The way that we conduct our business today is very different than the way it was before the information technology age. We rely solely on technology for banking, accounting, tracking inventory, and backup procedures which means that cybercrimes are on the rise as well.
From secure passwords to virtual data rooms, this article looks at the most effective ways to protect your small business from cyberattacks
Why even SMEs need to care about cyberattacks
Creating a business is one of the most complicated things you can do simply because there is so much to worry about like start-up costs, finding offices, taxes, employees, etc. so, for the most part, cybersecurity is something that can be easily forgotten.
The news that we watch makes it seem like only the big Fortune 500 companies would be susceptible to cyber-attacks but in reality, about 43% of cyber-attacks happen to small businesses simply because they are more likely to be unprepared in this area.
Fortune 500 companies have what seems like an endless money supply so it wouldn’t be too much of a problem to rectify the situation, however, it is a fact that more than half of small businesses that have a cyber-attack will go out of business in less than a year.
This area of your business is just as important as all other aspects and should be a top priority. There is not a “one size fits all” for cyber protection, there are different methods that are suited for different types of people and business so it’s best to take a look at all of your options so you know exactly what you need.
More than half of all data and cybersecurity breaches are due to internal malicious intent or employees that don’t follow proper procedures leaving the company exposed and susceptible to an attack.
This is why it’s so important to make sure that to create an incident response plan so that all of your employees know exactly how to identify suspicious cyber-criminal activity and handle a data breach as quickly and efficiently as possible, saving you time and money.
Common cybersecurity methods
Now let’s go over some of the more common methods of keeping your small business safe from cyberattacks. You need to always be using a firewall for your browser and be sure to make complicated passwords! It’s best to have your employees make a long (12 character minimum) case-sensitive password with numbers and symbols as well. Make sure you keep track of how long these passwords are used and require that your employees change it frequently.
This will make it harder for criminals to hack your important business accounts by trying to decode it using some kind of illegal software. Be sure to implement a multi-authentication procedure for emails and financial information which will add to the effectiveness of this method.
An easy thing to forget, especially if it’s been hectic and you’ve been busy doing other important tasks, is being sure to update all of your anti-virus and major security software frequently. Most of these programs will update automatically but it is better to be safe than sorry, so be sure you’re checking that regularly.
Worst case scenario, let’s say that your systems do get hacked and they deplete all your capital and virtual assets.
Your fail-safe is going to be exactly what you have for your house and car; I’m talking about insurance.
Cyber Liability Insurance is going to be what will save you and your company if you have property losses or are held liable for data breaches while conducting your electronic business activities.
Simple & effective cybersecurity methods
Some more very effective ways to make sure that all the important aspects of your small business are protected is giving full security access to only the most important employees of your company based on their role or importance level.
Delegating this access to only a few in your business will make it easier to avoid employee malfeasance that leads to data breaches and if that does occur, you can limit the amount of time it takes to find the root of the problem or the person responsible. Implementing a multi-authentication procedure for emails and financial information will add to the safety of this method.
When it comes to storing important documents, financial transactions, company information, legal documentation it is best that you use a virtual data room for startups which provides a secure repository for storing and distributing these types of information.
You need to be alerted if there is something out of the ordinary regarding data anomalies, procedures, and unauthorized people accessing important information so your best bet for these situations would be the Security Event and Incident Monitoring (SEIM) software.
This will help you prepare and identify whether or not there is an attempt to gain unauthorized access. The SEIM paired with a solid procedure for a possible breach will help enormously and it’ll give you less stress since you know you have all the answers if that breach does occur.
The more eyes on your businesses cybersecurity, the better
You can delegate this responsibility for preventing cyberattacks to a Cyber Security Operations Center where trained professionals help and investigate threats and data breaches around the clock using state-of-the-art resources. This is more than likely going to be an offsite centre (although it could be in your building) that will deal solely with cybersecurity, not any other IT tasks or network maintenance.
On average, most small businesses have lots of digital assets on hand and this article has talked mostly about software/digital protection.
We are forgetting one very crucial aspect of security: things like cameras, visitor policies, and badged entry. Having a security guard on duty will also give you another (or multiple) sets of eyes to point out suspicious behaviour.
Even a small business can be a victim of potentially devasting cyberattacks, one that causes it to cease trading.
It’s always best that you talk to an IT security professional before you open up shop just so that you can make sure you will have the best security equipment and procedures – you wouldn’t ask your plumber to perform open-heart surgery on you right? This includes your company’s cybersecurity.
So always consult a professional even if you think you don’t need to because they can help you find your weak points right off the bat instead of you waiting for a data breach to happen and fixing it after.
Author’s Bio: Lori Wade is a writer who is interested in a wide range of spheres from business to entrepreneurship and new technologies. If you are interested in M&A or virtual data room industry, you can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn or find her on other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!