Hackernoon logo10 Steps to Ensuring Cyber Security for a Small Business by@ravi-blog

10 Steps to Ensuring Cyber Security for a Small Business

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@ravi-blogRavi blog

โ€œMy business is very small, so why worry about cyber-attacks?โ€ I just heard this from a friend, so I was motivated to educate the small digital world owners about the significant risks of cyber-threats. This mindset about cyber-criminals not attacking their business and that they are safe from the digital threats is a myth because Cyber Security Statistics indicate that:

  • 43% of the cyber-attacks are targeted at small businesses.
  • 60% of SMBโ€™s shut down their business post-cyber-attacks.
  • The cost of cyber-crime for small and medium businesses is more than $2.2 million a year.
  • 54% of small businesses have no contingency plans.
  • 47% of the businesses are unaware of the cyber-security measures needed to protect their business.

These alarming figures indicate hackers love to target small businesses, which lack adequate web-security measures, budgets, IT experts, and contingency plans.

So, how can you save your business from being a victim of cyber-attacks?

First Steps to Ensure Cybersecurity for Small Businesses:

#1. Install a Firewall:

A firewall serves as the first shield of protection in the case of cyber-attacks. It acts as a barricade between computer data and hackers, and hence it is recommended for all types of businesses. They protect your data against malware by continual monitoring of network traffic.

They not only prevent hacking but are also successful in terminating virus attacks and hacking.

There are lots of firewall options available, so pick up the best for your business.

Also, ensure that employees working from home have firewalls installed on their systems too.

#2. Determine Cyber-Security Policies:

The most crucial step is to determine the cyber-security measures, which best suit your business.

With the help of your IT head, pin down the policies for protecting your small empire.

Documentation of employee manuals and strict policies are useful from a legal perspective too.

Example: If an employee has a signed confidentiality policy, he/she is bound to protect customer data, product details, trade secrets, and external communications.

They may be in legal trouble if found guilty of leaking the above details to competitors.

#3.ย Incorporate Strong Passwords:

A password's strength does not lie in the word complexities, but the combinations used for the same.

Example: An excellent combination of symbols, special characters, and numbers, along with alphabets, makes a unique and robust password. This acts as a defense against brute force attacks and preserves your precious data.

Strong Random Password Generator helps generate passwords, which protect your operating systems and give a tough time to hackers for penetrating the systems.

Frequent changes of passwords at regular intervals is the secret to secure your data more efficiently.

Tip: Never share your password with anyone or note it down on paper.

#4. Educate Employees Regularly:

Gone are the days when firewall and antivirus software was enough to prevent cyber-attacks. Employees run a part of your business. Hence,
training these employees to prevent cyber-security breaches and keep them vigilant in all situations is a must to beat the hackers.

If they are not updated regularly, they may erroneously download pirated software or compromised apps, open gateways for malware.

Example: Cyber Security Training of employees at regular intervals regarding cyber-security measures can help them detect suspicious emails and prevent phishing scams.

As per the SANS Institute, 95% of the successful attacks included spear-phishing, where employees were lured to identical bogus sites for gaining sensitive information.

#5. Regular Back-Ups:

Hackers nowadays have become more tech-savvy. Though excellent security practices are implemented on your digital business, there are always some back doors open, from which these hackers tend to penetrate. These unavoidable breaches can cause a catastrophe and wipe off your sensitive data.

Regular back-ups of documents, databases, electronic spreadsheets, HR files, and other important stuff will save you the trouble of collecting data from scratch.

This task may be boring and tedious, but it is a lifesaver when all the safety resources fail.

A full backup should be scheduled every month, wherein your entire organizationโ€™s data is stored in a single version. External hard disks are the best backup storages, which keeps your data intact.

#6. Install Anti-virus Software:

Apart from air, there are many viruses in the digital world, like malware, ransomware, trojan horses, adware, spyware, etc. They can damage your small business, causing irreparable damage.

Hence it is essential to install premium anti-virus software, which scans viruses in your computer, networks, and operating systems. It also protects your devices in case of human errors.

The most vital point after installation is to run updates so that the security patches are erased regularly, and the safety of your website becomes rock solid.

#7. Install SSL Certificate:

Though all securities like firewalls and anti-virus software are installed, your website still needs encryption security for communicating data. This security is provided by the installation of SSL certificates.

These digital certificates provide 256-bit SSL encryption and 2048-bit key length. They are SHA-2 compatible and provide 99% mobile-browser compatibility. Since they encrypt the data-in-transit between the browser and server, they make it almost unachievable for hackers to access private information.

Example: Cheap Wildcard SSL certificate secures the main domain and
multiple sub-domains with a single certificate. You can also buy the Comodo Wildcard SSL certificate, which comes with free Site Seals and unlimited server licenses. There are many types & brands of SSL certificates available in market.

#8. Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network):

A VPN comes with ample benefits. Apart from accessing blocked websites, a reliable VPN will help you secure your network connection, safeguard privacy, obscure your identity, and prevent hackers from entering your network.

They are quite affordable and can be configured within a few minutes.

Premium VPN services are also available who give a free 30-day trial and a money-back guarantee in case of discontent.

#9. Limit Access:

Prevent access to unauthorized personnel and safeguard your data. Apart from external threats, there are internal threats in the form of employees that need to be taken care of. The best solution for this issue is to generate login-ids and user-ids for each employee separately and prevent giving
administrative privileges to the entire staff.

Only trusted and authorized IT staff should be given the admin rights to keep your site and system secured.

#10. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

MFA provides an additional security layer because if one of the securities is compromised, there is still one more that safeguards your data. Using MFA on networks and devices will secure your data better since it is impossible for a thief to access both securities (i.e., password and the PIN). MFA helps prevent phishing, keyloggers, spear phishing, brute-force attacks, and man-in-middle (MIM) attacks.

Final Thoughts:

Since cyber-criminals are becoming more progressive, and hence cyber-security should be your top priority. Businesses need to be cautious and keep themselves updated about the latest news and trends of cyber-attacks and their solutions.

Updated software and SSL encryption securities are wonderful web-securities, but keeping your employees updated about cyber-attacks risks
will also help prevent losses.

Investing in cyber-security insurance is an attractive solution and can come to the rescue by covering your damages and helping you recover data by hiring recovery experts. In short, put in all your efforts to save your little digital world.

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