Cybersecurity is one of the most important topics in today’s business world. Cyberattacks have increased exponentially over the past few years, and cybersecurity experts predict that this trend will only continue to grow. This means that your data security has never been more crucial than it is now. But how can you protect yourself? That’s why we put together a list of cybersecurity tips for small businesses.
We hope these cybersecurity tips help you out.
1. Have Clear Security Protocols in Place
One of the most important things you can do to protect your business from cybersecurity threats is to have clear security protocols. This might seem like a no-brainer, but many businesses don’t actually take this step. It’s easy to think that you know how best to protect yourself from cybersecurity threats but then end up taking steps that make your company more vulnerable than it needs to be.
Sit down and write out a step-by-step plan for what to do in the case of a cybersecurity threat.
Some of the things to think about include:
- Which information is sensitive
- Who are your biggest threats
- What to do if a cybersecurity threat occurs, and what not to do
- Who’s responsible for handling cybersecurity threats
- What tools you’ll use to handle cybersecurity threats
Make sure you communicate these protocols to all employees, and that they understand exactly what is expected of them when a cybersecurity threat does arise.
2. Limit Administrator Access
Most employees in your business will need access to a computer or device that gives them administrative privileges. However, this doesn’t mean everyone should be an administrator on all computers or devices.
Administrators have full rights and access to the system and any stored information. This makes it easier for someone to delete everything if they wanted to.
You can make sure you’re not opening yourself up to these kinds of cybersecurity threats by being smart about what people are allowed access to.
Also, limiting access rights will reduce damage caused by hackers in case an employee’s account is compromised. If a hacker has access only to certain websites or information, they won’t do as much damage overall.
3. Train Employees About Online Scams
Another important step you can take is training your employees about online scams and how to avoid them. There are many different kinds of cybersecurity threats out there, but one thing most of them have in common is that they rely on people being more trusting than they should be.
You need to ensure that all of your employees know the types of scams that exist and what steps to take if a cybersecurity threat does happen.
One of the most common ways hackers use to penetrate systems is by email. Phishing emails are some of the most common, where hackers send emails pretending to come from a certain place or person. Emails like this usually have a link in them, and once you click on it, it will prompt you to enter your login information.
Most people think they’re safe if they don’t fall for these scams and don’t enter their data. But other things can happen even if you aren’t tricked by phishing emails.
Always make sure that when an email is addressed to you (even if it comes from someone you know), take some time to verify who actually sent the email before doing anything else. Also, make sure not to ever open any attachments sent via email unless you know exactly who sent the attachment or you’re 100% sure it’s safe to open.
4. Outsource To Professionals
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from cybersecurity threats is outsourcing your security needs to professionals. It can be tempting to try and do everything in-house, but unless you have a lot of experience in cybersecurity, it’s best not to try and handle any threats on your own.
Most businesses don’t have enough time or resources to deal with every single threat that comes up. That’s why hiring third-party cyber experts will help you out. They can take care of all kinds of things for you, including:
- Providing security audits
- Protecting the network from malware Setting up firewalls
- Choosing appropriate passwords
- Monitoring systems for signs of problems
- Analyzing user behavior and
- Conducting regular employee training
Outsourcing these kinds of tasks to a third party can be expensive for your business, but when you consider the cost and time required to do it on your own, this is completely offset.
Ensure that the company you hire uses the best possible methods to protect your systems against cybersecurity threats. While it’s tempting to save money by going with someone who doesn’t have as much experience or training, this could end up costing you even more in the long run.
5. Cyber Security Insurance Coverage
Do you have cybersecurity insurance coverage? While it’s never a good idea to rely on something like this as your only line of defense against cybersecurity threats, having an insurance policy in place can help with any related damages.
For example, if someone gets access to your systems and causes damage or loss, cyber insurance will protect you from those costs. It’s important to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered by your policy.
So make sure you take the time to look over and understand everything before signing anything.
Common policies cover loss of data, identity theft, breach of customer information, and protection from ransomware attacks. You’ll also want to make sure that you can have someone review your policies for potential gaps every year to ensure you’re still protected if a new threat comes up.
6. Encrypt for Data Protection
Encrypting your data can be an extremely effective way to make sure that no one can break into sensitive parts of your systems. This includes things like:
- User credentials
- Account numbers or access information
- Confidential business documents or files
Encryption works by scrambling the data so that it’s not readable at first. But once someone has a certain number, they will be able to go in and unscramble the data again.
