Cybersecurity Measures for Your Small Business

Businesses are increasingly at risk of compromise from cyber attacks. Small businesses are no exception to this. Small businesses are often at greater risk of severe negative consequences resulting from cybersecurity breaches. This is because they often have fewer cybersecurity resources, as well as less capital to manage damages.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, reported losses related to cybercrime exceeded $4.2 billion in 2020. With this in mind, business professionals need to take substantial preventative measures regarding cybersecurity.

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How to Protect Your Small Business From Cyber Threats

To protect your business from cyber threats, it is important to first develop a comprehensive cybersecurity plan.

Additionally, it is important to have multiple, redundant cybersecurity measures in place, and to update these measures regularly.

Cyber threats are always evolving, and therefore savvy business professionals should stay apprised of cybersecurity updates and apply them as needed.

Update Your Policies

As mentioned, a renewed focus on cybersecurity should begin by developing a new cybersecurity plan. Typically, an effective approach for developing a cybersecurity plan includes the following steps:

  • Review any existing policies and procedures related to cybersecurity.
  • Take stock of existing resources available to dedicate to cybersecurity measures.
  • Determine who should be in charge of managing and enforcing cybersecurity measures.
  • Create a specific and actionable plan related to cybersecurity.
  • Acquire additional cybersecurity resources as needed.
  • Hire additional personnel or outsource as needed.
  • Outline specific policies and procedures for employees to refer to.
  • Train personnel as needed in accordance with updated policies and procedures.
  • Develop a review process for cybersecurity measures.
  • Review and update cybersecurity measures regularly.

However, a solid foundation of good policy will not be enough if you don’t have seasoned professionals to uphold it.

Have a Reliable IT Resource

Reliable IT professionals and resources are the bedrock of a good cybersecurity system. Time and resources in this area should take priority. Your first major decision to make will be whether you want to hire or up-train an in-house cybersecurity team, outsource to a third party, or establish a hybrid system. In the latter case, major adjustments and ongoing monitoring procedures would be handled by the third party, while small updates and policy enforcement would be handled by the in-house team.

To choose reliable cybersecurity professionals, you should take the following measures:

  • Ask for credentials.
  • Do a background check.
  • Seek out reviews from other people they have worked for.
  • Test them on pertinent knowledge.
  • Review their performance.

It is also important that you set your IT team up for success by ensuring that they have the quality software they need to make their work count.

Invest in the Right Software

Even with fantastic IT personnel, your cybersecurity system will be flawed if you don’t have the appropriate software installed. When updating your cybersecurity system, it may be helpful to enlist the help of a professional to assess what software you should acquire or update.

Typically, a business will need a range of software to successfully manage its cybersecurity needs, such as network monitoring solutions, firewalls, and antivirus software. It can be difficult for the average business professional to identify all areas of opportunity for improvement in their cybersecurity system without assistance.

Generally, the process of updating cybersecurity software should include the following steps:

  • Reviewing and updating existing software;
  • Consulting a professional about areas for improvement;
  • Integrating software;
  • Acquiring software that supports outsourced security as needed;
  • Updating hardware to support new software;
  • Creating an update schedule;
  • Creating a manual review process.

Once you have updated your policies and acquired the necessary resources to back them up, it is important to focus on communicating with your team about these changes.

Communicate With Your Staff

When you create any sort of sweeping change to policies and procedures, everyone in the company must be on the same page. The compliance of all personnel will greatly benefit cybersecurity, even if they are not directly involved in cybersecurity maintenance and management. Adherence to measures such as bring-your-own-device policies can greatly reduce the risk of security breaches.

Many cybersecurity issues are related to unintentional exposure of information through employees. As such, ensuring that they are well-informed of potential security risks and are trained to uphold cybersecurity protocols is a key aspect of cybersecurity. It is important to not only ensure that your employees are aware of general risks and precautions, but also those that are specific to your unique business operations.

Require Strong Passwords and Multifactor Authentication

According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report, compromised passwords account for 81% of data breaches. A combination of powerful passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a highly effective way of combating these cyberattacks.

Previously, the received wisdom was that companies should have employees update passwords regularly. However, in 2020 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published an update to the Digital Identity Guidelines recommending a cessation to password-update requirements. This is because users’ new passwords are often incredibly easy for hackers to crack since users tend to only slightly modify their original passwords.

Urge your employees to start with long passwords containing secretive words that mean something to them personally. Have them vary up passwords a great deal on all accounts. Enable multi-factor authentication for each account. And finally, keep cybersecurity software updated, even as access to that software is anchored by strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.

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