Small enterprises often assume that they are not an attractive target for malicious attackers, but hackers often view them as low-hanging fruit or a gateway to providers and other business partners. Cyber security for small businesses must be a priority to prevent costly attacks.
There has been a 30% increase in security breaches since early in 2020, and since reports have shown that 43% of breaches involve a small business, there is significant vulnerability. The challenge for small businesses to continue operations in what is an increasingly cloud-based technology era is complicated by the increased exposure to cyber criminals.
What should a strategy for cyber security for small businesses include? The following three steps are critical:
For any digital account, private keys and passwords are critical. When linked to a particular user, passwords are easily identified, but this risk can be easily mitigated by integrated good password policies. Two-factor authentication offers dual-layered protection so that accounts are not easily breached.
Education and Training
Training employees to recognize phishing emails and what to do if they encounter one is a good investment in cyber security for small businesses. You can take things further, publishing educational blogs for your target audience on how to avoid hackers. Setting up a cyber security workshop or publishing an infographic or video post does more than simply deliver information. It also keeps cyber security top of mind and works it naturally into your enterprise culture so that there’s an awareness around the risk.
Your employees may not realize how often an in-house error leads to a breach, or how not only the cost of downtime but also the cost of your reputation can impact your business continuity and, in turn, their jobs. It’s important to keep this topic alive so that everyone can work together to protect data and systems.
One of the ways in which hackers gain access to data is through public, unsecured WiFi or open-sourced software. They intercept data or use ads and push notifications to set up viruses and malware. These tactics can also slow down the speed of your website, turning customers away toward a competitor.
Small businesses can combat this risk by employing virtual private networks (VPNs) that have been reviewed and rated as safe for browsing. VPNs use layers of encryption, speed, and security, as well as a firewall placed around suspicious apps. While it’s also important to install anti-malware and anti-virus solutions, some VPNs tend to not be compatible with this type of software.
It’s also important when planning a strategy for cyber security for small businesses that monitoring be included in the plan. Some small enterprises find it advantageous to outsource this task to a managed services provider. A managed services provider will offer a wide range of security solutions, allowing a small business to fill in the gaps in their business continuity plan.
For more information on creating a comprehensive cyber security for small businesses plan, contact us at eXemplify. We can help you identify security gaps and develop strategic solutions for protecting your data, your productivity, and your reputation.