For this method to work, you need some keys that only authorized individuals have access to. You can set up something like this with asymmetric encryption, where two keys are required for it to work: One public key and one private key (which needs to stay protected) for decrypting the data.
The best part about this is that it’s effortless to use and implement, so you don’t have to worry about breaking anything or making a mistake with it. The worst thing that happens is that someone will be able to break in and see your encrypted system; they won’t be able to make sense of it at all until they get the right key.
7. Monitor Your Networks for Suspicious Activity
One of the best ways to protect your systems is by monitoring for signs of suspicious activity. You can do this regularly or on an as-needed basis.
For example, if you check in every few hours, you’ll be able to see if any unusual changes have taken place and investigate them further if necessary.
To set up a monitoring system like this, you first need to create a baseline profile so you know what normal traffic looks like when everything is functioning normally. This way, you can start looking for unauthorized access attempts or strange spikes right away before anyone gets in and causes any damage or loss of data.
8. Be Careful With Your Passwords
This is advice you probably already know, but it still bears repeating. Passwords are the keys to your business. If someone could access your site with your password, they could do a lot of harm.
Passwords should be long, complex, and unique for every website or app you log into. Never use the same password twice, even on websites that don’t seem like a priority.
A cybersecurity threat can take many forms: it could be as simple as not being careful when typing in login information online. If someone sees what you’re typing in and knows how simple your passwords are (like 12345678), they could access all of your accounts at once. Or maybe while traveling, you left your laptop on, and someone accessed it.
Ensure all your employees know the importance of strong, unique passwords for each account they have. And that you don’t ever use any obvious terms or anything that could be easily guessed.
You can also get a password manager to automatically generate strong passwords for you so that you don’t have to worry about creating them on your own.
9. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is a very effective way to protect your data against outside threats.
This involves an additional layer of security beyond just having a password. Many people think this means using physical keys or something like that. But it can also be as simple as sending a text message with a code only you know.
This is great because even if someone guesses your password or finds it somehow, they won’t be able to get in without being sent another code first. If no one were waiting for them on the other side, then they wouldn’t be able to gain access to anything.
10. Use Antivirus Software on All Devices
It might seem like an obvious step to take when protecting your business from cybersecurity threats, but not everyone does this. Even if you think you know what you’re doing with computers, you can still miss some things if you aren’t careful. Always make sure to get antivirus software installed on every device in your company.
There shouldn’t be any devices without antivirus software unless they don’t connect to the internet. Even then, there is a risk of physical cybersecurity threats, so you should still install antivirus software on any computers that can be used over Wi-Fi or through a USB.
It doesn’t matter how careful you are about what kind of passwords you use if your device gets infected with malware. An antivirus program will keep this from happening and protect all other information from harm as well.
11. Keep Your Software Updated
The truth is that most cybersecurity threats can be prevented with the proper precautions and measures, so you don’t have to worry about them. But there are some risks that you can’t avoid no matter what you do, and they’re often the ones that cause the worst damage.
If your software isn’t updated regularly, it won’t protect itself against certain threats. This includes outdated antivirus software and operating systems or programs like Java. The longer something stays out of date, the more it becomes vulnerable to attacks from hackers.
Schedule regular updates for all devices and systems your company uses. If you don’t know what to update and when, be sure to check with the manufacturer.
12. Regular Back Up
When it comes to data of any kind, a backup is important. It protects both the original data and its backups from being destroyed by fire or other physical damage.
You should have regular backups for all of your company’s important information, even if you think a hard drive failure isn’t likely to happen.
Cloud storage is great because everything is stored on constantly updated servers, so there’s no risk of losing data or not having instant access. The best part? There are plenty of cloud storage options available to businesses.
Also, make sure all backed-up data is encrypted. If it’s not, anyone who gains access to the data will be able to see every file you have on there. And that includes hackers.
So if they want to get anything out of your backup, they can do it without damaging it first.
Use These Small Business Cybersecurity Tips
Cybersecurity threats are dangerous to any business, no matter its size or how much experience the people who run it have. The cybersecurity tips above give you many ways to protect yourself from cybersecurity threats in a cost-effective manner.
LogMeOnce is a tool for small businesses that can help you protect data and mitigate cybersecurity threats, including ransomware and phishing scams.
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