Protect Your Small Business From Cybersecurity Threats

Protect Your Small Business From Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity threats continue to be a major problem for small businesses. According to the Accenture cybercrime study, nearly 43% of all cyberattacks are on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), but only 14% of SMBs are prepared.

However, it’s an easier problem to fix than you might believe, as 95% of cyberattacks can be attributed to human error. To protect your small business, you need to understand some cybersecurity essentials and implement them sooner rather than later.

Understanding the
Cyberthreat Landscape

For small businesses, you need to be aware of the types of cyberthreats. For example, there are phishing attacks, in which the attacker sends a fraudulent email from a supposedly reputable source to acquire sensitive information. Then there’s malware, which is software designed to gain authorized access to a system and damage it from within. Small businesses also have to contend with ransomware attacks, which are similar to malware, except the attacker blocks access to the system until the business pays a sum of money.

When hit by these cyberattacks, small businesses can suffer more than just a loss of productivity for a day or two. Personal data is a common target in cyberattacks, accounting for 45% of all data breaches in 2021. Experiencing a data breach can have significant long-term consequences for a small business. According to a study by global policy think tank RAND, 11% of consumers stopped dealing with a company after a data breach, while another 23% stayed but gave the company less business than before.

Cybersecurity Fundamentals

You need to implement a few fundamentals to protect your small business from cybersecurity threats. Instituting basic policies within your organization can significantly reduce risks, as 43% of all data breaches are caused by insiders, whether on purpose or not.

For one, ensure that you have strong authentication methods throughout your business. This includes requiring strong passwords and using two-factor authentication whenever possible. It’s also important to regularly update your software, ensuring you have the latest security patches. Finally, you should have a secure network setup, as this is a common entry point for attackers.

Implementing a Cybersecurity Plan

Before implementing the cybersecurity fundamentals throughout your business, you’ll want to develop a cybersecurity plan. A cybersecurity plan outlines your steps and helps you devise a comprehensive plan from the start. Some of the steps within your cybersecurity plan should include:

  • Performing a thorough risk assessment to identify vulnerabilities and potential threats
  • Creating clear security policies that align with any regulatory requirements
  • Providing employee training on new security programs and how to identify threats
  • Implementing cybersecurity software tools, including firewalls, antivirus software, and file encryption
  • Scheduling frequent security audits and threat assessments

Data Protection and Backup Strategies

Protecting your data is one of the most important cybersecurity steps you can take as a small business owner. Many businesses have sensitive data, such as customer, financial, and product information. Should someone gain access to your data, it could cause significant, not to mention legal, problems for your business.

To start, you’ll want strong encryption in place. This includes using algorithms such as Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for data stored on your system and Transport Layer Security (TLS) for any data you send/receive. You’ll also want access controls in place, which limits data access only to authorized users.

Lastly, creating a reliable backup of your data is a good idea. A reliable backup will allow you to continue working in a cybersecurity attack that damages or deletes your data. Create a disaster recovery plan for your business, which includes storing a copy of your data somewhere secure, regularly updating this copy with the latest information, and having procedures in place to restore your data using this backup quickly.

Responding to Cybersecurity Incidents

To minimize the damage, it is important to respond to a cybersecurity incident quickly and effectively. This starts by being able to detect the signs of a security breach. Common signs include unusual patterns or spikes in network traffic, unauthorized access listed within logs, phishing emails, or strange software/hardware behavior.

Once you suspect a cybersecurity incident, immediately isolate any affected systems, as this can prevent the attack’s spread. You should then work with an IT security professional to assess the situation and determine the best action. You’ll also want to notify relevant stakeholders, such as employees or customers, of the incident. A cybersecurity response plan in place should be in place so that you can react quickly rather than spend time determining what to do if an incident occurs.

Defend Your Dream Against Modern-Day Threats

Don’t let cybersecurity threats damage what you’ve worked so hard to build. While small businesses remain a popular target for cyberattacks, you can protect your business assets and data from the worst attacks with some proactive steps. Talk with cybersecurity professionals today about how to guard your business against cyberthreats.

 

Content created and provided by Extu.