The news is always full of deep dives on massive data breaches and hacks of systems at large enterprises. These cases do make for interesting stories. But they don’t reflect the actual state of cyber threats to the broader spectrum of businesses out there.
In fact, small businesses are much bigger targets for hackers. After all, cybercriminals love making a quick buck through as little effort as possible. That’s why smaller companies are easier targets.
But digital safety doesn’t have to be an afterthought or break the bank. Take a look at these 6 cybersecurity tips that every small business owner can use straight away.
1. Host Cybersecurity Training for Employees
Cybersecurity has become a part of doing business. Employees have to be knowledgeable about cybersecurity if they want to do their job properly. Otherwise, they may compromise the company and cause financial problems.
Training should be mandatory and revisited every year. There are plenty of topics to cover, including the following:
- safe password creation and storing,
- secure internet use,
- how to handle sensitive data,
- how to recognize email scams,
- and other security basics.
Employees should be aware of how phishing scams work as these are one of the biggest threats to a company’s security. Phishing scams keep evolving. And spear-phishing attacks are especially hard to identify. So you should remind your employees about them regularly.
2. Create and Enforce Security Policies
Training lays the foundation for what employees should know about cybersecurity. But only policies can reinforce their behavior. Security policies should cover topics like online conduct, mobile device and network usage. It should also outline safe versus unsafe actions. These remind employees of how critical cybersecurity is. It also helps to build safe habits in the workplace.
Since these policies need to be enforced, you will need putting someone in charge of enforcing them. It’s not enough to train employees and tell them what to do. Continued company safety means ensuring that they keep following the rules.
3. Limit Access to Company Resources
A system that’s open to everyone is vulnerable. It’s standard procedure at most companies to put admin restrictions in place. You should create network segments with admin access points to limit entry to sensitive data. Every employee doesn’t need to have access to all the information the company stores. Restrict company data and systems to what an employee needs to complete their job.
4. Have a Contingency Plan in Place
A big part of cybersecurity has nothing to do with prevention but instead with preparation. Attacks occur every day — you cannot avoid them all. Even the most sophisticated security systems in place cannot help all the time. Plus, cybercriminals often attack many businesses again within a small window of the first attack. That makes a contingency plan a crucial part of the process.
Consulting with a cybersecurity specialist is an excellent idea. They have the necessary knowledge to set up a proper plan. And having a good plan in place can mean the difference between being up and running again in two weeks versus going out of business.
5. Secure the Network with a VPN
Network security is the first line of defense against attackers. Every business owner knows to have a firewall up. Most also know about the importance of creating subnetworks. But many don’t ever think about how their employees use the internet and how that might compromise the network.
Most employees bring their mobile devices to work now, and some work remotely. These practices are convenient — no argument there. But they do create a lot of security holes that attackers can exploit. Business owners need to set up a VPN that protects valuable data that’s sent and received over their network. It is starting to become standard practice for remote workers but should become a habit for those working in the office too.
Shop around for a reliable VPN service that can handle business traffic. Many premium VPN services offer sensible business packages that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
6. Make Backups of Important Data
Nowadays, backups are crucial. Most of a business’s vital data is digital. Disasters occur, files get deleted by accident, and ransomware attacks are a continuous threat. Every business should have crucial data backed-up as often as needed and stored safely on an external hard drive or in the cloud.
Small businesses don’t always have the funds or necessary expertise to ensure that their valuable data stays safe. But cybersecurity best practices have become more accessible than business owners might realize. There are hundreds of security tools out there. And they cover all the necessary bases without breaking the bank. Plus, most of them are easy to use and maintain too.