If you’re a small business owner, you should be worried about the threat of cyber attacks. Cybercrime poses a credible threat to small businesses – half will experience an attack, and 60 percent of those will fail within six months of the attack due to the costs incurred.
Good cybersecurity for your small business could be the thing that stands between you and complete financial ruin. Make sure you follow these cybersecurity best practices to keep your business up and running.
If you don’t know what your threat landscape looks like, you can’t make a good strategy to protect yourself. You need to know where your weaknesses are, and which weaknesses are the most glaring, so that you can prioritize repairing them. You’ll need to know what areas of your business are more secure, and which ones could use some shoring up.
Before you begin implementing new cybersecurity guidelines, do a security audit to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Remember that cybersecurity includes not just tools and systems, but also policy. For example, if you have an acceptable use policy in place for your company’s devices, you should include that in your audit.
Every member of your staff should take cybersecurity seriously, because threats often come in the form of phishing emails or telephone calls that target random employees. All it takes for hackers to get into your network is for a single employee to fall victim to a phishing email. Take the time to educate your staff on the most common cyber threats to small businesses and how to avoid them. Schedule trainings regularly to keep peoples’ memories fresh and their information up to date.
Good password hygiene can do so much to protect your data, devices, and systems. Force employees to change their passwords every 90 days and to use strong passwords when they do so. Encourage employees to create passwords that include lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and special characters. Educate them on the importance of using a different password for each of your accounts.
The right cybersecurity solutions for small businesses will give you the tools and help you need to protect your company from threats. Even a chief information security officer (CISO) has to use cybersecurity tools to get their job done. You need antivirus, a firewall, and perhaps even a managed cybersecurity service to help you configure and maintain your security tools with the expertise of specialists in the cybersecurity field.
Data is often lost in cyber attacks, whether it’s to ransomware or to the effects of a virus on a system or device. Always backup important data. Follow the 3-2-1 rule. You should make three copies of your data, back it up on two different media, and make sure one of those copies is stored off-site (and no, your company’s cloud storage does not count as off-site). If your data is ever lost or compromised for any reason, you should have at least one safe, uncorrupted copy of your data so you can continue your business operations.
Physical security is just as important to cybersecurity as using strong passwords, training your staff, and using a managed cybersecurity service. While cyber criminals will often target businesses online, some criminals may attempt to steal, damage, or tamper with your data and systems physically, in person. For example, a disgruntled employee, or a former employee whose access to the premises hasn’t been revoked, could damage your servers or steal company secrets.
You need to be sure that only authorized personnel have access to your physical premises and devices. Keep doors locked and make employees use keycards to get inside. Revoke access immediately when employees are terminated or quit. Protect servers, lock filing cabinets, and keep sensitive information away from prying eyes.
The costs of cyber crime to small businesses can be unbearable. Many small businesses fail when they’re targeted by cyber criminals. Cyber crime doesn’t have to take down your small business. Instead, you can protect yourself, and the business you’ve built.