Maximize Business Cybersecurity: A Guide to Protect Your Business Data

November 27, 2021

Maximize Business Cybersecurity A Guide to Protect Your Business Data

If your business lives on the internet, you should know how to maximize business cybersecurity.

Today’s digital world puts businesses increasingly reliant on technology and becomes more vulnerable to data breaches. Approximately 52% of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack, according to a 2021 report by Help Net Security.

As a business owner, it’s critical to understand how to protect your business data and prevent cyber attacks. This guide will show you how to implement security measures to avoid online attacks.

What is Cybersecurity?

At its core, cybersecurity (sometimes cyber security) is the practice of protecting electronic information from unauthorized access or theft. This can include data stored on computers, servers, and mobile devices and transmitted over networks.

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For organizations, cybersecurity is important for two main reasons:

  • To protect the confidentiality of sensitive information, such as financial data, customer records, and intellectual property.
  • To ensure the availability of systems and data so businesses can continue uninterrupted in the event of a cyberattack.

Cybersecurity programs include a variety of processes and tools for detecting, blocking, and deterring cyberattacks. Although many businesses delegate responsibility for cybersecurity to an IT department, experts suggest that all employees on board be held accountable for data safety.

5 Common Security Risks in Small Businesses

Weaknesses in your cybersecurity protocol can have catastrophic consequences for businesses. You want to avoid any risk that jeopardizes the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of your systems and data.

Here are five of the most common security risks faced by company business leaders:

1. Lack of Cybersecurity Awareness and Training

One of the most common security risks small businesses face is a lack of awareness and training. Many employees are not aware of the importance of cybersecurity practices or how to protect themselves and the company from cyberattacks.

2. Weak Passwords

Requiring passwords is one of the basic security practices that companies implement. However, many employees use the same password for multiple accounts or simple passwords that are easy to guess. This can give cybercriminals easy access to your website, systems, and data.

3. Outdated Software

Outdated software is another common security risk. When software is no longer supported by the manufacturer, it becomes more vulnerable to exploits and vulnerabilities. This can give hackers a way into your systems.

4. Unsecured Networks

Unsecured networks can be easily intercepted by cybercriminals who can steal sensitive information and inject malware. If not secured, you’re vulnerable to DoS attacks that can overwhelm the network and cause significant damage to the company’s data and systems.

5. Lack of Backup and Recovery Plans

Another common security risk is the lack of backup and recovery plans. If your systems and data are not properly backed up, you could lose them forever in the event of a cyberattack.

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Top 6 Cybersecurity Guides for Your Small Business

Cyber threats and data breaches are no joke, and they’re only getting more sophisticated. So how can you protect your business data? Here are our tips:

1. Train your employees in cybersecurity best practices

Your employees are your first line of defense against cybersecurity threats. They need to be trained in how to spot phishing emails, how to create strong passwords, and what to do if they think their computer has been infected with malware.

It’s important to educate your teams about the following:

  • Using a password manager
  • Securing small business data against cyberattacks
  • Handling cyberattacks and things related to cyber threats when they encounter them
  • Reporting a data breach

By training your employees in basic cybersecurity best practices, you can help keep your business safe from attack.

2. Ensure your software is up to date

One of the easiest ways hackers can breach your network is through outdated software. It has known security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to alter your operating systems.

That’s why it’s important to keep software up to date, including your operating system, web browser, email client, and any other tools you use. You can install software or outsource software that sets automatic updates, so you don’t have to do it manually.

Note: Updates may be scheduled after business hours or at a more convenient time. It’s essential not to disregard update warnings since they address critical security flaws.

3. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication

A weak password is like an open door for hackers. Once they have your password, they can easily gain access to your email account, social media accounts, and even your bank accounts. That’s why it’s important to use strong passwords.

Enabling two-factor authentication (TFA) adds a layer of security. TFA is an extra level of security that requires you to provide two or more forms of identification before accessing your account.

For example, you may need to enter your password and then provide a code that is sent to your email or phone. This makes it more difficult to hack your accounts since they would need both your password and your email or phone access.

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4. Back up your data regularly 

If you suffer a cyber attack and your data is encrypted or lost, you could be out of business for good if you don’t have backups. Backups are one of the first security measures you should put in place.

Backing up your data is important for any business, and there are many ways to do it that are not too costly or time-consuming. Having multiple backup options in place will protect your valuable data. Here are the backup strategies you should do:

  • end-of-week server back-ups
  • quarterly server back-ups
  • yearly server back-ups

Note: Store your backups offsite in the cloud or on an external hard drive so that they are safe from any destruction, like a fire or flood, at your business. If something happened and all of your data was lost, you wouldn’t have to worry about losing your backups too!

5. Regularly check your computer equipment and systems

Keep a tally of all the computers used by your company. This will help you identify which ones need to be updated, compromised, or are no longer in use.

Computer equipment and operating system vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers. This includes checking for things like outdated technology, open ports, and weak passwords. There are AI technologies out there that can help you find any vulnerabilities and patch them immediately with a scanner.

Former employees who still have access to your company’s system can be a back door that cybercriminals use to attack. To avoid this, have a security practice on employee turnover in place. It includes removing access for anybody who is no longer employed or transitioned jobs and does not need it anymore.

6. Invest in cybersecurity insurance

Even if you take all of the necessary precautions and compliance, there’s always a chance that you could still become the victim of cyber attacks. That’s why it’s important to invest in cybersecurity insurance.

Cybersecurity insurance can help cover the costs of recovering from a cyber attack, such as lost data, damaged equipment, legal fees, and more. It can also help cover the costs of hiring someone to help you recover from attacks.

Any big or small organization benefits the most from this investment though small businesses don’t have the same resources as larger businesses. It’s important to shop around and compare policies to find the best coverage for your organization.


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About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin