Most people think cybersecurity breaches only happen to large enterprise organizations, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Increasingly, small businesses are the victims of sophisticated cyber crime due to the lack of security technologies and procedures they have in place.
The consequences for a cyber attack on a small business are just as severe, if not far worse, as they are for large organizations. This can include loss of revenue, reputational damage, legal liability, and unfortunately in many cases, can even shut a business down.
Luckily, there are a few steps small businesses can take to protect themselves from cyber threats. These essential tips will help your small business stay secure online.
1. Monitor Suspicious Activity
Have a regular monitoring schedule for suspicious activity, like unauthorized logins or attempts to access sensitive data. Consider implementing a security information and event management (SIEM) solution to monitor your network for suspicious behavior. Set up basic steps to take when you notice something suspicious, such as resetting passwords.
2. Secure Your Network
Ensure that your business’s network is secure by implementing a firewall and other security measures. Use virtual private networks (VPNs) to protect sensitive data transmitted over the internet. Additionally, consider limiting access to company systems and data by setting user accounts with specific access levels based on job function.
3. Conduct Risk Assessments
Inventory all your critical assets that need to be protected. These can be things like databases with customer details, financial information, and/or intellectual property. Consider how these assets could be illegally accessed, such as through phishing, malware, and ransomware. Once you’ve gone through this process, prioritize the risks based on their potential impact. It may be helpful to work with a third party to effectively rank and mitigate risk.
4. Implement Strong Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication
Ensure all your employees are using strong passwords that are at least eight characters long and include a mix of cases, numbers, and special characters. Adding an additional layer of authentication, like a mobile push or text message authentication, can add to your piece of mind.
5. Train Employees
One of the most significant vulnerabilities for small businesses is their employees. Cyber criminals often target employees with phishing emails or other social engineering techniques to gain access to company systems. Ensure your employees are aware of the risks and know how to recognize and avoid suspicious emails and other online threats. Conduct regular cybersecurity training on how cyber attacks work and your company’s security policies and procedures.
6. Keep Software Current
Outdated software and systems are the perfect target for threat actors. Ensure that all software, including operating systems, browsers, and applications, is up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Consider implementing an automated patch management system to ensure that all software is updated regularly.
Small businesses need to take cybersecurity seriously to protect themselves in our dangerous online world. The steps above are a great way to get started and stay secure as your business scales.
If you aren’t sure what your business needs, or want to stay on top of changing threats, plenty of organizations rely on third party experts like TCecure. If you are a small business owner looking for additional guidance on how to secure your company’s network, contact us to help plan and protect your business.