Cybersecurity is a critical topic when it comes to the business information technology administration of our times. However, being less concerned about it, many people tend to associate cybersecurity as a need just for the huge corporations who maintain full-fledged IT departments to protect users’ credit card information or store a huge volume of personal information of the customers.
But in reality, cyber threats are not just limited to big businesses. Still, any organization or individual functioning with a single computer or mobile device to manage a business is prone to cyber threats. So, if you run a small business and have not given enough thought to cybersecurity for your enterprise, then it is high time now to take action.
How and why cybercriminals target small businesses?
Those who aim at your company’s data are not simply a teen with a mask and hoodie as you may have seen in the images online. It may, most of the time, someone you may never expect, even one with minimal to no technical expertise to do so. After all, many times, it may be just a password that is required to intrude into ‘so called’ highly secured technology systems.
Even the small or SME business owners need to know about potential cybersecurity threats and measures to be taken to tackle them. In many given cases, it is noted that cybercriminals now target start-up and SMEs as this is the category of enterprises which give lesser importance to solving security vulnerabilities and make things easier for them.
Major Cybersecurity threats to small businesses are:
- Persistent security threats involving slow investigation process, probing, and the possibility of slow information extraction.
- Vulnerable password-based cyberattacks using stolen or mishandled accounts or passwords to steal information or cause damage.
- Malware in the form of an external program or one that takes advantage of the code’s incompetency of applications by gaining remote access to the system.
- Phishing attacks by using legitimate-looking emails and attachments to lure users to get personal information.
Protecting your business from cyberattacks
To safeguard your businesses from possible cybersecurity threats, here are some cybersecurity best practices suggested by Flosum, which you may strictly enact.
1. Keep the staff informed and updated about cybersecurity threats
Any organization needs to have cyber safe operational practices, which need to be educated and enacted. Even if any single member compromises the security aspect, it will collapse the entire system’s security. Instruct them not to use any easy-to-guess password and also to change passwords from time to time. Do not allow users to download any outside applications without following the proper procedure. Also, keep all of them informed about cybersecurity best practices and what the mistakes will cause.
2. Deploy dedicated IT security resources
If something goes wrong in a typical IT administration environment, it is good to have dedicated support personnel to take care of it. This may be an on-staff expert or internal or external consultant offering on-site or remote administration services. The point is to have an expert on-call to give immediate attention to the systems in case of any errors or system violations.
3. Only use secure network
For office-based teams, working on Wi-Fi is necessary, but always ensure that you maintain and access sonly a secure Wi-Fi. Unsecured or compromised networks can access anyone, which means that anyone can intrude into your system through open Wi-Fi and do harm. On unsecured wireless networks, it is easy for hackers to access shared files, exchanged emails, and other critical information, which will end up in bigger breaches.
4. Restrict the use of external devices on your network
You do not know about the devices your team members bring in, ranging from personal laptops to wearable gadgets. If these are allowed to be connected to the network, it may ultimately lead to easy access for the external intruders into your network through these. You do not have any control over the personal devices and the applications they install onto those. If you have a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) work policy at your business, ensure that you have adequate security practices to ensure security like restricted access, proper security software, and firewalls in place.
5. Always renew your passwords from time to time
This is a very simple thing, but most of them tend to miss out. The longer you keep the passwords, the more vulnerable they become. While creating passwords, never make it easy to guess passwords and rotate the passwords frequently. Eliminate access for any unauthorized attempts with APT attacks overtime. Always have a plan to mitigate the password related threats and avoid listing the passwords at any single location. For each platform, use a uniquely different password not related to other systems. Never assume that you are fully protected with an antivirus program in place, and also do not assume that you may not be a target for cybercriminals.
These are some of the primary measures for small businesses to keep their information technology infrastructure safe and protected from any cyberattacks. However, even if you follow these practices, it is essential to keep yourself updated about the latest cybersecurity threats to refresh your policies and practices to be strong enough to tackle such threats. As discussed, it is important to have a cybersecurity professional in-house who also conducts frequent audits to identify potential security threats and suggest ways to mitigate such risks.
It is the responsibility of each user connected to a system to ensure cybersecurity, so it is not a one-handed effort. Educate and make all your internal employees and external associates diligent about various cybersecurity best practices to be followed. Remember, the mode of cyber-attacks and the strategies used by attackers are changing day by day, so any strategy you use today to mitigate the cybersecurity risks may be outdated soon, and you have to keep on revisiting your enterprise cybersecurity policy to deal with the security challenges of current times.