Everyone has been talking about cybersecurity these days. Small businesses often assume that it isn’t something they should concern themselves with. The stats we shared in our previous posts, however, have a different story to tell.
Investing in security isn’t about the most expensive tools. It is a smart mix of technology and practices. Cybersecurity should become an essential part of your company’s culture. Contrary to what businesses often assume, cybersecurity culture should not restrict your employees from embracing disruptive trends and technology. It should support flexibility and freedom to move towards new trends and technology. It is possible only through companywide implementation of best practices.
Today, we will discuss five best practices your small business should embrace to fortify your defenses against cybercrimes.
With cybersecurity, you can’t always blame technology. Human error is still one of the biggest cause of breaches. A staggering 90 percent of all incidents were linked to human error or negligence. This includes numerous high-profile cases such as the Equifax breach that occurred due to a single human error. It goes without saying that the lack of awareness will lead to negligence. You need to make sure your employees aren’t liabilities. In fact, you should train and educate them enough to prevent and even identify threats.
Every employee, from top to bottom, must know the potential threats. They should know the safest way to interact with devices, applications, and technology across the organization.
When you educate your employees, you can trust them without imposing extensive restrictions. In the modern work culture, restrictions will only limit productivity, which brings us to our next point.
The “Bring Your Own Device” trend may have added a plethora of security risks but an anti-BYOD policy can be counter-productive. Now, if you spread security awareness across your company, half your battle is won. You can rest assured that your employees will play a responsible role in preventing incidents. However, it is not always in their hands. Nearly 40 percent of data breaches occur due to stolen or lost employee device. Many incidents happen due to the misuse of a company’s data stored in an ex-employee’s device.
Since the misuse is often intentional, awareness alone wouldn’t save you. You need to take a more layered approach. There should be proper authentication and encryption policies for all the devices employees bring and connect to the network. This includes devices of remote employees as well. You should be able to wipe data off any device to ensure safety in case of theft or loss of data.
We always talk about the importance of multilayered authentication. While it is possible to top your code-based password system with a biometric authentication system, your password related policies are still important. Simple alphanumeric passwords are easy to guess. Even a decade old hacking tool can crack those passwords. Encourage your employees to use stronger passwords with a mixture of characters and symbols. Prohibit easily guessable passwords such as names and birthdays.
There should be a companywide policy regarding frequent password updating. However, one thing that is more important is to prevent your employees from sharing their passwords with anyone within the organization or outside.
Small businesses are preferred cyberattack targets not just because they are easy to breach but also because they are easy to threaten. They are most likely to pay in case of a ransomware attack as compared to the larger organization. It isn’t because their data is more important, but because they often overlook the importance of data backup.
Let’s be honest. Most small businesses believe they should grow to a certain size before investing in the backup. According to last year’s stats, 58 percent of small businesses are not even prepared for data loss. It is why nearly 60 percent of the ones attacked ended up shutting down within months.
You need to store your data on the cloud as well as on the physical drive. More importantly, you need to make sure your backup is just as secure and safe against attacks. Since cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated by the day, it pays to invest in regular backup monitoring and update, which brings us to our last point.
As more and more small businesses invest in cybersecurity, things are getting competitive for the attackers. We have witnessed an increase in the number of attacks and the different attacks. This means you need to update your security policies and systems. Even your security awareness program should be updated and all your employees must know of any changes in the security landscape.
Cybersecurity is an investment that can save your entire business in case of a breach. However, technology is just as good as the policies that make it effective. Train your people well and treat cybersecurity as an ongoing process to keep your data, people, and assets secure.