While all businesses are at risk of becoming a victim of a cyber-attack, small businesses are in a particularly vulnerable position.
Large businesses may have more data to exploit, but small companies are an easy target. With inadequate resources and manpower to fully prevent an attack, this places them at high risk for attack.
For reference, small businesses are the target of 43% of cyber-attacks. This means that cyber-threats are a real danger that must be addressed. Most small businesses fold shortly after falling victim to a cyber-attack, which gives a great reason to take preventative measures against them.
Even with fewer resources, there are still defense mechanisms that you can implement to protect your small business. We’ll go over four powerful techniques below to help improve the cyber health of your company.
Small Businesses Are Susceptible to Cyber-Attacks
As we mentioned above, small businesses are susceptible to cyber-attacks, but you might want to know why this is the case.
The biggest reason for this is because small businesses have very few employees. Most people have very specific roles that directly add value to the company.
As a result, there likely isn’t a budget for non-essential employees, like a cybersecurity team. That isn’t to say that a cybersecurity team isn’t important, but it doesn’t directly generate revenue for a small business like other employees might.
Without a dedicated team for network security, this usually results in poor cybersecurity practices or none at all. This creates an environment ripe for cyber-attacks.
Imagine trying to conquer two castles. One has guards stationed along the walls while the other is left undefended. Which one will be easier to capture?
Because small businesses are especially vulnerable, it falls on the owner and any upper management to create cybersecurity practices that keep the whole company safe.
Stay Updated on Current Cyber-Threats
The first thing you should do is stay updated on current cyber-threats. Hacking is an ever-evolving field that constantly produces new threats to your business data.
As a result, you’ll become even more vulnerable if you aren’t taking the time to learn about them. Network security is a field that requires constant change to successfully keep threats at bay, meaning that you can never get complacent.
Understanding what your risks are will put you in a much better position to combat them. Learn from the mistakes of other businesses so that you can prevent them from happening to yours.
Keep Employees Educated
Once you know what any current cyber-threats entail, you must spread this information to your employees. This comes in the form of training and education.
Even if you do your best to avoid a cyber-attack, it won’t do you any good if your workers aren’t informed as well. They interface with your systems and data daily, which increases their risk potential if they don’t know what to look out for.
You should educate your employees about what potential scams look like and any red flags to avoid. Sketchy emails are the biggest threat here as they can include viruses or lead to phishing scams.
Make sure everyone within your business understands what to steer clear of and how to practice good cybersecurity.
Practice Cyber Hygiene
Another important concept is to have good cyber hygiene. This includes four main tasks: protecting your internet network, creating strong passwords, using two-factor authentication, and installing antivirus software.
You don’t want anyone to access your network because this makes it much easier to access company data. Make sure your wi-fi name is hidden and password protected.
Having strong passwords is always a good idea so that they can’t easily be guessed. Make sure to use a variety of special characters, numbers, and both upper and lower case letters for extra protection.
Two-factor authentication is also great because it means there is a backup layer of protection should the first be breached. This will include something like a password paired with an authentication code or fingerprint scan.
If you don’t already have antivirus software, it can be incredibly useful as a first line of defense. It will automatically detect viruses and malware to prevent them from doing any damage. Make sure to keep them updated so that their features are always relevant.
Limit Data Access
The last thing you should keep in mind is limiting data access for your employees. This means restricting what each worker can access and only allowing them to view what they need to.
There are two primary reasons for this. First, it limits a fraudulent employee from easily accessing data. This is less common, especially in a small business, but there is still a potential that it might happen.
More importantly, the other reason for this is that it limits an employee from unknowingly giving extra access to a hacker. If their credentials are stolen, the greater access they have means more for a hacker to steal.
It’s important to know that you can trust your employees, but there’s never a good reason to give them access to all data within your company.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data theft. With less manpower and budget space available, only essential workers are typically employed.
Because of this, you must be diligent about implementing good cybersecurity practices. You can do this by staying updated on current threats, educating your employees, practicing good cyber hygiene, and limiting employee data access.Even if small businesses aren’t the most lucrative option for hackers, they are typically easier targets due to having fewer defenses. Make sure to prioritize cybersecurity so this doesn’t become the fate of your small business!