Cyber security should be a top priority regardless of the size of your business. The cyber security industry is growing quickly but so are innovations in the cyber-crime world. Small business owners often have a mindset that there’s not much to steal in their company compared to larger companies, so they don’t put much effort into managing their security system. But most cybercriminals believe that small businesses have fewer controls and are therefore much easier to infiltrate. In fact, statistics show that 40% of small businesses in the UK had encountered security breaches last year.
You don’t need to invest in the most sophisticated cyber security system to keep your company protected from cybercriminals. Regardless of how expensive your security software is, if you’re not aware of the best practices in cyber security, your investment will be worthless.
Below are tips on how to manage cyber security. Educating yourself about these strategies can certainly go a long way towards protecting your business.
1. Keep Passwords Secure and Updated
Using strong and complex passwords is the best way to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your company’s most sensitive information. Unfortunately, most employees would use similar passwords for their work computer and personal devices. And when a disgruntled employee leaves, they could inadvertently hand over the account details to some criminals, making it easier for them to launch a cyber attack. In fact, an Insider Threat Report has revealed that 44% of companies had been exposed to potential threats because of the exposure of passwords by their employees.
It’s common for security breaches to happen from within the organization. That’s why companies should limit employee access to valuable company information. Using network tools in protecting sensitive files and monitoring access should be the first step. Multi-factor authentication must be required when accessing a sensitive network. This can add an extra layer of protection especially if the system is accessible to everyone in the organization. Whenever an employee leaves, access to key systems must be terminated and passwords should be refreshed.
2. Review Software
One of the best practices in cyber security is to ensure that your security software, operating systems, and web browsers have the latest protection. Anti-malware and antivirus protections have to be updated frequently in order to target and respond to the latest cyber attacks. When updating or replacing your existing software, make sure you purchase only from a reputable source.
These days, cybercriminals are very sophisticated with their attacks. Hackers can even infiltrate printers and other electronic devices. This is one aspect of cyber security that many companies tend to overlook. To minimize these risks, consider using a network firewall to restrict access to company printers and other electronic devices. If your company uses lots of electronics it may be worth hiring an embedded systems expert who can check over all your hardware and make sure all the individual systems, you may not have thought of, are secure.
3. Stay Vigilant
Phishing attacks are a common threat in various companies around the world. In the Data Breach Investigations Report of Verizon, it was found that 30% of employees have opened phishing emails. Aside from installing the latest anti-malware software in all your company devices and network, you should also educate employees on how to stay vigilant against phishing.
Remember that your employees are your company’s most important line of defence against cyber attacks. Therefore, it’s important that they are aware of any potential threats that they can face while working. So invest in resources that can raise awareness about cyber attacks in your organization and make sure everyone understands the risks of these attacks to the company.
A creative way to teach your employees to be vigilant is to come up with a presentation on how to spot a phishing email. Then conduct training, to teaching employees to stay alert when opening suspected emails and answering phone calls from cybercriminals. You can also create a fake phishing email to test if they are able to detect a potential phishing attack. Remember, your employees play an important role in safeguarding your company against all forms of cyber attacks.
4. Hire a Professional
Hiring a cyber security specialist is essential if you are a growing tech company that deals with a large workforce and especially so, if you manage a lot of sensitive data. The specialist can design and implement security protocols to protect your company’s computer network. This includes controlling the data that different users can have access to and implementing firewalls and password authentications.
One of the main tasks of a cyber security specialist is to ensure the safety of the company’s valuable data. They will monitor the flow of information within the company, check the bandwidth usage, and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.
When recruiting information security, choose someone who is well experienced in the field and possess the right certifications. Investing in the services of a highly qualified cyber security professional could cost some money but it’s truly worth it. Remember that a single cyber attack could cost you millions to recover. As a matter of fact, several small and mid-sized businesses have closed down after only a few months of operating due to cyber attacks.
Alternatively, if you can afford it, it’s also best to upskill some of your employees as cybersecurity professionals. A simple Google search for a term like “how to study cyber security” will already provide you with a list of online courses that you can let your employees take.
5. Backup Everything
You should always have a backup of all the relevant business data in your company, especially the data from your website. That way, you will be able to recover any information that you could lose in the event of a cyber attack. Fortunately, backing up will not cost you much these days and there are now plenty of tools and software to help you back up.
Consider using multiple methods when backing up data to ensure the safety of all the company’s sensitive data. You can store data externally, such as saving them to a portable device or through a cloud storage solution. But take note that cloud storage can also be hacked. Keeping a hardcopy on a hard drive is also a wise idea, although the most ideal solution is to use encryption when transferring and storing data to the cloud server.
Using multi-factor authentication for access to cloud is also a smart move. If you’re not sure about backing up data to a cloud service, seek advice from a cyber security specialist who can advise you on the most reliable cloud services to use.