7 Simple Tips to Boost Your Small Business’s Cybersecurity
Effective cybersecurity should be a priority for every small business today when more than 70% of cyber-attacks are targeted at them. Hackers know they have less money to invest in state-of-the-art measures like bigger companies do, so they’re easier prey.
Sadly, cyber-attacks can have devastating results. More than one-fifth of companies in Canada have been affected by cybersecurity incidents that disrupted their operations, and employees were unable to use key resources or services (computers, email) in over 50% of these cases.
But implementing solid cybersecurity measures to protect your small business can be difficult if you’re not sure where to start or you don’t know how to make the best of the limited resources available.
In this post, we’ll explore 7 simple tips to boost your small business’s cybersecurity and reduce your risk of costly downtime.
Create a more reliable system for password management
Employees and managers at all levels should take passwords seriously. Yes, once upon a time you may have used your child’s name or your favourite movie for every account you opened, but times have changed.
If a hacker manages to identify or guess your password, they would have access to each account connected to it — banking, online shopping, etc.
So if you or any employees use one password for all accounts or ones that are easy to guess, you could be putting your small business at unnecessary risk.
Bring a strict password policy into effect immediately. Ensure everyone within your business uses a long, unique password consisting of letters, numbers, and symbols. These are harder to crack, even with brute-force attacks.
Block spam emails to mitigate the threat of phishing scams
Phishing scams are a common danger facing businesses, with 1 in 99 emails designed for phishing (6.4 billion phishing emails are sent per day).
There are four types of a phishing attack, spanning various communication methods:
Smishing: using text messages
Spear-fishing: using personalized messages
Whaling: sending messages to execs
Spoofing: using forged websites or numbers
They all aim to capture key information about victims by gaining their trust through fraudulent means, such as by posing as a reputable brand.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to combat phishing emails is to set up email spam blocking through the latest filtering technology. These will help to prevent scam emails from reaching your and your employees’ inboxes in the first place.
Take advantage of cloud computing and data backup
More and more businesses are embracing cloud computing, with the market set to be worth more than $623 billion by 2023. And one of the main factors driving this popularity is improved cybersecurity.
Cloud-based service providers have to implement cutting-edge security processes to safeguard client data from every possible threat — otherwise, they risk losing their trust and their money.
The best platforms and tools offer their own security measures to verify user identities and encrypt data. This makes hackers’ “work” much more difficult, if not impossible, and brings you better peace of mind.
Cloud computing also enables you to store files securely online and retrieve them from any device (with the appropriate logins) in the event of a cyber attack. This helps to prevent the potential disruptions and delays that may occur after an incident.
Improve employees’ cybersecurity awareness and vigilance
More than 85% of executives worldwide consider untrained staff to be the biggest cybersecurity risk to their business, and it’s not hard to see why: unaware employees could open the door for a hacker without realizing it before it’s too late.
They might download infected software and riddle your system with malware. Or they could take action on a phishing email that leads to a ransomware attack — an increasingly common and costly threat.
According to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the average ransomware payment demand grew from $20,000 to $160,000 between 2018 and 2020.
That’s why it’s so important for any small business, in any sector, to implement comprehensive cybersecurity training for all employees. Sessions should be tailored to each department’s activities to maximize relevance and engagement.
Have a crisis plan ready for emergencies
Hopefully, your small business will never fall victim to a cyber attack. But you need to create a crisis plan just in case.
This should cover several factors, including:
What constitutes a cybersecurity crisis for your company
Who will take charge of the situation
How those affected (clients, vendors, etc.) will be informed and in what order
What legal requirements are involved to avoid further issues
Creating a clear, structured plan empowers your team to spring into action in an emergency. This cuts the risk of employees panicking and making mistakes that could exacerbate the situation.
Keep software up to date
Make sure you update all the software you use as soon as new versions become available, even for tools you rarely use. Developers update software for various reasons, from improving the UI to adding new features or (crucially) improving security.
A software update could be a patch for a known bug that leaves users more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Ignoring it would put your small business at increased risk unnecessarily.
This can be difficult if your team relies on a wide range of tools and platforms, but it’s essential to maintain the highest standards of security.
Work with professionals for tailored security
One of the most effective ways to bolster your small business’s cybersecurity is to work with a team of experts who know how to safeguard companies just like yours against common threats.
This reduces the amount of in-house resources and expertise you need to stay safe. You can focus on running your business while information security specialists put the right system in place based on your unique requirements.
GenX’s CareForce Managed Security Service includes everything you need to cut risks:
- Threat detection and response
- Website tracking and filtering
- Email spam blocking
- Data loss prevention
- Secured Virtual Private Network (VPN) for convenient, safe remote access
- And more