Cybersecurity is now a top priority for businesses of all sizes. Recent stats show how the cost of cybercrime has risen considerably over the last ten years and will rise to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. Small businesses alone faced more than 700,000 attacks in 2020, which resulted in damages amounting to $2.28 billion.
Understandably, small businesses have a lower budget to invest in cybersecurity than their larger counterparts. This means they have to look for ways to reinforce their defenses without overstretching their budgets. Here are five helpful cybersecurity tips for small businesses.
1. Make sure you have all the essential tools needed to safeguard your network
Having the right cybersecurity tools in place is crucial for small businesses. Obviously, you should ensure you have a robust firewall. This type of software is crucial to keep unauthorized users from accessing your network. Your operating system probably comes with its own firewall already, but feel free to compare its effectiveness with other ones available on the market.
Good antivirus software is also paramount. It will help defend your business against malicious software. Some antivirus solutions are completely free, a great option for small entrepreneurs with a limited budget.
Another step you should consider taking is installing a VPN. This term stands for Virtual Private Network and refers to a technology that establishes an encrypted connection between two networks. Secured VPNs provide extra privacy while you surf the web and help you protect confidential data.
Also, don’t forget to back up your computers regularly! This way, you can easily restore your data in case of loss.
2. Implement effective access control solutions to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing your computers
Cybersecurity and physical security cannot be entirely disconnected, as many people wrongly assume. A cyberattack may start from an unauthorized individual gaining access to the premises and getting hold of the company’s passwords, which hackers can then use to steal data and damage the company financially or reputationally.
Your small business must implement solid access control measures to prevent such occurrences. Some basic entry solutions include door access keypad devices, fob readers, and card readers. More advanced solutions include biometric readers and MFA (multi-factor authentic) processes.
3. Use password managers
Password managers are another affordable tool that is often overlooked, and that can significantly boost the level of cybersecurity in your small business. By using a password manager, you can safely store data in an encrypted environment. This allows you to log in to your accounts without having to remember several complex passwords.
This allows them to easily generate strong, unique passwords that are more difficult for hackers to discover. Password managers are also helpful for storing financial information, like your credit card number.
Businesses can also use password managers to share passwords securely with employees and collaborators. This will help ensure that only authorized individuals have access.
4. Train your employees on how to detect common cyber attacks
Cybersecurity training is another important activity that small businesses should not overlook. When employees are properly informed about common cyber attacks and the right way to respond to them, the risk the company will suffer from one of these attacks diminishes significantly.
Employees should be trained on basic concepts, like recognizing phishing emails, staying clear of online scams, and choosing strong passwords for their accounts.
If you have the budget for it, you should consider providing full courses on topics such as malware detection, network security protocols, and incident response plans.
You could also consider setting up a reward system for employees who demonstrate a good grasp of cybersecurity practices and have helped businesses identify and prevent cybersecurity breaches and other attacks.
In addition to initial training in the onboarding phase, employees should also receive frequent updates on the latest developments in cybersecurity, including new threats to look out for and how to counter them best.
5. Get cyber liability insurance
This form of insurance can help a small business cover the cost of losses resulting from data breaches and other cyber attacks. These costs can be considerably high, and small businesses may find themselves in a very difficult financial situation without the right insurance plan.
Cyber liability insurance has become very popular in recent years. Predictions suggest that the market for this kind of insurance will grow from $7.60 billion in 2021 to $20.43 billion within the next six years. It is important that your policy safeguards all digital properties of your enterprise and provides protection for both first-party losses (e.g., system damage, data destruction, etc.) and third-party losses (e.g., customer reimbursement, legal expenses, etc.).
It’s important to be aware of any exclusion that may exist in your policy and understand with accuracy what is not covered. Moreover, you should review your existing policy regularly and make the necessary changes when needed. This will insulate you from the risk of new, evolving threats.