Small and medium businesses are a huge target of cyber threats and attacks. And if you thought that your business is too small to be targeted, we have bad news for you: the size of your business is irrelevant to cybercriminals. As long as you have the quality data they need, you will be on their radar.
According to the 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Report, 58% of malware attack victims are small businesses. Research shows that most businesses don’t have sufficient data and security practices in place, which makes them vulnerable to data loss.
Customer information is used in identity theft crimes, and valuable business data is used to access to larger companies through an unprotected connection. Yes, sometimes hackers are not interested in your business data in particular, but the data of the larger companies you do business with. If you don’t have security systems on all of your client data, hackers will find easy access to another company’s data.
These and many other reasons make small and medium businesses a worthwhile opportunity for hackers. While the danger from cybersecurity threats can never be reduced to zero, if you set proper security protection and defensive systems in place, your business will present a difficult target for criminals, increasing the chances that they’ll look elsewhere.
What Exactly is Cybersecurity and How to Stay Protected?Cybersecurity—or I.T. security—is defined as a range of techniques, processes, and practices used to protect your networks, programs, applications, and data from external attacks or unauthorized access.
It is true that attacks are becoming more severe and sophisticated, but so are I.T. security methods. Although securing your small business takes ongoing vigilance, staying safe in the long run is going to cost you less than the repairs of damage done by a cyber-attack. According to the State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Report, cyber-attacks cost small and medium-sized businesses an average of $2.2 million a year.
Cyber-attacks not only affect your business but your customers as well. If you are hacked, that will put your reputation on the line, making both customers and business partners uneasy about collaborating with you in the future.
So, how to stay protected? One of the most important things in dealing with cyber threats is to design security into systems and programs right from the start, rather than trying to protect them after the damage happens.
Prevent Data Loss
Preventing data loss by backing up data is crucial in lessening the damage done by an attack.
Are you working with a lot of data? Does constantly backing up all of your data seems like a challenge? We have good news: the process of backing up your data is generally cost-effective and simple.
Consider regularly backing up the most important data, including customer records and personal information, using multiple backup methods. That would typically include daily, end-of-week, quarterly, and yearly server back-ups using a portable device or cloud storage. If you are using a portable device, it is also essential to keep the portable device safe, as you want to avoid it getting infected during an attack.
Passwords Are ImportantTo strengthen digital security, change your passwords every few months, and always choose strong passwords. There should be no default passwords, and it would be for the best to disable administrative access to your computer or network.
Create a standard user account and protect them with a strong password. Also, do not use the same password for everything. Mix things up to reduce the risk of having all of your accounts under attack by creating several strong passwords for different accounts.
Educate Employees on Best Practices
Web servers are not the only places to look in for security problems. Email and web browsers are common channels of cyber threats and abuse. Therefore, your business should establish policies and processes and prepare employees in dealing with threats and attacks. Employees should know every specific rule for email, social networks, mobile devices, and web browsing.
There are different types of attacks and, unfortunately, they change frequently, so by having regular cybersecurity training, employees will be kept up to date with this issue. This is especially applicable for the administrators of the business, such as top management and I.T. staff, as their jobs propose a higher risk of attacks.
It is important to put policies and remediation processes in place and, most importantly, review and update them accordingly. This will keep your customers’ data safe.
Employees should be constantly reminded about your company’s policy and remediation plan, which will keep them aware of attacks and how to recognize one. Employees should know what to do when suspecting or witnessing a cyber incident so that they can notify the person in charge immediately.
Spam Filters Are a Must
One of the most common ways of a third party getting into your system is through the well-known phishing emails.
Your business is very likely to receive offers that are too good to be true, usually via email. The message is sent by a person that you don’t know and is offering you a great deal in return for you clicking on a link that leads to a page where you are required to leave your personal information.
It is important to remember that both you and your employees should not respond to these messages in any way. First of all, such emails should not be opened, but in case they have been, the person should not click any links or unsubscribe buttons provided in the email, nor call any numbers.
Having a spam filter will help you deal with spam messages.
Install Security Software
Computer viruses remain as common as ever, and can sometimes infect your computers for months without your knowledge. So, it is important always to stay protected and secure your computer and devices with security software.Your security software should be updated regularly, because these updates will contain security upgrades based on recent attacks and viruses.
Many measures can be taken when protecting your business computer and network. Although there is not a single proven formula of how to adequately protect your business from threats and attacks, the best approach is to contact a professional.
A managed I.T. services provider with security expertise knows the best practices to help you keep your business secured. Contact JMARK to develop a personalized security plan to protect your organization’s assets and data. With offices in Springfield, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Fayetteville, Arkansas; and clients throughout the nation, JMARK is widely recognized as one of the leading I.T. security providers in the nation.