Every business faces cyber threats regardless of size in the fast-paced and highly evolving digital landscape. It may range from phishing attacks to malware attacks to ransomware resulting in data loss and financial damage.
With time, cybercriminals have adopted innovative measures and techniques to magnify the potential of cyber attacks. Depending on the intensity of the breaches, organizations take time to discover the breaches and recover valuable data and financial losses. Small businesses are more vulnerable to cyber threats with a lack of awareness and resources. In 2021, one out of five victims of breaches were small businesses, with losses of $21,659.
However, those small businesses that ramped up their cyber security game have lower chances of threats than others. How can small businesses safeguard their digital assets from potential threats?
It’s simple, by adopting smart solutions, small businesses can ensure the cyber security of their data and infrastructure.
Read on to learn the cyber security tips and solutions that can keep threats at bay.
Install a firewall
A firewall is a protective layer that blocks viruses and other threats from entering the network. As a small business owner, you can regulate your organization’s incoming and outgoing network traffic with the help of a firewall. Moreover, it also restricts sending confidential and sensitive data from a company’s network.
For instance, firewalls provided by Palo Alto can secure your network from harmful sites and cyber attacks. They are generally installed as hardware appliances; other options include virtual appliance firewalls, firewall as a service (FWaaS), and cloud-native firewalls from infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Installing a firewall is half the job; you must update it regularly to tackle emerging security threats.
Backup data frequently
Do you have a backup of the company’s files? Backing up files can limit the harmful effects of cyber attacks as they can compromise or delete the company’s valuable data. Can your business survive and continue to operate after the cyber attack? It can if it has managed to store data as backup files on digital devices.
You can pick a backup program that saves files automatically and requires almost no manual commands. Sometimes, it becomes hard to back up your files manually. You can always restore and retrieve data and files from the backup in case of data breaches or loss. Keeping your files offline so that your files are accessible after a ransomware attack is also an effective tip to follow.
Adopt data encryption
Encryption is one of the best security measures to protect data from cyber threats. It converts the data into codes that cannot be read. It would be best to encrypt your data if your company primarily deals in financial or other sensitive data-handling sectors like the healthcare industry. Data encryption is an effective solution even if your data has been compromised. It would become a challenging task for cyber attackers to decode and decipher your data when it’s encrypted. They cannot use it without decrypting the data. It acts as a foolproof security measure against breaches and prevents using the company’s data for illegal activities.
Install antivirus software
Antivirus software guards against all viruses, malware, spyware, phishing attacks, and ransomware. It’s critical to update antivirus programs regularly to remain effective in catering to recent threats and vulnerabilities.
It is a good idea to update a company’s software and antivirus programs frequently to keep up with emerging cybersecurity challenges. You must keep an eye on software that requires manual updating. For instance, a router and connected devices may remain at risk until you manually update the firmware.
Implement an effective password policy
How can you implement a strong password policy? Ensure all your employees who need to log in to the system using a strong password. What is a strong password? An ideal approach is to use a password that is 15 characters long with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. It is hard to crack such passwords, so there are fewer chances of successful breaches.
Additionally, a company must ask its employees to change their passwords at least once every three to four months. Furthermore, multi-factor authentication (MFA) can also beef up cyber security, so every small business owner must enable MFA on devices provided to employees.
Does every employee require access to the company’s data and sensitive information? These days data has become a crucial asset in this digital world, so be mindful while giving access to your employees. You can allow a limited number of employees to access critical data to minimize security risks. For instance, you can regulate access entry points and grant permission to only selective staff like managers, CFO, and CISO to log in to the system and make necessary changes.
Many cyber criminals manipulate the staff to access the company’s valuable data and information through social engineering. When a company allows restricted access to employees, they cannot share sensitive information in the first place. If they do, it is easier to trace the person and take firm action against them.
Upskill your employees
A human error can prove to be more deadly than an automated response. Employees are often negligent in protecting login details and other sensitive data based on a lack of awareness. Cyber threats caused by employees are very common; phishing attacks are the most widespread cyber threats looming over businesses. They account for 90% of all threats that cause $12 billion in business losses. In this attack, employees mistakenly open an infected email, link, or download an attachment that can steal high-value information and data.
All small businesses must utilize available resources to train employees about cybersecurity. For instance, you could organize awareness sessions for employees where they could gain knowledge about the latest cybersecurity developments. Moreover, cybersecurity training can help your staff to adapt to productive cyberspaces.
Cybersecurity is the need of the hour; no business can survive and flourish without adopting essential security measures and deploying devices. From setting a strong password to data encryption and installing a firewall, every small business owner must work to apply tips and solutions for better and more secure cyberspace.