When you see companies apologizing for a sensitive data breach or admitting they’ve been hacked, how do you feel? Cyber attacks and cybercrimes are on the rise. Small businesses, too, are at risk of data breaches, as evidenced by a company after business being hacked.
And it’s not just multinational companies that are suffering data breaches; attacks on small businesses are also on the rise, with hackers realizing that small businesses might not have established a solid cybersecurity strategy.
According to BullGuard, about 43% of small businesses have no cybersecurity defense strategy at all. During the pandemic, remote work became increasingly popular, and these concerns have only grown more hazardous.
According to Joe Giordano, the Cybersecurity Program Director at Touro College Illinois, businesses should take basic precautions to safeguard sensitive data. It is good to educate staff on recognizing phishing emails, avoiding clicking on suspicious web links or email attachments, and using strong passwords for security.
Businesses should be cautious about using up-to-date antivirus software and other security procedures to protect sensitive data. By following a few security tips, your business can significantly increase its safety and security in the context of cybersecurity.
However, there are specific basic cybersecurity measures that can make you and your business safer without the help of a full-fledged cyber-defense team.
The need for cybersecurity
If you’re wondering how cybersecurity affects businesses, keep an eye on the big losses incurred by companies where a successful hack or data breach has occurred. Customers’ financial data is not only at risk but also destroys a company’s image when hackers steal it.
Nobody wants to risk their money or personal information by doing business with a company that doesn’t understand the risks of cyberattacks. Business owners have to safeguard their consumers, mainly if the usage of their services necessitates the transmission of personal information.
These cyber security best practices are a primer on cybersecurity for company owners if you want to protect your business.
Similarly, businesses must aim to safeguard their personnel and themselves by preventing catastrophic security breaches. These cyber security best practices are a primer on cybersecurity for company owners if you want to protect your business.
Here are some simple cybersecurity practice business tips that will assist you in protecting yourself and your users from cyber threats.
Preparation is the key
When developing a security business management plan, companies may choose from several cybersecurity best practices. Below are 8 of those cybersecurity best practices as a starting point for businesses.
Robust cybersecurity best practices can help businesses avoid long-term financial harm as well as reputation damage. However, it is essential to be prepared to avert and repel cyber attacks, and it’s the key to a company’s long-term viability in today’s business survival.
8 cybersecurity best practices for your business
Cybersecurity best practices are more general than best practices in any other technical field. Some basic precautions, such as being cautious while conducting online activities, following business guidelines, and asking for assistance when you notice something suspicious, are all part of the equation.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the top eight cybersecurity best practices for businesses that every business owner should follow:
Cloud security is all about keeping cloud-based infrastructure, applications, and data security. Small businesses are turning to the cloud to provide the infrastructure their businesses require. While cloud-based solutions are highly accessible, cost-effective, and efficient, they aren’t all created equal.
It’s essential to select cloud infrastructure and software systems with the most advanced security levels available and include built-in safeguards to protect against vulnerabilities.
Protect your data and network security
When attending to an unsolicited email, phone call, message, or instant message in your daily life, you most likely avoid sharing personally identifiable information like your Social Security number or credit card number.
It’s critical to exercise the same caution while at work. It’s important to remember that cybercriminals may use real-looking email addresses and websites, and Cybercriminals may engage in fraud by altering their caller ID information.
Hackers can even takeover business social media accounts and send phony communications that appear to be genuine. It’s something that sounds obvious, but it’s critical not to leak your company’s data, sensitive information, or intellectual property.
For example, suppose you post a picture on the internet with a whiteboard or computer display in the background. You might unintentionally reveal information that isn’t supposed to be seen by anybody outside of your company.
Be mindful of other businesses’ intellectual property, too. Even if it’s by accident, sharing or making use of another business’s IP may get you and your company into a big mess.
By developing and disseminating corporate rules on topics such as how to destroy data that is no longer useful and how to report suspicious emails or ransomware, your company can help safeguard its employees, clients, and data.
Also, network security methods are designed to prevent unauthorized access and abuse of your computer network, that is, the devices and data under your administrator’s control. Limiting network access to your Wi-Fi network with a strong password is one of the most fundamental steps you can take. You’ll also need to consider and defend against various sorts of cyberattacks, as well as internal threats.
Use strong password protection and multi-factor authentication
Strong passwords can assist in preventing cyber threats from stealing a company’s data. Passwords with a minimum of characters can be pretty easy to access. If a computer hacker learns your password, they may be able to access the company’s network.
It is critical to have unique, strong passwords. A strong password should be ten characters long, including numbers, symbols, and upper and lowercase letters, while avoiding common words. It would be ideal for updating your passwords regularly.
However, it may be difficult to change and remember all of your passwords, and a password manager might assist. Even the most meticulous planning will likely result in an employee making a security blunder that may jeopardize your sensitive data.
