Practical Cybersecurity Advice for Small Businesses

As a small business, you’re more vulnerable to failure for a number of reasons. Cyber security is one area of concern that more businesses are becoming more fearful over. One data breach or hack could be the difference between continual business growth or going under.

Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent and those responsible for the attacks are becoming more methodical and clever with how they trip up even the most computer and internet-proficient individuals.

With 43% of all data breaches involving small and medium-sized businesses, there’s likely a huge red target on your company’s back if you fall into this category of SMBs.  

This article has been created to help shed light on the dangers of cyber attacks and how small businesses can help best prevent these attacks from occurring with practical cyber security advice. Hopefully, this guide will help to prevent your business from falling victim to cyber-attacks this year and beyond.

What Cybersecurity Threats Exist to Small Businesses in 2022?

There are a number of security threats that exist for businesses in general but may impact small businesses further. Here are a few that are worth mentioning for those who might be operating a small business in 2022.

Targeting employees with phishing emails

Phishing emails catch a lot of business employees out but more so with smaller businesses, especially if they’re presented with bigger opportunities that seem legitimate but are scams. 

When these scams target employees, they are more likely to be successful in doing so because not everyone is knowledgeable of the latest scams or methods that come with email attacks.

Focusing on remote working and a lack of strong network protection

Small businesses may not have the best security systems and frameworks in place to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. This is made even worse as more businesses find themselves continuing remote work during the pandemic.

With remote working, most employees will be working from home and therefore use private WIFI that’s probably not as secure as the network security in place within your office building.

Advanced ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks are certainly becoming more frequent and effective in their efforts to cause as much destruction to a business as possible. These advanced ransomware attacks can end up costing businesses thousands of dollars to repair the damage caused and for some, that’s hard to come back from. 

These attacks can be prevented for the most part but for smaller businesses, it can be hard to avoid with the lack of security in place or awareness of advancements made in cyber ransomware.

Fewer protected IoTs

The Internet of Things is certainly growing with more devices being connected to the internet. With this though comes vulnerabilities that hackers can easily gain access to. Many small businesses will utilize a lot of these IoTs to benefit the business growth and as such, can be more vulnerable to becoming a target as a result.

Six Tips for Helping Prevent Cyberattacks on Your Business

How can a small business help prevent cyber attacks from happening? While cyber-attacks can’t be irradiated completely, there can certainly be many ways in which you can help prevent your business from being targeted by cyber crimes of any size or method.

Tighten security around your emails.

Phishing is one of the common attempts made on businesses because all businesses have multiple emails beyond just the one that the public contacts them on. With employee emails, having better security in place to filter out spam and potentially dangerous emails is going to avoid your employees falling victim to a cyber attack.

Protect your organization with the right malware in place.

The beauty of the internet is that despite the growth of cybercrime, there are lots of companies offering affordable tools and software to stop hackers in their tracks. There are lots of software that is accessible for your business, even if you’re limited on your security budget.

We would recommend you try a number of malware analysis tools where possible. There are many open source tools for monitoring security threats and assessing potential issues within the business’s security framework to make the necessary improvements.

You may also wish to consider software that prevents bot traffic to your website. This can be done with something like the ReCaptcha v3 score which most websites now have when it comes to logging into accounts or making a purchase via the online store.

Be wary of how you collect, store and use customer data.

With many privacy laws coming into play, it’s important to be aware of how you’re collecting, storing, and using your customer’s data. Even as a small business, you have the same responsibilities to be compliant with privacy laws as major corporations do.

This is also something to be aware of when it comes to cyber security. The more data you have, the more vulnerable you’ll be if you experience a data breach or an attack of some sort. Try to minimize data collection where possible and backup your data, preferably off-site.

You can read more on Osano’s site when it comes to understanding what protocols and processes you can introduce when it comes to privacy policies and user consent. Be sure to have the right systems in place to protect your customer’s data. You don’t want to lose your customer’s trust, at the end of the day.

Focus on strengthening mobile and tablet devices.

There are a lot more people online that are using mobile and tablet devices over desktops. As of January 2cyber-security-2765707__340.jpg022, 55% of the global market uses mobile phones, making them the number one target for cybercriminals to attack. With mobile devices, they can also tend to be more vulnerable because of their lack of security on them. 

With that being said, it’s important to be careful of how you’re using company phones and tablets. What are they accessing and what information is being stored on them? Like user data, you want to try and minimize the confidential data that might be on these devices, should they get lost or stolen. 

Remote access can be helpful in these situations where your employee may no longer be in possession of the device. Be wary about who you supply devices to as not every member of staff needs to own a company phone. It’s also worth having a place to lock away devices when they’re not being used so that they’re not being left out or switched on for too long.

Strengthen passwords and use two-factor authentication.

When it comes to your passwords, it’s very easy to become lax and complacent. As such, many of us will end up setting passwords that are easy to crack or are also the passwords for other logins. 

For personal use, it might not be so worrying but for small businesses, it can be dangerous. It only takes one password to be hacked in order for it to cause a data breach. 

With that said, it’s essential that you’re strengthening your passwords by having an individual password for each login. You should also be using an assortment of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols to strengthen your passwords even more.

Two-factor authentication is used even more nowadays, whether that’s a password sent to the email of the account holder or a code they get sent via SMS. There’s also facial and fingerprint recognition which can provide extra security to your accounts. The more you can do to protect the business, the better, which means making your passwords stronger.

cybersecurity-6949298__340.pngTrain your employees to be more aware of cyber-attack methods.

Employees are a notable threat to any business because human error can easily cause a cyber attack to be successful. Not every employee has had the relevant experience or training to notice when there’s a potential hacker or scam taking place.

We can’t assume that all staff members are proficient with this knowledge as it’s forever changing and becoming more effective in its success rates. Training your employees is a valuable investment that is going to help further prevent cyber attacks from occurring. You want to try and do everything in your power possible and training can help with that.

Consider what training is available externally and how often you choose to implement this training. Some staff may need regular refreshers and new training might need to be delivered when new methods of cyber malware or attacks are used.

These practical tips are a good way to be proactive in your attempts to prevent cyber attacks from happening to your small business. It’s worth doing a security and IT audit on your business to understand the vulnerabilities you may have as a business and how these can be improved immediately.

Implement These Practical Methods to Improve Your Cybersecurity This Year

As a small business, you can’t afford to drop the ball when it comes to cyber security and potential threats that could occur within your business. Be sure to implement these practical tips so that your business can be safe from threats in 2022 and beyond.

It’s important to remember that simply because you’re a small business, doesn’t mean you won’t get noticed by hackers. If anything, you’re more of a likely target. Make sure you’re preventing any cyber attacker from being successful.

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