Cybersecurity encompasses measures taken to shield networks, computers, data, and individuals from the risks posed by unauthorized access, acquisition, or damage caused by cyber threats.
Implementing and regularly maintaining cybersecurity is not just a one-time action; it is an ongoing process. Neglecting to do so can leave your crucial IT assets vulnerable to risks such as fraud or theft.
Having a well-executed cybersecurity policy in place enables businesses to identify, examine, and address cyber threats without experiencing significant damage to their crucial assets.
Importance of cybersecurity for small businesses
Small businesses may lack the financial resources to invest in comprehensive cybersecurity programs unlike large businesses such as multinational companies.
However, cybersecurity remains a crucial aspect of a small business’ operations. Simple security measures can still effectively thwart numerous threats.
For small businesses, there is no need to spend on costly security packages. Instead, it is advisable to evaluate your requirements and financial resources to ascertain the suitable cybersecurity measures for safeguarding your business’ vital assets.
What are the advantages of cybersecurity for you and your business? Below are a few ways in which cybersecurity supports small businesses.
Protects computers and networks from cyberattacks
Updating security software such as antivirus and anti-malware applications allows small businesses to safeguard their networks and IT equipment. Employing network protection measures like firewalls also enhances the likelihood of thwarting cyberattacks.
For small businesses, these measures are affordable investment options that can be easily accommodated within their budget.
Familiarizes employees with security principles
The attacker in a phishing scam assumes the identity of a trusted figure or acquaintance to deceive the victim into revealing confidential details such as personal information or financial records. By the time the victim becomes aware of the situation, it might already be too late.
This vulnerability has the potential to transform employees into liabilities, which is a concern for businesses.
By offering security training, employees can be less susceptible to such attacks, consequently joining the cybersecurity solution.
The cost of security familiarization can differ based on the extent and employee count. Nonetheless, even the simplest security training proves to be highly beneficial and valuable in avoiding numerous cyberattacks.
Keeps crucial information backed up
It is crucial for companies that heavily depend on essential data for their operations to ensure that the business’ vital files are backed up and stored in a secure and protected location.
The ability to back up data and restore it is crucial in maintaining business continuity and minimizing or eliminating downtime, even if a security breach occurs.
Controls access to computers and data
It is advisable for a strong cybersecurity practice to restrict access to specific resources or files solely to authorized employees.
Setting up user accounts, passwords, and access rights based on employees’ roles and positions is a method to achieve this measure.
The chances of theft or damage can be reduced by implementing locked storage for laptops and other business assets.
Maintains best practices on financial transactions
Ensure that your financial transactions are carried out on secure networks and systems, alongside implementing security measures such as anti-malware software, firewalls, and employee training.
One should, for instance, refrain from using public Wi-Fi while making online payments or from using the same computer to process fees for regular internet browsing.
Provides a mobile device security plan
If mobile devices used by businesses are damaged, lost, or stolen, it could lead to the compromise of critical business information such as work files or trade secrets that provide a competitive advantage.
In order to maintain the security and protection of business data, a mobile security plan can effectively tackle these vulnerabilities. Implementing measures such as mobile insurance or an auto-erase function if the device gets lost or stolen are some examples of how this can be done.
Secures wireless networks
Although Wi-Fi is a convenient way to establish connections between computers and mobile devices and your network, it also presents a risk as hackers can exploit it to infiltrate your system and gain unauthorized access to your network without detection.
Setting up your Wi-Fi with a strong password and encryption is a simple and effective approach to avoid this security vulnerability.
To ensure your Wi-Fi is solely utilized for business purposes, it is advisable to conceal your wireless network. This can be achieved by disabling the broadcast of your Wi-Fi network name from the router or access point. By doing so, your wireless network becomes less susceptible to being discovered by potential hackers.
10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business
Having a cybersecurity strategy is imperative for small businesses in order to safeguard their business, customers, and data against the escalating cybersecurity threats, despite the significant influence of broadband and information technology in enabling these businesses to expand into new markets and enhance productivity and efficacy.
1. Train employees in security principles
Develop fundamental security protocols and regulations for staff members, including mandatory utilization of robust passwords, and lay down suitable directives concerning internet usage that outline repercussions for non-compliance with the organization’s cybersecurity policies. Implement protocols outlining proper conduct in managing and safeguarding customer data and othercritical information.
2. Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks
To effectively safeguard against viruses, malware, and online threats, it is crucial to maintain clean machines. This can be achieved by ensuring that the operating system, web browser, and security software are up to date. It is also advisable to schedule antivirus software to perform scans after every update, and promptly install any available key software updates.
3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
To protect data on a private network, a firewall consists of a collection of connected programs that restrict unauthorized access from external sources. It is important to ensure the firewall of the operating system is activated or consider installing free firewall software accessible online. In the scenario where employees are working remotely, it is crucial to guarantee the presence of a firewall safeguarding their home system(s).
4. Create a mobile device action plan
Mobile devices pose significant security and management difficulties, particularly when they contain sensitive data or have the ability to reach the corporate network. It is necessary to enforce password protection, data encryption, and the installation of security applications on users’ devices, in order to thwart potential information theft by criminals when the device is connected to public networks. Additionally, it is important to establish clear protocols for reporting lost or stolen equipment.
5. Make backup copies of important business data and information
It is important to consistently create copies of all computer data. Essential data comprises word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. If feasible, data should be backed up automatically; if not, it should be done at least once a week. Store the copies in an offsite location or in the cloud.
6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
To avoid unauthorized individuals accessing or using business computers, it is important to secure laptops when unattended due to their vulnerability to theft or loss. Each employee should have their own separate user account and be required to have strong passwords. It is advisable to grant administrative privileges solely to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
Ensure that your workplace’s Wi-Fi network is secure, encrypted, and kept invisible. To conceal your Wi-Fi network, configure your wireless access point or router to disable broadcasting the network name, also referred to as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Implement a password to restrict access to the router.
8. Employ best practices on payment cards
Collaborate with banks or processors to guarantee the utilization of trustworthy and authenticated tools and anti-fraud services. You might also have further security responsibilities according to your agreements with your bank or processor. Segregate payment systems from other, less secured software and avoid using the same computer for processing payments as well as browsing the Internet.
9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
Ensure that no individual employee is granted access to all data systems. It is imperative to limit employees’ access to only the necessary data systems required for their job responsibilities, and they should refrain from installing any software without proper authorization.
10. Passwords and authentication
Employees should be mandated to have distinct passwords and should change their passwords every three months. It is advisable to consider introducing multi-factor authentication, which will demand supplementary details apart from a password to access the system. It is recommended to contact the vendors who handle sensitive data, particularly financial institutions, and inquire if they provide multi-factor authentication for your account.