10 Steps to Cybersecurity Every Small Business Must Take
Most companies think that they’re protected from cybercrime as long as they have an IT professional and antivirus software. Online threats are growing increasingly commonplace and complex, demanding an even more robust infrastructure on your end. Small businesses are more at risk of security breaches because they don’t take the issue seriously or lack the resources to protect themselves.
Criminals will try and obtain any kind of information they can to threaten your company and extort you for money. It becomes even worse if you do pay, as they will now target you even more. You don’t want to risk the success of your livelihood by failing to establish a solid IT defense. Follow these ten steps so that you can improve your cybersecurity and protect your small business!
1. Manage Your IT System's Configuration
Misconfigurations within your IT system can quickly result in access points for cybercriminals. They can cause a lot of damage to your business in the time it takes you to notice their presence. You need to develop policies to reduce potential vulnerabilities within your systems by correctly configuring them. Remove unnecessary applications, disable inadequate features, and constantly change from default settings.
2. Secure Your Network
Having a weak network poses a risk to your business as it allows hackers to gain access to your systems quickly. Ensure that you follow industry protocol and secure your network with passwords, alerts, and restrictions. You’ll need to monitor traffic and set up the software to indicate whenever malicious content is being sent through your network, either incoming or outgoing.
3. Install Anti-Virus Software
Malware and ransomware are the most common forms of cyberattacks. You can take steps to protect yourself from these potential threats by installing antivirus solutions on every device. It would be best to implement regular active scanning so your systems continuously monitor malicious content. Most threats enter your network through emails, web surfing, cloud computing systems, and social media. This software can help stop most of the scams and malware before reaching your employees, lowering your risk of infection.
4. Limit Removable Media
Removable media is any type of device you can remove from a device while it is still running. These are used for storage; to easily transfer data from one device to another. USBs, CDs, DVDs, and even mobile phones are all removable media. However, the uncontrolled use of these devices can potentially lead to malware entering your systems. You will need to implement controls over removable media by limiting what type of information can be transferred and which devices are acceptable to use. Remember to set up the software to scan every single removable media for malware before the computer accepts the data.
5. Initiate A Risk Management Plan
It’s good computer habits to assess the risks to your business’s sensitive data consistently. Your entire organisation should understand the importance of this practice and support your IT policies. Implement risk management and recovery plans, and make sure every employee fully understands them and the processes that need to occur in the event of a security breach. Cybersecurity should be considered as crucial as your legal or financial operations.
6. Prioritise User Awareness
As a small business owner, you must initiate a mandatory cybersecurity training program for your staff. You can’t risk your employees compromising your entire company because they fell for a basic phishing scam. Teach them correct and safe computer habits, and enforce security policies to encourage proper maintenance. You must regularly remind them of these practices and continue with their education throughout their employment.
7. Monitor User Accounts
Not everyone should have access to administrative accounts. Limit the number of employees with access by only giving it to those who need it to do their job correctly. You will have greater control over your IT systems when you keep this privilege to a minimum. If there is a breach, you can find the access point much faster since you have a smaller pool of suspects. Don’t forget to monitor the accounts, too, especially when they’re dealing with sensitive information.
8. Develop Policies for Remote Working
With the pandemic forcing people to work from home, it places more risk on your network and cybersecurity. Ensure that your employees are adequately trained and know how to use their devices securely while outside your network. There should be policies in place dictating what is allowed for remote working and what is forbidden. Consider limiting their access, allowing only work-related devices, and utilising a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
9. Conduct Drills
There’s no use in creating a management and recovery plan if you have no idea whether it’ll be successful or not. Conducting tests is essential to strengthen your defenses and understand your IT system better. You can run through drills with your employees to learn how to recognize and prevent scams. Try testing them secretly, too, and see who needs additional training. Exercises will assist your infrastructure and employees and ensure that everything within your security plans is running smoothly.
10. Utilise Detection Systems
As a small business, you probably don’t have the resources and budget to manage your IT system yourself. To thoroughly protect yourself, you should seriously consider hiring an IT service provider who can monitor your networks 24/7 and assist your tech department in strengthening your infrastructure. They have experience with security breaches and can guide you through the process to secure your organisation with their detection and prevention systems.
Your business will inevitably face a cyber threat at some point, even if it is still small and you don’t think you have any sensitive data. Criminals can take advantage of any kind of information, especially that of your clientele. Security breaches are seriously damaging, impacting both your financial success and reputation. Many companies are forced to shut down just a few months after a cyber attack. Ensure that you follow these ten steps to improve your organisation’s cybersecurity and hinder any malicious schemes from affecting your business.
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