Modern businesses have fully embraced the internet, with websites and social media channels all a part of day-to-day operations. Industry leaders and innovators also make full use of cloud computing, as do many startups and small businesses. The cloud provides an excellent data backup solution and affords many employees the flexibility to do remote work.
With all this, freedom and connectivity comes an increased risk of cyberattack, however. Every year brings reports of hackers stealing sensitive data and costing millions of dollars in losses. Here are some best practices to keep your small business secure.
Take the threat seriously
When we hear stories of cybercrime and data breaches breaking news, often, it’s because the victims are large corporations or high profile individuals. This distorted sample size can be misleading and create the impression that everyone else is just a small fry and not in any real danger.
The latest sources show that’s not the case; however, small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) are a significant target. They may even suffer a more significant impact, because of less stringent security measures and an overall underestimation of the threat posed by data theft.
Nobody is too small to be targeted, and while big businesses can be resilient, SMBs might not be able to survive the damages, including loss of trust with their customer base. The risks are greater and more real than you might expect.
All data is important
Fortunately, our awareness of cybersecurity has risen in the years since the internet became fully integrated into our daily lives and business operations. Most individuals – and certainly business owners and young professionals – know better than to give out credit card details or personal information. But there’s also danger in the assumption that you’re secure because there’s no sensitive data stored in your system.
Social engineers work by piecing together different parts of your security puzzle. This work can begin from something as innocuous as a list of employee names or email addresses. Even without knowing the ‘sensitive’ information such as passwords or employee numbers, a social engineer can work with that data – or pass it on to someone else – using it in various ways to impersonate or otherwise wrangle out more information. This can include contacting other employees or departments in the pretense of having forgotten login details, for example. Treating all your data is important is a fundamental step to preventing these attacks from ever gaining traction.
Invest in cybersecurity
While many individuals get by with a free antivirus or firewall program on their computers, your business needs to up its cybersecurity game since the stakes are higher. Paid versions of these programs provide complete and relevant features to prevent sophisticated attacks, as well as support for several devices – allowing them to be installed on workstations and extending the security to your telecommuters or remote workers. You should also consider having network security testing done by a third party to identify and address any weaknesses.
Beyond the software and network security measures, invest in training programs for your employees. In cybersecurity, human error is often where the first breach occurs. You can ill-afford to have your workforce be your weakest link. Draw up a program and implement mandatory cybersecurity training, with periodic refresher courses and random spot checks, as part of your business operations. This will ensure employees fully understand the risks as well as you do, and are actively protecting data.
See to it that everyone is committed to cybersecurity, and enjoy the benefits of cloud computing throughout your organization.