“9 Basic Cybersecurity Rules for Small and Medium Business”
Businesses of all sizes and anywhere on the planet can reach new and larger markets because of the power of the internet. The enablement is also the opportunity to work more efficiently using computer-based tools. Whatever the level of adoption, be it cloud computing or just using email, having a presence on social media and maintaining a website, cybersecurity must be a part of the plan. It should originate right at the ecosystem. Digital information stealing has become the most commonly reported crime, even surpassing physical theft. Therefore, every business that uses Internet is responsible for creating a culture of security that will improve client and other stakeholders’ confidence.
Cyberthreats are not just an issue for big corporations and governments; small and medium businesses are in fact easy targets. Research(Kaspersky.com, 2020) suggests that 22% of small businesses have been the targets of cyberattacks. Small and medium businesses (SMB’s) host data that are transactional and owned by the consumer. These data sets are very exposed due to risks with new digital capabilities and technologies in the workplace. When data is breached it presents small businesses as unreliable partners, forcing their consumers to change suppliers.
The most common mistakes that SMBs make is to assume that they are not at risk. Breaches occur because of this false assumption, leaving out basic preventative measures, and the false confidence that they can manage everything on their own, and failing to invest in a reliable security system. The best defense is a good offense, and SMBs should be aggressive in finding solutions that reinforce their security. Tarnishing business brand reputation isn’t a choice therefore size of the business doesn’t really matter.
Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyberthreats
Since we have established that it is important to protect your business from malicious attacks, here is a brief guide on how small and medium business owners can traverse the world of cyberthreats. CyberPal (Cyber Security Marketplace) is quite a useful tool that can help small businesses establish their cyber security strategy by providing them insights about solutions for all their cyber security needs. – www.cyberpalapp.com
- Train Employees (End-User Education/ Awareness)
The human is usually the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Employees can leave your business vulnerable to an attack. Strengthening this chain can reduces the chances of a vulnerability transforming into an actual breach. Research shows that 43% of data loss arise from internal employees who either maliciously or out of carelessness give cybercriminals access to your networks. Training topics to cover include – Spotting a phishing email; Using good browsing practices; Avoiding suspicious downloads; Creating strong passwords; and Protecting sensitive customer and vendor information. Several scenarios could result in employee-initiated attacks. Such as an employee losing a work laptop or divulging login credentials. They can also include opening attachments in fraudulent emails, which eventually deploys viruses on the corporate network. Nonetheless, protecting against threats from within requires the investing in cybersecurity training for every employee.
Perform a Risk Assessment
SMBs should not be negligent when it comes to evaluating potential risks that might compromise the security of their networks, systems and information. Identifying and analyzing possible threats can help them formulate a plan to plug any gaps in security. The result of this effort should be used to develop or refine the security strategy. The security strategy must be reviewed regularly.
Acquire a Suitable Endpoint Security Solution
Selecting an antivirus solution falls among the post risk assessment activities. The appropriate solution should protect all business and personal devices allowed on the network from viruses, spyware, ransomware and phishing scams. Ensure that the software not only offers protection, but also technology that helps you clean computers as needed and resets them to their pre-infected state.
Keep Software Updated / patched.
Every software that is used to in running the business must be up to date. Every piece of software is updated with regularity to strengthen it or add patches that close coding loopholes hackers and other malicious actors can exploit. Any third-party software must also be validated as supply chain attacks are quite common.
Secure your networks
Safeguard your Internet connection by using a next-gen firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).
Use Strong Passwords
Passwords protect access to the router. Using strong passwords is an easy way to improve your cybersecurity. Be sure to use different passwords for your different accounts. Set a reminder by default on your PC to change passwords once every 3-6 months. A strong password includes:
- 10 characters or more
- At least one uppercase letter
- At least one lowercase letter
- At least one number
- At least one special character
- Multifactor Authentication
Multifactor authentication requires additional information (e.g., a security code sent to your phone) to log in. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.
Back Up Your Files Regularly
Create regular backups of all business and transaction related information. The deleting or compromise of your data as a result of a cyberattack or otherwise can lead to serious disruption of business services. Given the amount of data you might store on laptops and cell phones, most businesses wouldn’t be able to function. This is why it is required to have a reliable backup service that automatically copies your files to storage. In the event of an attack, you can restore all of your files from your backups. Choose a Disaster Recovery (DR) program that gives you the ability to schedule or automate the backup process, so you don’t have to remember to do it. Good practice is to store copies of backups offline, so they don’t become encrypted or inaccessible if your system suffers a ransomware attack. Test it once a year at least.
Control physical access
Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
Attacks can take many different shapes and forms, from a simple computer virus to a massive data breach. One way to protect your business is by hiring or appointing specific employees to monitor data security and privacy and look out for attacks. Another way is to acquire simple plug in solutions that can be easily monitored by the providers and yourself.
CyberPal offers the opportunity to qualify, compare and select the cyber solution that really works for your business. Its only three simple steps and can be done in few minutes. They provide these insights using their Base Rating System which is a combination of peer insights, Ai based proprietary algorithm and analysts driven research. This means you do not necessarily have to join the bandwagon effect in selecting a solution without having prior knowledge.
Kaspersky.com. (2020). Retrieved 2 March 2020, from https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/preemptive-safety/small-business-cyber-security