If you are a small business, how do you prevent a cyber attack from happening?
Hackers are now actively performing targeted cyber attacks due to small businesses’ weak security. In fact, 43 percent of cyber attacks today are aimed at smaller firms.
Unfortunately, falling victim to cyber attacks can be devastating. Cyber attacks can cause downtime, damaged reputation, and lost revenue that most small businesses struggle to bounce back from. In fact, cyber attack prevention is quite a challenging part for small scale businesses!
On the upside, if you’re a small business owner, know that it is possible for you to improve your security. Security solutions providers are even making their security tools more affordable for small companies.
For example, small businesses, such as yourself, can subscribe to cloud-based anti-malware and firewall services that can provide similar protection to what large enterprises already enjoy.
By knowing these pitfalls, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments or changes to plug the gaps.
Mind you, the threat is real. It’s not unlikely for hackers to be targeting your company right now. As such, you must implement stringent security measures that can thwart even complex threats.
The common misconception is this: Don’t Equate Small with Safe
Despite significant cybersecurity exposures, 85 percent of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a data breach. This disconnect is largely due to the widespread, albeit mistaken, belief that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber attacks. In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Studies found that 40 percent of attacks are against organizations with fewer than 500 employees!
Outside sources like hackers aren’t the only way your company can be attacked. Often smaller companies have a family-like atmosphere and put too much trust in their employees. This can lead to complacency, which is exactly what a disgruntled or recently fired employee needs to execute an attack on the business.
So here are 10 steps you can take to prevent a cyber attack on your company:
#1: Determine a Baseline of Security Needs
I know, it is easy for business owners to get overwhelmed by the multitude of security solutions for cyber attack prevention being marketed to small businesses. However, it is important for you to first understand what your business needs are so that you’d know what kind of IT infrastructure would be needed to support these needs. You don’t even have to waste your precious resources by going over the top in your IT and security spending!
Understand which business areas have to be supported by technology.
This way, you’ll be able to identify what software and hardware will you be needing. In addition, know where your data will reside. Will you be using an on-premises server or cloud storage?
From this clear picture of your infrastructure, it would be possible to identify what security solutions are needed to protect each of these components.
But remember, it only takes one faulty endpoint for you to fall victim to a cyber attack even with a small office network.
#2: Invest in Capable Security Solutions
Investing in capable security tools is an obvious step for you to take in beefing up your cybersecurity.
Endpoint protection such as antimalware and antiviruses, and network security tools such as firewalls are among the essential solutions you should be implementing.
Did you know that your computers and network are only as safe as you maintain them? So while it may be a nuisance for your employees to receive pop-up notifications to update their software, it is vital to closing gaps where hackers are trying to penetrate your network. Antivirus and anti-spyware tools are constantly working and updating to battle the latest attacks, but if every machine is not routinely updated, you leave your company vulnerable to an attack that can quickly take down the whole infrastructure. Remind your employees how important the periodic interruptions are.
You may also have to look beyond free tools and invest in more advanced solutions that can detect and combat advanced threats.
Fortunately, many enterprise-grade solutions are now available through the cloud. They can be easily acquired through flexible and affordable subscriptions. Most feature easy integrations that even an ordinary tech-literate user can implement them without much fuss.
You must also be able to test and check the effectiveness of these tools.
#3: Carry Out Risk Assessments
Conduct cybersecurity risk assessments on a regular basis in order to mitigate the risks.
There should be a separate department in your company that is dedicated to minimizing the risk of data loss
Risk Management is one of the key factors that contribute towards the growth of your company as it keeps the business safe from getting exposed to competitors who are always looking for insights. You can also hire a professional like a Managed Service Provider (MSP) – these are experts at protecting your company against threats and are known for producing positive results for your business.
#4: Use a firewall for Internet connection
Just like a castle has a moat and strong walls to keep the bad guys out, a firewall is a first line of defense to prevent unauthorized access to your computers or network.
The constant safety checks that firewalls provide help keep your data protected.
#5: Use Strong Passwords and Regularly change them
It’s important to discourage credentials reuse. Users who use the same password for their personal and professional accounts are putting both your company and themselves at risk.
Don’t repeat your passwords on different sites, and change your passwords regularly. Make them complex. That means using a combination of at least 10 letters, numbers, and symbols.
You can use a password manager to create and manage strong, unique passwords for every account. This way, you’d also be able to track who gets access to specific accounts and components in your infrastructure.