Investing in the right security measures is critical for any business. The range and sophistication of cyber-attacks are increasing daily.
Small business owners cannot assume that they are safe due to the size of their operations. Hackers are rather undiscriminating in where they ply their trade. So, what do small business owners need to know about security? Our article will explore some of the salient points.
1. The size of the business does not make you safe
You may think that hackers only target big businesses. The truth is, no organization, whether big or small, is safe. The following statistics will show you how critical the situation is.
A 2018 report shows that almost 50% of small businesses were victims of cyber-attacks in that year. The cost to a small business may be as high as $34,600 per year.
Up to 60% of small businesses are not able to survive cyber-attacks. Within six months, they will have closed shop.
You would think such reports would be reason enough to invest in relevant security, right? Well, the answer is no. Only one-third of small businesses establish better security measures after an attack.
To top it off, the spend on cybersecurity is less than $500 every year for such businesses.
2. Invest in the right security measures
Think of a typical office building. You have burglar proofing, electronic monitoring, armed guards, and so much more. You do all these to deter criminals from accessing the premises.
You must do the same for your digital space. Extra layers of security will keep your customer and company data safe. Such include anti-malware, antivirus, and firewall protection.
Take your security a notch higher with Socks proxies. Such proxies give you online anonymity by hiding your IP address. You also get data encryption and enhanced authentication. Further, you can access content that may have geo-blocking restrictions.
Back up your files and store them on remote networks such as cloud storage or external hard drives. In case cybercriminals get access to your networks, it becomes easier to recover.
Running regular system updates gives you access to the latest security versions. Some people may ignore running them because they feel it is time-consuming. But, you miss out on fixing bugs or other areas of weakness. Make it a routine process in your business.
3. Educate yourself on the threats that your business face
How can you take the right security measures if you do not know what threats you face? Place yourself in the shoes of cyber-criminals. See what assets they are likely to attack.
Also, take the time to know the source of the threats. Some areas of concern include phishing, malware, malicious links, and ransomware. Look at your processes to determine whether they present chances of vulnerabilities.
With a good understanding, it is possible to take proactive measures to remain safe.
4. Understand the security impact of BYOD programs
As a small business, you look for ways to cut costs. Such include using the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program. Employees can use their smartphones, tablets, or laptops for company work.
Without the proper security protocols, you could face a lot of issues. Establish acceptable devices. Encourage the employees to separate personal and work data. Finally, ensure that they have the relevant security measures on the devices.
5. Security training for employees
Everyone in the organization has an active role to play with regard to security. What the employees do while online can expose you to vulnerabilities. Employees pose the most significant threat when it comes to security. Cybercriminals use them to gain access to your networks and systems.
Teach them to avoid clicking or downloading unknown links or files. They must pay more attention to email addresses. Those that have grammatical or spelling errors may be potential threats.
Small business owners must invest in awareness creation. Cyber security training for everyone in the organization is also crucial. Engage the services of experts to ensure you cover all the salient areas. Consider it an ongoing exercise. You must update staff on any changes that may impact security.
6. Establish a sound security strategy or policy
A security strategy is a critical component for anyone who is operating in an online space. It details business threats and steps to overcome them. It goes further to show how everyone should handle sensitive data (typically in order to create this plan, a cyber security risk assessment is done first).
Also, incorporate an incident response plan which outlines what to do in case of an attack. It also shows recovery measures and the roles of different players.
Consider your policy a living document. You should be able to tweak it depending on emerging threats. It may come as a surprise, but few small businesses take the time to come up with this crucial document.
Without a security strategy in place, your company will not be able to respond to threats. Cybercriminals can take advantage of this to steal data or introduce malware. You will find it difficult to survive such attacks.
It could explain why over 60% of companies will close down after security breaches. Every staff member must understand the policy. It would also help if you also had consequences in case of violations.
7. Assemble a security team
It is all good to have a strategy or policy in place. It also helps to have a reliable team that you can call upon. If you have the financial capacity, it is a good idea to have an in-house IT team. If not, consider outsourcing to a reputable company.
8. Determine who needs access to information
Have stringent measures in place to restrict access to information. Even for those who have access, assign user or administrative privileges. It means they only have permission to information that is pertinent to the completion of specific duties.
Bolster the use of passwords with multi-factor authentication. It helps to make it harder for criminals to get access to your systems.
Operating a business comes with its challenges. Ensuring proper security is one of them. We have looked at everything small businesses need to know with regards to security.
Understand what threats your business faces. Next, put in place measures to counter such. Also, invest in proper training for your staff members to raise awareness and proactivity.