How Can Small Businesses Ensure Cybersecurity?

If you are a small business, you are a target.

Sure, large enterprises often have data that’s far more valuable than anything your organization possesses. But you know what else they have? Large IT departments staffed with skilled security experts.

A huge budget that allows them to implement state of the art monitoring and security systems.

In other words, they are not attractive targets. They’re quite the opposite, in fact. See, most criminals are a fairly lazy sort.

They’ll inevitably seek the path of least resistance – and that’s usually a small business. Sometimes, it’s because they’re a vendor or business partner of a larger firm, providing an easy way past all that complicated security. Sometimes it’s because they’ve got something the hacker wants, an innovative new technology or some sensitive data.

More often, however, it isn’t a targeted attack, and they’re simply the victim of a shotgun approach by a hacker or hacking group.

Either way, if you’re going to defend your business from cyberattacks, you’ve got your work cut out for you. I’m going to start with a bit of bad news first, though. There are some situations where you will not be able to prevent a data breach.

If you catch the attention of the wrong hacking group, the best you can do is mitigate the damage.The good news is that the chances of that happening are extremely slim. And in the meantime, there’s actually quite a bit you can do to beef up your organization’s security posture.

  • Keep everything up to date. Never run a system or platform with outdated software. This is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the most common route through which businesses are compromised.
  • Run regular security drills. The best way to know where your weaknesses lie is to test it. Penetration tests don’t cost a great deal, and neither do incident response drills.
  • Educate. Teach your staff the foundational best practices of protecting themselves online – how to recognize a phishing email, avoiding risky links, and so on. The idea here is that you want them to be as knowledgeable as possible. The more they know, the lower the chances they’ll be responsible for your data falling into the wrong hands.
  • Invest as much as you can. You don’t have a huge budget to invest in cybersecurity. That’s understandable. But it’s important to at least hire an IT guy, install a firewall, and have basic network monitoring and antivirus tools in place.
  • Build out clear security policies. Do you have an acceptable use policy for mobile devices? A password policy for user logins? A crisis response and disaster recovery plan? These are all things you’ll need to incorporate into your overall approach to security.

 

Small businesses are attractive to criminals, like it or not. You need to be aware of that. By focusing on your core weaknesses, implementing strong security policies, and educating your staff, you’ll make yourself a much less feasible target.

Criminals, seeking the path of least resistance, will probably go elsewhere.

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