Information technology (IT) has evolved over the years, and businesses are now predominantly IT-driven in many ways. Look at the boom of e-commerce, for example. Ecommerce is huge and continues to grow even bigger, which is a great thing.
But as the world has become more digital, the risk of cyberattacks has also grown. Since the internet of things (IoT) transfers a lot of data, malicious hackers are continually developing new techniques for breaking into networks and stealing confidential data. Because of this, every company must fortify its online defenses.
Hackers often target small businesses because they may have more weaknesses that they can take advantage of. As a result, small business owners should begin investing in cyber security strategies as soon as possible. To make a comprehensive cybersecurity defense strategy, you may need to hire professional cybersecurity experts such as AT-net managed IT services or alternative service providers in your locale. That said, here’s a guide to cybersecurity for small businesses.
Common Cybersecurity Threats
a. Phishing: Phishing attacks are online scams that spread via emails or websites. They infect your computer with malware that steals sensitive data covertly. Some consumers fall into these traps because these emails seem real. However, opening these links or attachments in the e-mail will infect your machine with harmful code.
b. Ransomware: Ransomware is a virus that prevents you from accessing your computer or other devices unless you pay a ransom. This is frequently spread via phishing emails.
c. Malware: This is also referred to as malicious software. It’s a general word for software designed to harm a computer, network, or server.
d. Viruses: These malicious programs are easily spread from computer to computer. Cybercriminals might gain access to your system once a computer has been compromised.
Best Cybersecurity Practices
1. Regularly Back Up Your Data
In a data or cyber security breach, you need to have a backup, ensuring you don’t lose all your data. This is especially important with sensitive and vital company information. Therefore, you ought to ensure that you have data backup for all these files just in case something happens. Always activate the automatic backup option if possible.
Ideally, you need to have your data backed up in the cloud because it’s accessible remotely, and you won’t have to rely on physical data stores only. Plus, the cloud is more secure. Regardless, there is plenty of backup software you can choose from.
Moreover, during software updates, if an installation goes wrong, even if it’s not your fault, you could lose all the data in your computer or system. Therefore, you need to back up your data before doing updates.
2. Train Employees
Employees cause the majority of cybersecurity breaches in businesses. Employees don’t typically purposefully cause these breaches. But in most cases, they are unaware of the inherent danger posed by cybercriminal activity. Therefore, employees need to be trained regarding cybersecurity and how they could protect themselves and the business from falling victim to cybersecurity attacks. Forewarned is forearmed.
Remember that most companies hold sensitive customer information that you shouldn’t want any hacker to have access to. Employees, being the ones who interact most with their customers, need to understand the importance of cybersecurity in protecting customer data. So, employees need to be trained on the basics of using the internet and how careful they ought to be when using the web.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Password attacks are common. Therefore, you have to ensure that you have strong passwords for all your devices and networks. It makes it much harder for a hacker to access your system. Plus, it would be wise to design your online platforms in such a way that users are required to create strong passwords for themselves.
But further to that, you may also need to use a good password manager to remember those passwords. Often, people are scared to set strong passwords because they’re harder to remember. However, password managers help you recall them. So, encourage your employees to set strong passwords and use password managers.
4. Secure Networks
Cybercriminals can gain access to your device by exploiting flaws in a computer network. Therefore, with networks, you must ensure that they’re secure. It would be best to stay away from public networks because they sometimes lack robust security features.
The network you use should be encrypted and have a secure password. Moreover, ensure that the network service set identifier (SSID) is hidden because doing so makes it more challenging for hackers to locate it. Network security is crucial because if a hacker manages to access the network, they can access both your device and every other device linked to it. So, ensure you secure your network if you haven’t already done so.
5. Keep Antivirus and Firewall Up To Date
It would be best if you had antivirus software on all your business machines. Antivirus software helps keep cyber hackers away by preventing harmful programs from entering the system. Firewalls are also important because they add an extra layer of security that makes it harder for any hacker to access your network or system.
While having these on your computer is critical, it’s even more crucial that you keep the software updated. This is because software upgrades usually include patches and updates that protect against newer versions of malware. Additionally, they fix issues that were present in earlier editions. Updates guarantee that your defenses are working at their best. As a result, you should enable automatic updates on your firewall, anti-spyware, and antivirus software.
Given the rising threat and extent to which cybersecurity breaches occur, it’s incumbent upon every business, big or small, to bolster its cyber defense strategy. Every business may have different cybersecurity needs. That’s why you need to look for good cybersecurity experts who can help you design the proper defense infrastructure for your business.