7 Cyberattack Defenses for SBs to Start Now
7 Ways Your Small Business Can Strengthen Its Cyberattack Defenses Right Now
Small businesses make up around 60% of cyberattack targets, meaning that small business owners can no longer assume that hackers and cybercriminals are more likely to target the big-ticket players. In fact, small businesses tend to be bigger targets, since they are less likely to have security measures in place when it comes to protecting their network and data, and often tend to be easier for hackers to compromise. No business is immune to the risk of cybercrime, regardless of their size and industry. However, the good news is that all businesses can alleviate some of these risks by taking simple yet effective steps to ensure that their organization is well-protected. Here are some of the key things that you can do to minimize your business’s risk.
Work with an Expert IT Company
Outsourcing IT is often the best solution for small businesses. Along with having access to a number of professionals who can provide expert support at a much more cost-effective rate compared to hiring an in-house team, working with a company that is experienced in cybersecurity can also provide you with peace of mind that your network is as secure as possible and regular risk assessments are carried out in order to catch and deal with any vulnerabilities as early as possible. Work with an expert managed IT support company like Infinit Consulting to put together a plan to keep your business secure.
You should get into a habit of making regular backups of your key systems and data. Keep copies of your data securely off-site and make sure that they work; in the event of a breach or suspected attack, securely stored backups of the data that you hold will ensure that you can maintain business continuity and service provision without interruptions.
Use Security Software
Any devices used for business should have strong security software installed. Make sure that it is set to auto-update and that any new security patches for your operating system, web browser, and any other software on your devices are applied as and when needed in order to ensure that they are as secure as possible. Using an outdated version of security software can be just as risky as not using security software at all since hackers are always coming up with new ways to compromise systems and updates tend to be in response to this. You should use anti-virus and anti-malware on all company devices and on any personal employee devices that are connected to the network or used from home.
Implement a Strong Password Policy
A huge percentage of data breaches are caused by passwords that are shared, stolen, or weak enough to be easily guessed. It’s important to implement and enforce a strong password policy in your company and ensure that all employees are adhering to it. Saving passwords on the browser might be convenient, but this can also be very risky as it means that anybody who gains access to a device will also be able to get access to any accounts that it has signed into, which could compromise data if a laptop or smartphone falls into the wrong hands. Ensure that employees use different passwords for different websites and services and come up with strong passwords that contain a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Passwords should also be changed regularly, typically once every 60-90 days will suffice.
Be Mindful of Phishing
Many data breaches and attacks are caused by phishing, which is a technique used by some hackers and cybercriminals to fool otherwise cautious and trustworthy employees into handing over passwords or access to secure data without realizing the extent of what is going on. It is a wise idea to provide regular employee training to ensure that all employees can recognize phishing attempts or report a suspected phishing attack. Be cautious of clicking on any links that are sent to you within emails, websites, and apps or on unfamiliar websites. Emails can be a particularly common phishing method when it comes to cyberattacks on businesses as they can often come in the form of cleverly designed communication from trusted individuals or brands, leaving employees thinking that they are giving information to a trusted third party rather than a hacker.
Use a Firewall and Encrypt Your Wi-Fi Network
If you operate a Wi-Fi network in your business, make sure that it is encrypted with WPA2 and regularly change the Wi-Fi password. It’s also worth spending some time checking that only devices that are authorized are connected to the network as unknown devices could signify that an unauthorized party has managed to gain access and the network is compromised. You should also use a firewall and ensure that your internet router has the latest firmware installed. Additionally, you will want to update firmware regularly to ensure that the best possible protection is always available.
Use Public Wi-Fi With Caution
With working remotely becoming the norm, companies are often dealing with employees who are working on a different network than the company network. Those who work from home are often using a secured home network, however, it’s important to be vigilant if you or your employees ever get work done in public places like coffee shops and libraries, which often use insecure public Wi-Fi networks. If you or any of your employees plan to access your systems over a public Wi-Fi network or other insecure networks, the best way to ensure that your connection is as secure as possible is to use a virtual private network (VPN).
Cybersecurity is an increasing concern for small businesses; big companies are not the only organizations at risk from hacking, malware, phishing, and other malicious attacks. Implementing best practices for cybersecurity in your business can help you devise a strategy to improve cyber risk management, reduce your risk of falling victim to an attack, detect breaches or potential breaches as quickly as possible, and have a solid incident response plan in place. For most businesses, it’s a question of when, rather than if an attack will happen, so being prepared is absolutely crucial.