Cyber attacks are a growing concern for small and medium enterprises. Some research findings reveal that 43% of cybercrimes target small businesses, and 60% of small companies that fall victim to a cyber attack are out of business within just six months.
As a small business owner, you don’t want to be the next victim. Here are five cybersecurity best practices your business should implement:
1. Use a firewall and antivirus software
Firewalls provide a barrier between your computer network and cybercriminals. Firewalls work by assessing the data packets which arrive at your computer network. They either accept or reject them based on the data they contain.
Your business should invest in both hardware and software firewalls to monitor incoming data for risks that could expose your business to attacks.
Use antivirus software in addition to firewalls to add an extra layer of security against threats that manage to get past the firewall.
2. Keep your software updated
In a highly automated environment, it is easy for business owners to rely on automatic software updates.
But if you are concerned about the security of your data, you must ascertain that your operating systems and software are up-to-date (and that you are using high-quality security software).
Software updates look for and fix potential weaknesses that criminal hackers could exploit. Therefore, by having the latest software updates, you protect your business data from the vulnerabilities of older software.
3. Train your employees
Employees are one of the greatest risks to your business. This risk stems from unawareness on the importance of cybersecurity and of the protective measures they can take to keep your business safe, such as installing firewalls to their home networks.
Employees are also vulnerable to phishing scams, which cybercriminals could use to install malware onto your computer network.
Cybersecurity education should not end with the IT department, but should reach every employee. Educate them on cybersecurity measures, your business’ cybersecurity policies, ways of identifying cybersecurity breaches, and responses to such incidents.
4. Back up your data regularly
Cyber-attacks can happen to the most protected system, and your business should be ready for this eventuality. Back up all your data, including documents, spreadsheets, databases, financial and other business files to the cloud or on separate hardware devices.
You should store these backups in separate places for added security, preferably at an offsite location or in the cloud.
Your business should implement cloud computing (for easy and efficient backup systems) and a local back up in case the data on the cloud falls prey to cybercriminals.
Backing up data protects businesses from loss in case of natural disasters, human errors, ransomware, and hacking.
5. Set strong passwords and multifactor authentication
Lost, stolen, and weak passwords lead to about 63% of data breaches , which should inspire businesses to enforce their password policies.
Businesses should use strong passwords that contain a mix of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. They should also change these passwords every 60-90 days.
Multifactor authentication adds an extra layer of security to strong passwords by requiring additional steps before one access your business data. Therefore, even if a cybercriminal manages to crack your password, the multifactor authentication could prevent further access.
Cybercriminals keep advancing and finding better ways to breach security systems. Your business security depends on a proactive approach in implementing security measures such as the use of firewalls, antivirus software, employee training, regular data backups, strong password policies, and multifactor authentication.