Cybersecurity is, without any doubt, one of the most popular online topics today. It has been dissected and reassembled over and over by many. Expensive systems and solutions are often glorified. This leaves small business owners with the idea that they can’t afford to access the necessary assets and resources to improve their security as big corps do.
Fortunately, this is not the case. Small businesses do have more than one option when it comes to implementing cybersecurity measures. Here are some very simple, yet efficient options small business owners should consider, ranging from staff training to VPN implementation.
Common Cybersecurity Threats for Small Business
Whether it is small, medium, or large, a business is a business, and it will regularly generate data. Using WiFi, email, and visiting websites while on the internal company network exposes all employees and business as a whole to certain threats.
Being aware of these threats and comparing them to the current internal business practices, goals, and plans for expansion can help small business owners choose the right kind of cybersecurity measure.
The most common cybersecurity threats small business face day to day include:
Phishing attacks – hackers often pose as legitimate business partners and clients sending emails with phishing links. This is a common practice to get to company information, account passwords, and sensitive data.
Malware – cyber criminals also use malware to infect computers or mobile devices on the company network to get full control and remote access to infected devices.
Cracked or stolen passwords – weak passwords can easily be cracked, and the consequences can be devastating because hackers can get full access.
Inform the Staff About Possible Threats
Education is a great preventive measure when it comes to cyber attacks. Given that small businesses usually have only a handful of employees, training and education about cybersecurity threats can be easily organized.
If everyone is on board with the best practices and countermeasures, the chances of you falling victim to a cyber attack are significantly lower. For starters, everyone should know how suspicious emails look like and which software should not be downloaded under any circumstances.
Start Using a VPN
A Virtual Private Network is one of the most affordable cybersecurity solutions for small businesses. A VPN encrypts all the data exchanged by company computers and other devices with remote servers. Even if hackers manage to steal this data, they won’t have much use for it.
This solution is very practical if there are employees who use their home network or public WiFi to get the job done. Even though those internet access points are not the most secure ones, a VPN will turn them into a safe haven. On top of that, it enables anonymous online browsing.
Address the Password Policy
Since easy-to-guess passwords are commonly the weakest link, they deserve some extra attention. All employees should start using strong passwords, which are at least 8 characters long and contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Passwords should be regularly changed as well. This practice will make it even harder for hackers to gain unauthorized access. If employees have problems memorizing strong passwords, business owners should encourage the use of password managers.
Maintain Regular System Updates/Upgrades
While hackers work tirelessly on discovering backdoors and bugs, software and system developers are not sitting idle. OS and software companies often release patches and updates to address security flaws in their designs.
Small businesses should leverage this free inoculation by regularly updating software solutions used on a daily basis. This also applies to other devices used on a business network, such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Small businesses using WiFi should also make sure to upgrade the firmware on their routers and other networking devices.
While it is impossible to completely protect a business from cyber threats, these cybersecurity measures will significantly reduce the risk of anyone falling victim to a cyber attack. Training the staff, using strong passwords, updating systems, and using a VPN as the most effective cybersecurity solution are measures that most small businesses should afford.