Improving Cybersecurity at Your Small Business

Last Updated:
June 12, 2024
Author:
Mike

Improving Cybersecurity at Your Small Business

Many small business owners fail to recognize the cybersecurity threats their businesses may face. They might think that cybercriminals only target large corporations or just be unaware of some of the risks present in the current landscape. It is only after an incident that they realize they should have done more towards improving cybersecurity and protect their data and online systems. By then, the attack may have already caused financial, operational, or reputational damage.

Fortunately, there is a lot small businesses can do to protect against online threats. However, you won’t find one single measure that protects your business from everything. Instead, cybersecurity requires a range of tools and practices. This post will explore some critical steps small businesses can take to protect against cybersecurity threats.

Assess Your Risks

Performing a cybersecurity risk assessment is a good place to start. It is a way to identify the risks to which your organization is exposed. Begin by mapping out all your digital assets, including hardware, software, and data. Evaluate the impact and likelihood of various risks, such as data breaches, malware attacks, and insider threats. Prioritize these risks based on their severity and potential impact on your organization.

You’ll also want to assess your current behaviors and practices that may impact cybersecurity. Consider factors like how employees access online systems and how you interact with customers or clients online. In many cases, human error or oversight are the points of failure as it concerns cybersecurity incidents.

Review All Software

The many software tools you use can create risk for your business. Conduct an inventory of all software applications and systems used at your company. Ensure that each piece of software is up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Set up automated updates where possible to streamline this process.

Some businesses may want to consider software consulting services when implementing new systems. These professionals can help your organization review different software programs and their security. This will ensure that any new software not only serves its purpose within the organization but that it is also secure. They can also provide advice for maintaining security with various software tools.

Use Antivirus Protection

It might seem basic, but antivirus protection can be one of the smartest steps to improving cybersecurity and protect against many of the most common threats. Choose a reputable antivirus solution that offers comprehensive protection, including real-time scanning and threat detection. Install the antivirus on all devices and regularly updated to recognize the latest threats. Many of the popular antivirus providers offer plans and tools designed for businesses.

Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

An unsecured local network can be one of the biggest threats to a small business. It leaves the potential for a criminal to infiltrate the Wi-Fi network. From there, they could access your systems in several ways. Start by changing the default router login credentials to strong, unique passwords. You might also want to hide your SSID to make the network less visible to intruders. Businesses should also change the administrator login credentials on the router and regularly check for firmware updates.

Implement Ransomware Protection

Small businesses should consider ransomware protection for sensitive or critical data and systems. Ransomware attacks involve blocking access to data or computer systems. For example, a virus might encrypt all the data in your computer system. The criminals then demand payment in order to restore access to the data.

Many antivirus programs now come with ransomware protection, so you’ll want to ensure yours has it. However, even the best protection could get beat by a new or novel attack. The best way to protect against that is to have all your data and systems backed up. That way you can restore everything from the backups in the event of a ransomware attack.

Employee Account and Password Policies

You should also consider how you handle accounts for various systems and software services at your business. To start, every employee should have their own account for each software tool or system they use. Account sharing can increase the risk of a system being compromised. Implement access management protocols to ensure each employee only has access to the data or systems they need.

Along with that, you should develop a password policy for accounts. Require strong passwords for each account. Prohibit the reuse of passwords for multiple accounts as well. Small businesses should also consider the use of multi-factor authentication and password managers. The policy should also include regularly changing passwords for accounts.

Cybersecurity Training

As was mentioned before, the human element can often be the biggest vulnerability. That means you should develop cybersecurity training for your employees. Teach them about the password policy and how to create strong passwords. Create security protocols for using various systems and train employees on the security tools you use. You should also teach them about common cyber threats, such as phishing and imposter scams. Teach them how to identify suspicious emails and websites, and emphasize the importance of never sharing sensitive information unless verified.

As a final tip, it is important to remember that improving cybersecurity is an ongoing practice. Regularly review your cybersecurity and stay aware of the latest threats. Update your systems, training, and practices as needed.

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