Think your business is too small for a cyberattack? You couldn’t be more wrong. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, at 43% almost half of all attacks were on small businesses. Moreover, 4iQ, a cyber security firm in its 2019 Identity Breach Report stated that attacks on small businesses increased by 424% in 2018. What’s worse is that according to InsuranceBee’s Cyber Survey, 83% of small businesses lack the funds to deal with the aftermath of a cyberattack.
With statistics like these, it’s not a matter of if but when a small business will be attacked. There are several ways small businesses can safeguard from potential threats and it would be impossible to list them all in one blog. So, in this blog we attempt to provide some basic cyber security tips for small businesses in order to reduce risks of a cyberattack.
Most small businesses lack an understanding of cybersecurity. No doubt the term can be overwhelming but diving deep into it is not required. Rather, understanding basic threat vectors and how your business is susceptible to an attack is what you should gain awareness about. Threats can come via phishing emails, passwords, SMS, human errors, employee devices and several other channels. Knowing about potential threats can help you develop defenses around them and safeguard your assets. Equally important is to educate employees about the cybersecurity threat landscape. You can read more about emerging cyber security risks in this blog.
Keep up-to-date anti-virus software
Without a solid up-to-date anti-virus software, businesses are simply put, inviting trouble. Ant-viruses are an important first line defense especially for small to medium sized businesses that don’t have huge budgets for data protection. Several well-known vendors provide a variety of anti-virus solutions for businesses on a budget. And although anti-viruses alone won’t necessarily protect against any and all attacks, they are good at detecting potential threats and raising an alarm before it’s too late.
Two-factor authentication solutions are increasingly being used by businesses big and small. Doing so provides an additional layer of security as opposed to a single password approach. In addition to entering a password, it requires users to enter a unique code provided to them through their phone or an external app. This lowers the likelihood of theft, phishing emails and log-in compromises. Passwords can be weak and easily hacked into. Two-factor authentication requires two different keys to gain access to your account, significantly making it harder for hackers to gain access to.
Regularly Install Patches
Patch management is updating or patching every IT component of a business that includes laptops, desktops, cell phones, firewalls, routers, operating systems, servers, etc. The benefit of regularly installing patches is two-fold. One, it secures your IT network and two, it ensures optimal system performance. A recent Ponemon research study found that 57% of security breaches were a result of poor patch management making it extremely crucial. Many cyberattacks are a result of common vulnerabilities that could be easily addressed by an effective patch management system.
Conduct regular back ups
No matter what size of business, every business stores large amounts of critical data on computers and servers. This makes backing up data on a regular basis important for functionality. Data back-ups give you peace of mind that in the event of an attack, your data is secure and accessible. A good back-up strategy would include a local copy, an on-site copy, and an off-site copy. Back-up software can also be utilized and can help you create a single central management system.
It’s no surprise that small and medium sized businesses are attractive targets to hackers mainly because they are unprepared for an attack. Unlike big businesses that have big budgets to safeguard their IT infrastructure, small businesses pay little to no attention to data security mainly due to costs. Cybersecurity, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive endeavor. Implementing the above-mentioned cyber security tips for small businesses if not complete, should give you some level of protection which is at least a start.