It’s not too late to start thinking about cybersecurity if you are a small business! The year 2020 made cybersecurity a crucial procedure; COVID-19 has made remote work a reality, and one that may stay for the unforeseeable future.
COVID-19 has increased every business’s dependency on technology as they use cloud-based data storage and have more interactions on sensitive business matters online. Do not be under the impression that a small business may not seem very attractive for a hacker to attack – it is more about the personal data they could get out of it!
While everyone tries to understand the way working from home is supposed to be like, network security might be the last thing on their minds. This is very dangerous for every business out there, because using personal networks to work might put the whole organization at risk!
For this very reason, a small business should consider the cybersecurity risks that come with employees operating remotely, if they’re going to do so for quite some time. Small businesses are surprisingly quite prone to online attacks; CNBC has confirmed that around 43% of cyberattacks are on small businesses, and only 14% of them have been able to defend themselves.
Now, one wouldn’t want their business to fall under these statistics! You simply need to take a few measures to ward off cyberattacks and keep the hackers away from your servers. If you are considering proper cybersecurity measures, you are already on the right track. Let’s discuss some of the measures in detail!
6 Steps Business Should Take Now for Stealthy Cybersecurity
Use Strong Credentials for Passwords
Data breaches of the past have confirmed that around eighty percent of all the cyberattacks have been because of weak credentials – and that is a huge number to simply ignore!
It’s crucial, at this rate, to make your employees understand the risk of not following password protection protocol. Even if you think that your company passwords are strong and are being regularly updated, you might need to ensure that your employees follow the industry’s best practices for passwords.
The protocol for industry best practices for passwords suggests that a company should keep different passwords for every application or website. Not only this, but the passwords should be a random combination of letters, numbers, symbols, and passphrases as well – company passwords are not supposed to be short.
It is also recommended for a small business to use a password manager like LastPass or 1Password, which will help to reduce the challenge of having your employees remember the passwords as well. We all know that the last thing our company needs is an employee using loosely placed sticky notes to remember important company passwords!
Understand the Importance of Patching and Updating Schedules
Unpatched devices can become a big problem for every business, be it small or large. Everything starting from our business printers and scanners to phones and smartwatches is connected to the internet in a bundle of Internet of Things (IoT) – the more devices, the more points of potential entry by an attacker in the server.
For this very reason, it’s essential to remain committed to a trend of patching and updating in order to ensure that every device that has been connected to your network isn’t a sensitive barrier to break. A managed IT service can also be a recommendation, where you can let a third-party manage your routine network updates and administration – this will help you divert your focus on other areas of importance.
Train Employees Against Cybersecurity
It’s fair to assume that your employees may not even know what they would have to deal with if the business gets attacked by a hacker. Plus, it’s easier to attack an employee who doesn’t know if he’s being attacked or not!
Let us elaborate: with the concerns related to spearphishing, it’s easy to fool the employee into letting sensitive data come into the hands of a hacker. An employee needs to know what suspicious activity looks like before he can take action against it. For this reason, it’s important to conduct training and seminars on this problem.
Even with the best proxy services for businesses deployed, you cannot create a security system that is unable to break into, but you can train your employees enough to ward off the chances of a hacker getting into the systems by doing damage control before anything really happens.
If you think training is a bit expensive, do keep in mind that a typical data breach might cost you, as a small business, around $200,000! Don’t you think it’s better to spend a little of that money to train your employees against cyberattacks and save up this money in the long run?
Use Managed IT Services Provider
Every business knows that managing, securing, and ensuring proper workability of the network is one of the major tasks of IT departments. While you may believe it’s not too important to do so, hiring a third-party IT services provider might be quite beneficial for the business!
These experts know exactly what to do and when to do it. Network security is what they specialize in, and this will help your small business get the resources it requires to keep cyberattacks at bay. Network connectivity, device updates and patching, and threat detection; this will be the job of this third-party, and these experts will take good care of your servers too.
If you have your own IT team, you can have these people focus elsewhere; for example, this team can be used to consider your small business’ existing technology and giving your business a competitive edge without having to worry about network security. This will help them use their own resources to change the way technology works in your business and make processes more efficient as well.
Run a Cybersecurity Audit
It’s very important to know where your business stands in terms of cybersecurity. Right after the entire work environment has been shifted to remote means, it might be in your business’ best interest to conduct a full cybersecurity health assessment.
A cybersecurity health assessment will help your business to identify the gaps in your servers and networks or any potential ways for an information breach to take place. You can conduct vulnerability scans over new systems or networks to find out if there are any weaknesses in them.
In the event of devices being stolen or lost, there should also be a proper incident response plan which will help the business eradicate the data in such devices or give them enough time to change important passwords and again, do damage control.
Don’t Delay Actions!
If you’re reading this article, you must definitely be thinking about cybersecurity, but don’t think for too long! If your small business has also went completely remote after considering the COVID-19 concerns, you need to take action against cyberattacks and prevent it.
You need to start taking measures to ensure that neither you nor your team is inadvertently exposing sensitive business data using their home networks. This is very important to consider, because COVID-19 is the new normal, and so will be cyberattacks if small businesses do not take adequate measures to avoid this from happening.
As mentioned in the scenarios above, cybersecurity has become very important for every business to consider. While small businesses might be more vulnerable to such attacks, it would only be for the best to take certain steps and save yourself from any troubles in the future!