The average cost of a data breach for small and medium businesses (SMBs) is $2.98 million.
Can your business survive a hack, based on that number? Probably not.
This is why it’s imperative that you take small business cybersecurity seriously, even if you don’t feel like you’re a potential target. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry, after all.
It might take a little bit of time and money to get things set up, but it’ll be worth it when you can block cybercriminals from your data.
Here, we’ll give you 7 important cybersecurity tips so you can keep your small business safe.
1. Have Active Firewalls
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Firewalls are a type of network security system that monitors traffic that comes in and out of your network. This is a basic type of cybersecurity you must have since it not only checks what’s coming into your network but also what’s leaving it. As a result, it’ll help you detect any suspicious activity.
Today’s computers should come with firewalls already activated. However, IT techs might turn them off to do work, and they may forget to turn the firewalls back on. So double-check your devices to ensure they’re protected.
2. Install Antivirus Programs
In addition to firewalls, you’ll need good antivirus programs. These offer an extra layer of protection and can catch and quarantine harmful files before they can wreak havoc on your system.
Many of today’s antivirus programs can also tell you if you’re on a potentially shady website. They’ll block traffic, ask you if you’re sure you want to proceed, and then allow you to if you want to manually override the program. This can save you lots of headaches from downloading malicious files!
You should install antivirus software on all devices, not just your laptops and computers. Cybercriminals are targeting smartphones and tablets more now, so it’s worth it to get protection all across the board.
3. Update Your Programs
We all get annoyed by those popups that tell you to update your programs, especially if you need to reboot your computer for the updates to take full effect. Who has the time to do that anyway?
We’re here to tell you it’s important to install these updates ASAP. These will eliminate any software vulnerabilities that hackers might take advantage of.
And we’re not just talking about your antivirus and firewall either. Install updates for all programs to make your security as tight as possible.
4. Back Up Your Files
It’s always a good idea to back up your files on a regular basis. That way, you have an extra copy of your data should anything happen, such as accidental deletion, or a fire or flood that destroys your equipment.
Backups can also help fight against hackers. For instance, ransomware holds your computer hostage and the cybercriminal doesn’t release it until you’ve paid them a huge amount in cryptocurrency (usually Bitcoin). And what’s worse is, many times, they just take your money and run, so you’re out of money and you still don’t have access to your own data!
Should you fall victim to ransomware, an easy way out is to just load your last backup. You’ll lose some work, but it won’t be as devastating as losing everything!
5. Limit Employee Access
Not every worker will need access to crucial data, so you should limit their access. This isn’t because you can’t trust your workforce, but rather, it decreases the chances of breaches happening since there are fewer “points of entry”.
You’ll want to do this in the physical office as well. Rooms with important data should be restricted to higher-level employees only. You might need to install additional locks, keys, keycodes, etc. to make this happen.
6. Get Employee Education
Your employees are actually the first line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity. Think of all your tech as safety nets; they’ll “catch” your company should anything fall through the cracks with your workers.
This is why it’s necessary for your employees to be educated in cybersecurity. It’s not just a job for IT technicians!
It can be beneficial to hire an outside company to train your employees to recognize phishing attempts and malware. They can also teach your workforce to have good digital hygiene so their information is safe from the dark web. Click this link to learn more about the dark web and what data could be on there.
It might seem ok to post about innocent things, like a golf game at a course or a hotel stay in a nearby city. But the more employee information is out there, the more data cybercriminals have to form cunning phishing attempts.
7. Develop A Cybersecurity Policy
Having a clear-cut cybersecurity policy can make all the difference between your small business staying open or closing after a data breach. If you’ve hired a third-party expert for tip #5, then it can be helpful to enlist their help in developing your company’s cybersecurity policy.
You’ll want to define what employees need to do when they suspect something and who they need to report to. Designate the person (or people) responsible for security breaches and make sure they know exactly what steps need to be taken so they’re not floundering when an actual emergency happens. Read team testing is another popular method of discovering potential threats. The red team is responsible for simulating security attacks and discovering weaknesses. This allows businesses to become more secure.
Use These Cybersecurity Tips To Safeguard Your Business
With these fantastic cybersecurity tips under your belt, you have a great place to start when it comes to protecting your small business.
Just remember that it’s not a “one and done” deal. To truly safeguard your business, you need to stay on top of things and never let up.
Considering that technology’s always being upgraded and hackers are evolving with the tech, they’ll never give up on trying to breach your networks. So be vigilant!
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