like a sieve that does not allow any malware or viruses to pass through into the internet network. However, you must have the latest version of the firewall installed otherwise it will not be effective against cyber attacks.
Give access to resources to your staff but not freely. Exercise access control when granting permission to use company resources and never grant access to unauthorized personnel. Granting access in a controlled way is essential in placing safeguards on data access to enhance cybersecurity for small businesses.
Use of Storage Devices
It is advisable to not allow the use of flash drives in your business premises. With cloud storage being the norm today, flash drives are used in very specific applications and business areas. The problem is they can cause major data breaches and spread viruses through the exchange of infected files. just the same. Again, you can restrict what data or files can be copied.
To protect your business from hackers and cyber criminals, you must remain vigilant and monitor your network traffic. Ring an alarm as soon as you detect data breach not matter how insignificant it may seem. If you can detect anomalies fast and are quick enough to take action and plug the hole, you will be saving yourself a lot of trouble.
Always ensure that the software and systems you are using are updated. This is important as many software development companies especially those that write antivirus software releases bug fixes and patches that are essential to be installed in your system. Not updating the software or your systems will result in creating loopholes.
If you find it overwhelming to take care of cybersecurity, you might want to hire experts in infrastructure management or managed IT services providers who can help your business by taking care of resource-heavy processes.