If you own a small business, you may think that cybersecurity may not be of importance to you since hackers and other troublemakers are only interested in targeting major corporations.
But that is wrong. Major corporations use their financial strength to operate advanced security mechanisms for protecting their data. Since small businesses can’t afford such high-tech solutions, hackers and other bad actors often prefer to target them instead of large business enterprises.
So, don’t think you are safe if you own a small business. On the contrary, you may face a bigger threat. In fact, it is recorded that 43% of all cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses. Therefore, small business owners have to take every precaution to protect their data.
Steps To Keep Data Safe
Since small businesses don’t have a large budget for procuring advanced methods of data security, the key for them is to utilize the existing mechanisms to full effect.
The most basic way to protect your data is to tell the employees that they should use strong passwords and not ones that can easily be guessed. It’s something most email users do anyway so extending the practice to official work should be no big deal.
To further bolster this feature, having a reliable password manager is very useful. It generates strong passwords and keeps you aware of them. However, the manager stores all the passwords that the individual uses, which will give access to all of them if an attacker gets into it. So, it cuts both ways.
But that’s just the start. There should be a comprehensive effort to educate and inform the employees of the company about cybersecurity. They must be made familiar with both the threats and safety measures relating to cybersecurity.
Before the employee training comes into play, the company itself has to make sure that the systems are in proper shape to withstand any assault. For this, they have to keep the security-related software and safety features of their operating systems fully updated. Otherwise, the hackers could easily overwhelm the outdated systems and access sensitive data.
The company should also be ready with a crisis-management plan. In spite of your best efforts, if there is a security breach, then you and your team should be prepared to take measures which will stop or at least limit the damage. The necessary steps must be clear in the minds of the whole staff.
One way of outdoing potential attackers is by using their own techniques against them. For this, companies hire an ‘ethical hacker’ who understands the tricks of the attacker and can hence take steps to neutralize him.
Prevention is better than cure. Hence, while you boost the security mechanisms for your business, you should also encourage your employees to desist from taking any steps that would compromise the security of your business.
The most endangered area is email messages. It is here that the possibility of criminals stealing information is greatest. Employing an email security solution that will encrypt all your communications is a must. It should be able to not only keep your mails safe but also filter out the ones that could contain malware.
If your employees are giving information to any other site, they should make sure it’s a secure site with HTTPS and SSL credentials.
Securing the network through which your company operates is also essential. This can be achieved by hiding your Service Set Identifier, scanning your system at regular intervals to see if there are any shortcomings, prohibiting access to the network from outside and encrypting the wireless access point of your network.
Apart from all this, there should be a rigorous authentication process in place for preventing anyone but the required employees of the company from accessing sensitive data. Passwords alone can’t serve this purpose. Other authentication processes must be added on to ensure that only those need to can enter the domain of important information.
Apart from this, outsiders should physically also be kept from using the computers of the office or even personal computers of those who work for the company using their own systems.
Other Steps For Ensuring Data Safety
The measures stated above should do a good job in keeping your business safe. A few other steps can increase the security even more.
Firewalls are something most internet users are familiar with but also something most of them render inactive to prevent them from hindering their surfing experience. For businesses though, having a firewall for your internet connections is necessary to prevent easy unauthorized access from outside.
Also, the staff must be familiar with the signs of phishing attacks to respond quickly to them.
Last but not the least, there should be a proper backup of all the information and data so that you can regain it if it’s lost. This backup too needs to be properly secured.
Cyber attacks can cause severe damage, especially, if you have a small business. Therefore, you have to remain alert and not let your guard down.