For small business and small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs), cybersecurity can often seem like a daunting task.
Large businesses often have to spend huge sums of money making sure that their systems are entirely secure and safe, sums that are likely inaccessible to SMBs. However, this is not the problem that it seems to be. By being vigilant and intelligent and by educating employees, a SMB can easily manage their own cybersecurity, keeping their customers and company safe. Read on for the four best practices an SMB can perform.
Everybody has made a few passwords in their time, for social media, bank accounts and emails. However, not everyone knows how to create a strong password, with accounts being hacked everyday for using “Password” and “Password1” as a password. As a small business, you have to make sure that your accounts are all different and fully secure, so that they cannot be guessed nor brute forced, an attack where an attacker tries a number of combinations of popular passwords. In order to make a strong password, avoid any names or words, aim for ten or more characters and mix in symbols, letters and numbers. If you have a number of accounts and struggle to remember passwords, this may be an ideal time to get a password manager.
Lock Down Your Network
If you use any kind of network, be that a local server in the building or simply a router that employees are connected to, you need to be using some level of security. One way of doing this is using a software defined perimeter (SDP), a piece of software that hides your network infrastructure from any external attackers. This is exceptionally useful if your network has guest access as well as employee access, as it can prohibit guests from accessing files or software they should not be able to. It is also good for those small businesses that have several remote workers, as an SDP is able to create encrypted access for each individual configured, meaning that an employee can login from home and be just as safe accessing the company’s documents as they are in the office.
Backup Your Data
Backing up your data is incredibly important when it comes to cyber security. Though not as active as something like a SDP, backing up data still forms a backbone of keeping your company secure. There are a number of ways that a company can lose their stored data that aren’t due to an external attack. Brown-outs and black-outs can fry a local server, causing it to dump its information and lose data if not frequently backed up, meaning that it is possible to lose hours, days or weeks of work depending on the last back-up. This can be a huge problem for small businesses, as losing any data can lead to losing work or reputation. Instead, backing up should be a frequent top priority, with partial backups happening daily and full backups happening at least once a week to keep the servers insured against any unexpected errors.
Teach Your Employees
A common understanding in the cybersecurity industry is that the people who are parts of the network are the weakest part of the network. It’s very easy for people to give away their passwords or recovery questions by posting old pets to social media, having their birthday marked online and more. A lot of people also continue to fall for phishing schemes, which leads to a large number of networks being compromised. This is something that is easily avoidable with education, but the company has to invest time in doing so. Educating your employees in how to set strong passwords, how to identify phishing emails and how to spot any discrepancies would mean peace of mind as you would collectively have the whole company keeping an eye on the security of the business.
As detailed here, with a bit of work even the smallest business could have strong cybersecurity and maintain a safe server and network for their company, employees and customers. So long as you keep eternally vigilant and educate yourself on all the new kinds of attacks that emerge, you should be able to keep your business safe.
4 Cyber Security Best Practices For SMBs