Many small business owners believe that cybersecurity is something that only large enterprises should be concerned about. However, this isn’t the case anymore. Businesses of all sizes and industry types are being targeted by cybercriminals.
Malicious individuals who want to break into computer systems for various reasons now have access to many different kinds of malware and automated hacking tools.
Hackers often target smaller businesses, as they tend to lack the sophisticated IT security infrastructure that large companies have. Some small business owners think that they don’t have the budget necessary to deploy effective security solutions. But in today’s world, there are many highly affordable or free methods that a business can use to secure their IT infrastructure from malicious attacks.
Here is some advice on how you can approach cybersecurity as a business:
Consider Cybersecurity an Investment
Small and medium-sized businesses should understand that the time, effort and money they put in when created a solid cybersecurity strategy is an investment in their business, rather than just an expense that they’ll never get back. A cyberattack or security breach of any kind can be extremely costly for your business.
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Small businesses that are victims of cybercrime can lose money due to the downtime caused by repairing the damages, in addition to losing future business if their reputation is affected by a breach, which is often the case when customer information is compromised.
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Know that Implementing Security Measures Doesn’t Have to be Complex
One common misconception among small business owners is that putting together a proper security strategy will require setting up complex hardware and software systems. The reality is that even making simple changes on how you approach security can be very beneficial.
According to the latest edition of the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 85 percent of successful breaches used known exploits. Deploying measures such as keeping antivirus and security software up to date, applying the latest security patches to operating systems, as well as updating any online applications that you use can help thwart many types of attacks.
Understand the Security Risks of Systems You’re Using Now or Plan to Deploy in the Future
Different businesses will have different needs when it comes to security. For example, a company that operates several online stores will need to create a more robust security strategy than a business that just has a simple website that doesn’t take online orders.
You should review the security risks that come with using various types of IT assets and online systems currently in use by your company, as well as those that you plan on using in the future.
As industry 4.0 is a disruptive force that is bringing changes to every business sector, many businesses are embracing IoT solutions to create a more connected environment. This leads to some small business owners worrying whether adopting new technology will bring unacceptable cybersecurity risks.
While connected devices may serve as potential entry points for hackers, they can be secured from all common types of attacks.
Therefore, any business that uses proper cybersecurity measures can take advantage of them safely.
Don’t Forget to Provide Proper Training to Your Staff
Using security software and keeping your systems updated with the latest patches to defeat common exploits is a good way to start. However, you shouldn’t forget that a comprehensive security strategy will also involve training your staff on cybersecurity issues that could affect your business.
Malicious hackers and spies aren’t the only thing that business owners should be worried about.
According to the latest statistics, employee errors were behind 17 percent of security breaches.
These mistakes can include failing to properly wipe confidential information from a mobile device that is sent to be recycled, using passwords that are too easy to guess, falling for a phishing attack, installing apps from untrusted sources or misconfiguring online software. Also, every small business should consider implementing and sharing business VPN solutions with their employees, so that they could secure their internet connection when working remotely, especially if they tend to do it on unsecured networks, like coffee shops, airports, etc.
Therefore, every business should take the time to implement a cybersecurity training strategy. Your employees should have all the information they need to recognize security threats, as well as steps that they can take to mitigate them.
Keep Your Security Strategy Updated
Technology is evolving rapidly and so are the daily threats that businesses face. For example, while ransomware was rarely seen prior to 2013, it’s now the most prevalent type of malware being distributed online.
According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 39 percent of all malware encountered on the Internet is a form of ransomware.
What this means to you as a business owner is that the threats you’re facing are continuously evolving.
You should take the time to stay up to date on the latest IT security news to see if there are any emerging threats that could be a potential problem for your business. As the threats you face evolve, so should your security strategy. Be sure that you have the tools and knowledge needed to defeat the most recent types of cyberattacks.
Be Aware of Security Risks that Come from Using Third-Party Providers
Many small businesses are now using cloud-based applications to handle data and carry out their regular operations.
While this may be very convenient and result in significant cost savings, you should be aware that moving some of your operations to the cloud will also come with its unique set of security risks.
Don’t forget to do a thorough assessment of the risks that you’re facing and choose the vendors that you use carefully. Even the most reputable providers aren’t immune to security breaches.
Systems belonging to tech giants such as Google and Microsoft have been compromised in the past, which has resulted in sensitive information, such as the content of private messages, being exposed.
In today’s connected world, small businesses use a wide range of technology solutions to stay competitive. But as use of technology grows, so do the cybersecurity threats that small and medium-sized have to deal with. By putting together the right security approach, you can mitigate many of these risks and protect your business from the latest types of attacks.