Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month?
Here’s another question. How secure is your small business from digital threats? With hackers attacking every 39 seconds on average, it comes as a surprise that most businesses lack the right cyber security measures or a contingency plan to deal with these threats.
When you consider the fact that in 2020 alone, 28% of data breaches involved small businesses, boosting cyber security measures has never been more dire. You must devote resources that will help you reduce or eliminate the chances of a data breach or exposure to cyber threats.
Clever and conniving hackers out there don’t bother with large businesses. Instead focus on the vulnerable small ones, since it’s easier for them.
Don’t be an easy target!
To celebrate NCSAM, we’ll share eight of the most killer tips that will help you boost your cyber security. They aim to keep your business safe from these unscrupulous hackers.
1. Secure Your Data At All Costs
Boosting cyber security needs to start from the basics. Securing all your business and personal data and communications is, by far, one of the most essential steps you can take. As a business, you possibly have vital and sensitive client data that you can’t afford to lose because it could lead to fraud and identity theft.
Of course, you need to provide your business information, like your finances, product pricing information, and intellectual property. This is the kind of data you wouldn’t even want to dream of being in someone else’s hands, like criminals or competitors, right?
The best thing you can do is implement and use strong encryption protocols consistently. Cover all operational infrastructure, from desktops to laptops, smartphones, tablets, backup solutions, and cloud storage solutions.
There is absolutely nothing you can afford to overlook. Data encryption is the holy grail of data protection, whether it’s on rest or in transit. Use HTTPS protocols for in-transit data, and install an SSL/TSL certificate on your business website.
This will secure all data transfers from between your website and web clients. With encrypted data, even if the bad guys get a hold of your data, they won’t be able to read it.
2. Use Authentication Tools for Authorization
The next best thing you can do to combat common cyber threats is to use authentication tools to prove identity. You see, reputation and identity are two integral aspects of your business.
If compromised, it could deal your business a devastating blow. Start by installing personal authentication certificates for your employees for both website access and email communications.
It’ll allow everyone to sign in using digital signatures and encrypt messages and attachments on emails, making it safe. A digital certificate also allows you to give specific users access to a restricted portal of your website. Beyond that, use a code signing certificate if you have any software that could be compromised.
3. Restrict Access and Authenticate All Users
One of the best things you can do is add multi-factor authentication to your system. This is an enhanced technology that only allows authorized users into your system or network, which keeps hackers out. Users will have to use two or three entry methods, including a password or PIN, a biometric like a fingerprint or a facial scan, and an HSM or Token.
Beyond that, one of the best ways of boosting cyber security is by using a multi-layered approach. This includes using firewalls and antivirus solutions instead of just one.
Go the extra mile beyond the basics and include IP and DNS based filtering. Go for email filtering, unified threat management tools, automation solutions, intrusion detection systems, and backing up data regularly.
4. Keep Software, Firmware, and Hardware Updated
Boosting cyber security for your small business involves regular software updates on servers, computers, and mobile devices. However, firmware and hardware should not be left behind.
You see, cybercriminals come up with new threats and find vulnerabilities in these software programs every day. It’s vital for your business that you keep all systems, software, and applications up to date to patch those vulnerabilities. Ignoring updates is like leaving the door wide open for common cyber threats like malware and viruses.
5. Be Prepared for the Worst
Even as you hope for the best.
One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is assuming they are too small to garner attention from hackers. They believe that attackers go after multi-million companies seeing as they have more money, and bigger clients. In turn, they neglect to protect themselves and leave their doors wide open, and cybercriminals take advantage of that.
It’s imperative that you conduct regular vulnerability and risk assessment for your small business to identify what you need to protect yourself against.
Ensure you maintain regular data backups in case of a successful breach, as it’ll help you restore your business. More importantly, you need to develop, execute, and enforce strategic cyber security policies.
6. Train Your Employees to Recognize Threats
This is, by far, one of the most vital aspects of boosting cyber security for your business. Cyber awareness training is critical because when many people use the same system, it’s easier for human errors to lead to data breaches. This training will teach them how to recognize threats and operate safely.
It’s also important for you to have a cyber security team ready to handle things in case something goes wrong. It’s critical to have a business continuity plan, an incident response, a disaster recovery plan, and a team breakdown of responsibilities if shit hits the fan. Be proactive, not reactive, because a total disruption of your business can dramatically affect everything.
7. Consider Cyber Insurance
As a small business, it’s a given that you already have a tight budget and a whole list of insurance premiums you’re already paying. However, depending on your risk assessment, you may want to consider cyber security insurance to cover data breach liabilities.
8. Invest in a Cyber Security Team
You can opt to hire an in-house cybersecurity team or choose to outsource. This should be a preference based on your type of business and how much you can afford. Weight the pros and cons of dealing with a third party company and decide whether you would prefer to hire employees instead.
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Boosting Cyber Security: The Ultimate Small Business Tips
This is as much as you need to know about boosting cybersecurity for your business. The most important thing to remember is that your employees’ actions matter.
They can be your greatest risk or greatest assets. Invest in your employees and in the right cybersecurity tools to protect your business against cyber threats. How informative was this post? If you found it to be valuable, please check out our blog section for so much more. We have articles on technology, entertainment, and even culinary experience!