May 11, 2020

Cyber Security for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you should know the proper steps to protect your business while reaching new markets and increasing your productivity and efficiency. You should be protecting yourself, as well as your customers and their data from any cybersecurity threats.

  • Educate others – Train your staff on the basic security practices and policies, including requiring strong passwords and locking their computer when they’re not around. Establish rules that explain how to protect customer information and other vital information.
  • Secure endpoints – Keep all computers and devices clean by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. These will be the best defences against malware, viruses, and other security threats. Set your antivirus software to scan after each update and install important software updates as soon as they are available. 
  • Password policies – Make it a requirement that your team has unique passwords and change these passwords every three months. Consider multi-factor authentication to be implemented into your security plan. This will require additional information to gain access. Small businesses can also check with vendors that handle sensitive information to see if they offer any multi-factor authentication for your account. 
  • Set up firewalls – A firewall is a part of a computer system that is designed to block any unauthorized access while permitting outward communication to customers or other businesses. The operating system’s firewall should be enabled or install the free firewall software that is available online. If any of your team is working from home, be sure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.
  • Apply security patches – Many security patches will be ignored, which creates a threat that hackers know how to exploit. As a small business owner, you will need strict patching policies to prevent users from ignoring software update prompts. It would be preferred to send out automatic patch management, which would take the user out of the equation. 
  • Incident response plan – You want to have a cybersecurity strategy in place, but you should have another component in place – an incident response. To protect your small business in every way possible, you must prepare for the eventuality of a breach. An incident response plan outlines what you should do and who is to take responsibility following a breach. Once a network has been breached, some malware infections can take seconds and your reaction time can be limited.
  • Build a cross-functional security team – Technical staff are usually the first to jump into action following an incident. They will find the problem, assess the damage and start working to fix the problem. However, they aren’t the only ones the response should include. In addition to employees, your company should contact the customers and suppliers and advise of the breach. 

To fully protect your business, it’s important to implement 360-degree cybersecurity measures that include anti-virus programs, firewalls, and security solutions to protect your network and all the devices connected to it.