Matt Littleton, East Regional Director of Cybersecurity and Azure Infrastructure Services at Microsoft, says: enabling the multi-factor authentication settings on most major network and email products is simple to do and adds an extra layer of security. He suggests using staff cell numbers as a secondary form since it’s unlikely a thief would have both the PIN and the password at once.
Regularly backup all data
Multiple backups of your company’s data are always a smart idea. That way, you’ll be able to recover from a ransomware cyberattack, a natural disaster, or some other calamity that prevents you from accessing your data if you do this. Regardless of your precautions, it’s impossible to avoid being hacked completely.
The SBA encourages backing up Word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Also, make sure to back up all data stored in the cloud.
Ensure that extra copies of your documents are stored safely in case of fire or water damage. To ensure that you have the most up-to-date backup if needed, make sure your backup is regularly working.
VPNs and firewalls
A firewall happens to be one of the first lines of defense in a cyber attack. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) advises all small businesses to establish a firewall to prevent cyber attacks from stealing their data.
Many organizations are beginning to install internal firewalls and the traditional external firewall to provide greater security. New malware is released daily, and your antivirus and antimalware software must be updated regularly.
If your antivirus and antimalware software has not been updated, it will be unable to identify and defend your system against new malware. Also, employees who work from home must install an internet firewall on their home network. To ensure conformity, make sure firewalls and home network security software are provided.
It’s tempting to believe that your employees are aware of never clicking on fraudulent emails. However, according to the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, 30% of employees opened phishing emails, an 8% increase from the previous year. It’s critical to have antimalware software on all network devices since phishing attacks generally occur when a harmful link is clicked.
Use the position-specific methods described in the Entrepreneur.com piece “5 Types of Employees Often Targeted by Phishing Attacks” as part to train your employees to prevent phishing attacks from targeting specific small businesses employee roles.
Educate employees in security policies
The most frequent infiltrations do not come from brute-force attacks; instead, they are the consequence of poor employee decisions, such as being fooled by a phishing scam, giving login information because of social engineering, or choosing a weak and easy-to-guess password.
Employees at small and medium-sized businesses often wear various hats, making it critical that all network users should be properly trained on your company’s network cyber security standards and security policies.
Employees at small and medium-sized businesses often wear various hats, making it critical that all network users should be adequately trained on your company’s network cyber security standards and security policies. Because cybercriminals have become more sophisticated, it’s critical to keep up with new protocols.
Intelligent companies spend the time to educate their employee. You are responsible for comprehending your company’s cybersecurity regulations and responsibilities. Employees must be trained to avoid becoming victims of these kinds of cyberattacks.
Educate them about typical scams and best cybersecurity practices so that they are better equipped to defend themselves against them. Also, have each employee sign a paper stating that they have been informed of the rules and that actions may be taken if they do not follow security policies.
Plan for mobile devices and document your cybersecurity
Survey research by the Tech Pro Research 2016 BYOD, Wearables, and internet of things (IoT): Strategies Security and Satisfaction, it’s critical for businesses to have a formal BYOD policy that emphasizes security measures.
With the increasing appeal of wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers with wireless capability, it’s critical to include these devices in security policies. Symantec similarly advises that small businesses should have their employees set up automatic security updates and that the company’s password policy should apply to all mobile devices accessing the network.
Even though small firms often rely on word of mouth and intuitive knowledge, documenting your procedures is crucial in the field of cyber security. The Small Business Administration’s Cybersecurity website provides online training, checklists, and information tailored to a company’s particular needs.
The Cyberplanner 2.0 from the FCC is an excellent place to start creating your security plan. Consider joining the C3 Voluntary Program for Small Businesses, which includes a full toolbox for identifying and documenting cybersecurity best practices and policies.
Employ third-party control systems
Here’s something you might not have known. Data breaches frequently start from within companies, and this is why companies must consider and limit employee access to customer data. You could be in charge of accessing and utilizing client, customer, and employee confidential information.
If you have a small business, nevertheless, make sure you follow the company’s rules about how sensitive information is kept and utilized. You’re the guardian of this information against unlawful third parties if you’re in charge of safeguarding hard or soft copies.
Third parties, such as consultants or past employees with limited access to the company’s computer network, may be monitored by both companies and their employees. It’s critical to keep third-party access to a minimum and remember to turn it off when they’ve completed the task.
Security is an ever-changing landscape, and Cybercriminals are becoming more skilled every day. It would be best to make cyber security a top priority to safeguard your data as much as possible.
Also, it would help to participate in safe online behavior and contact your IT department if you notice anything odd or need assistance. Staying on top of these security precautions might differ between securing a business and one vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Last but not least, you must stay up to date on the newest antivirus systems and prevention technologies. It’s essential to your business.