Cybersecurity is often an issue that is brushed aside by start-ups and small businesses. The common misconception is that a business is too small to become a victim of cybersecurity attacks. A lack of resources is also an oft-cited argument to delay the implementation of security measures. However, given the low cost of cyberattacks, an attack on any organisation regardless of the size yields a profit. It is also important to note that hackers usually go after computing systems they know well, so often it’s more about compromising a particular technology rather than targeting a specific person or entity. Moreover, the impact of cyberattacks on smaller businesses can be twice as devastating as for bigger companies who have the resources and money to cope with a security breach.
As the scale, sophistication and inventiveness of cybercriminals increase, smaller businesses must arm themselves with strong security measures in order to protect their data and ultimately their business. Here are five easy-to-implement steps which small businesses can take in order to protect themselves against cybercrimes.
- Stronger passwords: This may seem like a no-brainer, however its importance cannot be stressed enough. According to a recent Ponemon study, 59 percent of small businesses lack awareness of employee password complexity practices. Something as simple as implementing complex password requirements can greatly mitigate potential threats.
- Educate employees: According to the report, negligence by employees and contractors accounted for 48 percent of data breaches. Stephen Coty, chief security evangelist at Alert Logic writes, ‘Human error remains one of the biggest threats to a businesses’ cybersecurity. Each and every staff member needs to know about the security program and to receive quarterly security briefs and trainings. Along with keeping your employees up-to-date on the larger security program, you must also remind workers of the basic precautions they can take to protect themselves and their digital assets, both at work and at home. For example, passphrases are much harder for hackers to correctly guess than a password.’
3. Regularly Backing Up Your Systems: Ransomware remains ones of the top cybersecurity threats. Businesses must frequently back up their systems and all of the data within them. Whether you store your company data in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid data center, you need to back up your files to hard drives and secure it in a safe place. Many businesses find the cloud helpful for that purpose, because it allows instant back-up and fundamental security protection, Small Business Computing
4. Layer your security: Security needs to be an ongoing process and not just a single event, said Marc Malizia, chief technology officer for cloud solutions provider RKON Technologies. The best security consists of a layered approach, to secure your operating systems, you should perform ongoing tests for vulnerabilities and penetration by hackers, Malizia advised. He also recommended installing specializedsecurity software to look out for abnormal web traffic, block attempted logins from out-of-the-ordinary locations or unknown devices, and authenticate your online activities in real time by correlating behavioral analysis, device profiling and data feeds from fraud networks. Finally, businesses should layer in application firewalls in front of external-facing web servers to further block malicious traffic, Malizia said.
5. Create a mobile device action plan: FFC, a U.S. government agency suggests requiring users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks.
Deputy Administrator at SBA, Doug Kramer warns, “The threat of cyber intrusion and theft is very real. Small businesses measure assets and inventory in different ways, but they sit on a treasure trove of information.” Therefore, implementing effective cyber security measures is just as important for small businesses as large ones.
Have more essential cybersecurity tips to add? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by DFGR Research Team – www.dfgr-ltd.com