Most small business owners think that because they have small enterprises, cybercriminals will spare them from attacks. That’s because they’re duped into thinking that they don’t have much to steal. However, that’s not true. According to research, 95% of cyber security attacks occur because of human error.
Furthermore, a cyber-security report discovered that about 50% of small businesses had been attacked in the past years. Some people wonder why small businesses are the main targets of cybercriminals because most attackers aim at getting personal data to use in identity theft or credit cards.
However, most small businesses have poorly secured networks and perform less compromise assessment, making them an easy target than larger companies. This article explains some best practices that you can implement in your small business to shield it from cybercriminals.
Install A Firewall
One of the easiest defenses you can use to prevent a cyber-attacker from infiltrating your system is installing a firewall. The federal communication commission’s recommendation states that it’s important for every SMB to install a firewall that creates a barrier between cybercriminals and their data.
Apart from the conventional external firewall, you should also install an internal firewall to give extra protection. If your company has some employees who’re working remotely, you need to advise them to install firewalls on their networks as well. You can promote compliance by giving every worker a firewall software and support to install on their office or home devices.
Have Clear Cybersecurity Policies
Most small businesses operate through intuitional knowledge and word of mouth. However, when it comes to cybersecurity, you need to have a document that clearly states your protocols. You can get online training from various cybersecurity sites on how to create a list of what’s needed to shield your online business from attackers.
Don’t Forget Mobile Devices
About 59% of businesses allow BYOD. If your company is in this category, you need to have a policy document with safety precautions. Technology has increased the use of wearables like fitness trackers and watches, which can also be hacked. If you have a policy that covers these devices, you’ll safeguard your business. You should also instruct your employees to turn on automatic security updates and apply the company’s password policy on every device they use to access the network.
Educate Your Staff
Some employees may be careless with networks because they don’t have the necessary knowledge on cybersecurity policies and best practices. Training them on these policies can help to reduce their vulnerability levels. Because the policies keep changing as cyber attackers become wiser, you should also update them on new protocols. Make sure your employees know and understand cyberstalking laws as well, so they will know how to properly handle email communications.
To make them accountable for their actions, let them sign a document stating that they’ve read and understood security policies and the consequences that follow if they breach them. Ensure you do this after every training exercise.
Emphasize Best Password Practices
It may be quite stressful to keep on changing passwords, but according to a data breach investigation report, about 63% of attacks in 2016 occurred because of weak, stolen, or lost passwords. Unfortunately, about 65% of small businesses have password policies that they do not enforce.
However, it’s vital for every employee who accesses the company’s network to be password-protected. You should emphasize that they use passwords having lower and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Also, they should change these passwords after every 90 days.
Back-Up Data Regularly
Having preventative measures against cyber-attacks is a good step. However, your system may still be breached despite the security systems you install. To avoid losing all your data in case of such an attack, you need to back up your databases, word processing documents, financial files, electronic spreadsheets, accounts files, and human resource files.
You should also back up the data you’ve stored on a cloud. Store these backups in a different location to prevent you from losing them in case of calamities such as floods and a fire outbreak. Check your back up regularly to confirm it’s functioning well and enable you to have the latest back up.
Install Anti-Virus Software
It’s disastrous to assume that all your staff members know they shouldn’t open a phishing email. Over the recent years, statistics show that more employees continue to open such emails despite being trained not to. You can prevent such an occurrence by installing antimalware or anti-virus software because most phishing attacks happen when malware on a staff’s computer is clicked.
Use Multifactor Identification
Expect some employees to make grave security mistakes that may leak your data even if you’re very much prepared against attacks. It’s advisable to install a multifactor identification setting on your email products and major networks to prevent such an occurrence. Fortunately, it’s a simple thing to do but offers an additional protection layer. You can use the staff’s phone numbers as a second form because the attackers will unlikely have their passwords and PINs.
Sometimes, it may pay to limit and segment your employee’s access to the company’s data and systems. That’s because not all attacks originate from external hackers. Some cyberthreats can come from your organization. To prevent such attacks, you can maintain tight controls over the use of information. That way, you’ll prevent your systems and data from being compromised.
Inform Your Employees To Conduct Regular Updates And Upgrades
Performing regular upgrades and updates is normally taken lightly by some small businesses, though it can be one of the best strategies to enhance your company’s security. So, it’s advisable to encourage your employees to update the technological tools they use.
New updates have patches that guard against threats. To get such patches, you have to download and install them. If you leave your businesses’ software and devices un-updated, you’ll expose them to constant attacks.
Cyber attackers advance their attacks every day. That can make it difficult to protect your systems and data. However, if every worker makes cybersecurity a priority, you can prevent most attackers from infiltrating your system. Also, new systems and updating your systems can help to minimize your chances of being attacked.