4 Tips for SMBs to Help Minimize Cybersecurity Risks
Description – With more and more of our sensitive data stored online, it’s more important than ever that businesses are prepared for cybersecurity risks. We highlight four ways that small businesses can protect themselves and their clients’ information online.
Cybersecurity threats present serious dangers to society in the modern world. Using sophisticated malware and virus attacks, hackers and criminal organizations can interfere with vital technological systems. For instance, a cybersecurity attack could intercept data held by government offices or interfere with flights or rocket launches, like the recent Firefly Launch. Meanwhile, cybersecurity threats in healthcare could see millions of patients have their data and records lost or exposed.
Cybersecurity breaches do not only pose a threat to large businesses or state organizations, however. Many SMBs (small and mid-sized businesses) are targeted by hackers each year. What’s more, SMBs tend to have less secure networks that are easier to breach. They also do not always have the resources to put towards expensive cybersecurity programs that larger organizations use.
However, even without this, there are some things that SMBs can do to protect themselves. HR procedures, such as properly training staff and forcing password changes, are excellent places to start. Here’s where to begin if you want to create a cybersecurity framework for your small business.
4 Ways to Protect Your SMB From Cybersecurity Breaches
Teach IT Literacy and Cybersecurity Awareness
One of the top cybersecurity threats in 2021 comes in the form of phishing emails. Phishing scams can be surprisingly sophisticated and are not always easy to detect. What can seem like an innocent link or attachment could really contain dangerous malware. What’s worse, if your company is subjected to one of these breaches, it could do serious damage to your company’s reputation and revenue. Cybersecurity attacks can leak client data, leaving the company at risk of legal action and an irretrievable hit to its profits.
Phishing scams are particularly scary because they adapt all the time. Employees may click on an email about Covid-19, assuming it is a company email, only to find it is an attack. Phishing emails are not always outdated or obvious. In fact, they may seem highly relevant to the employee, even zeroing in on very recent events or unique pieces of employee information. Companies can improve their security regarding phishing emails by ensuring that employees are regularly briefed on online safety.
Insist on Secure Passwords
Strong passwords are a key factor in reducing the risk from cybersecurity threats. Companies can go a long way towards protecting themselves by insisting that employees meet certain password requirements. Passwords should include a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters, as well as letters in both upper and lower case.
Employers can also minimize cybersecurity risks by forcing employees to change passwords every six months or so. You can implement these types of strategies via an automated online system. This will allow employees to receive a prompt to let them know that they must update their login details. This can significantly reduce the risk of old passwords becoming insecure or of employees accidentally revealing or misplacing passwords or leaving them somewhere that they could be intercepted.
Manage Secure Endpoints
Any device that’s connected to the internet through your company’s network can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. This can even be a problem with smart devices, such as a smart kettle or heating source if the connection to these devices is not properly secured. This can lead to data breaches and system malfunctions that take place while employees are still not even sure what is happening.
Ensuring that your wi-fi is totally secure is the first step in preventing this type of attack. However, if you have remote employees, you could also invest in a VPN to ensure security when out of the office. You should also create strict policies about working out of the office on personal devices, as this can be a serious cybersecurity risk.
Any office devices, such as phones and tablets that employees use to work away, should also be fully secured at all times. If you have the infrastructure to do so, you could even hire a cybersecurity analyst to assess your systems and ensure your connectivity network is airtight. This should be a priority long-term and will help protect your company, your employees, and your clients.
Store Information on the Cloud
Cloud storage is a great, secure option for many businesses. Many legitimate Cloud programs, such as Google Drive, update themselves regularly, ensuring that your data is kept secure. This can be easier to manage than constantly running updates yourself. Cloud services also provide great recovery and backup options, protecting you from the risk of data loss if your systems are brought down by an attack.
This can be particularly useful for small businesses as many Cloud programs are free or cheap to use. It also takes the pressure off you when you’re managing things solo. In this sense, Cloud software is a good investment for your business. You should also make sure that you combine this with antivirus and antimalware systems for maximum protection.
Cybersecurity news updates all the time, and it’s important to stay on top of this if you run a business. Investing in better online security systems will help protect your business in the long term and ensure that your client’s data is kept safe. If you have the resources, a cybersecurity salary for an expert can also be a good investment and can help keep your organization protected. When it comes to safety online, it’s always better to be prepared.
Final Call: How do you ensure that your business is protected from online threats? Share your tips in the comments!
Emily Moore is an English & programming teacher with a passion for space and blogging. She believes that current exploration should be focused on preserving our planet’s resources. With satellites circling the orbit, it is easier to get relevant data on any environmental changes. This, in turn, should help people quickly address any challenges.