Cybersecurity isn’t just for big business anymore. Cybercriminals have upped their game and around 36 percent of cyber-attacks now target small businesses. With so many small businesses operating exclusively online in the e-commerce sphere or relying on online sales to support the bottom line, that’s very nearly an existential threat. If you’re worried that your cybersecurity isn’t up to snuff, keep reading for five steps you can take to shore it up.
All too often, cybersecurity training for anyone not in the IT department boils down to something like, don’t open sketchy websites on the business network and don’t open suspicious emails. Those are good rules of thumb, but not exactly comprehensive.
Since your employees are often the weakest link in your cybersecurity defense, they need more thorough training on things like social engineering scams, phishing attacks, and the need for good passwords. The better the training, the more likely it is that your employees will spot these things before you suffer a data breach.
Small businesses, in particular, often lag on the security software front. It’s understandable to a degree. If you aren’t up-to-speed on all the potential threats out there, it’s hard to know what intrusion prevention software is, let alone what it does. Yet, there are some essential pieces of software that you need in place to keep your IT infrastructure secure.
At a bare minimum, you need antivirus software installed on all of your computers. Your firewalls should be active. You also need network monitoring software, which goes hand in hand with intrusion prevention software. Above all, once you have the software, keep it updated.
A lot of businesses take a sort of ad hoc approach to their cybersecurity policies. Take bring-your-own-device as a case in point. Some businesses forbid it outright, while others take a laissez-faire approach. Still, other businesses leave it up to individual departments.
Your business needs a set of cybersecurity policies that apply business-wide. Just as importantly, you need those policies in written form. Ideally, new hires will review those policies as part of their onboarding process. You should also institute annual training to review those policies with all employees.
More and more, businesses of every stripe rely on their data. Businesses use it for everything from sales forecasting and identifying marketing trends to supply chain management and even product development. Given the important role that data plays in the daily life of most businesses, you’d expect business owners to be paranoid about losing any of it.
Despite the potential devastation that losing that data or even losing access to the data temporarily could cause, many businesses maintain lax data backup procedures.
That is especially problematic from a cybersecurity standpoint since you can use data backups to restore systems after they were compromised. Let’s say that you came under attack by ransomware. While not ideal, you can do a clean sweep of your system, reinstall your software, add some extra security measures, and then download all of your data.
Managed IT Services
The above steps sound like a lot, you’re not alone in feeling that way. After all, your average business owner isn’t an expert on IT, in general, let alone a cybersecurity expert. You might rightly wonder how you’re supposed to implement these steps without the requisite training in information technology.
This is where managed IT services play a role. Rather than try to handle all of those cybersecurity measures in-house, small businesses hire companies that specialize in exactly that kind of work. Let’s say that you run a hair salon in Austin, TX. Rather than try to learn all of that cybersecurity info, you’d look for a company that offers managed IT services for San Antonio and Austin.
Increasing Your Business’ Cybersecurity
Hardening your cybersecurity can look downright unachievable to the non-IT expert business owner. Don’t panic, yet. Yes, cybersecurity involves a lot of technical know-how, but you can do some things to keep your business safe.
Start with your employees. Provide training on common threats and give them clear, written cybersecurity policies. Beef up your security software. Automate data backups on a regular schedule. If you’re feeling unsure that you can do all of that or you know you can’t devote the time, bring in a managed IT services company to help.