Do you run a small business and use space online? If yes, you will want to continue reading this informative article.
You may think that cybercriminals will not target your business because of how small it is. Yet, some statistics prove otherwise. Small businesses account for up to 43% of cyber attacks.
60% of such companies will close shop due to the impact of the attacks. The cost of cybercrime for small-to-medium companies is $2.2 million every single year.
The bad news is that hackers will keep on looking for areas of vulnerabilities to explore. They are also using the latest technologies to increase the sophistication levels of how they operate. You cannot, with 100% confidence, say you are safe from these unscrupulous individuals.
But, there is some good news. Small businesses can take some measures that can help keep them safe. Our article will show you how.
1. Understand the Present and Emerging Threats
If there are super resilient individuals, cybercriminals will fall into that category. They are forever looking for new ways to improve their cyber attack skills. That is why business owners must understand the present and emerging threats.
There are tons of resources available that will give you a good idea of what to expect. Space online is especially rich in such resources. You can also get advice from cyber-security experts.
Some of the cyber attack threats include:
- Ransomware attacks where hackers hold your data hostage. They release it when you pay whatever amount they’re demanding. Industry experts predict that companies could spend up to $1 trillion by the end of 2021 on ransom.
- Distributed denial-of-service (DDOS attacks) is when hackers overload servers with traffic. In the end, the site will crash, which can be a huge inconvenience for e-commerce businesses.
- Fileless attacks target existing systems to gain entry. These are the worst types of cyber attack because you will not know what is happening behind the scenes for very long.
- Remote and cloud attacks that target cloud infrastructure to cause data breaches.
- Phishing that uses malicious links in emails to gain access.
- Internet of things (IoT) attacks, and so much more.
Please note the examples above are barely representative of the threats you face. Do take time to educate yourself and understand the impact of the attacks mentioned above.
2. Develop and Put in place an In-House Cyber Security Policy
A cyber security policy is a must document for any business. Think about it like a roadmap of how you approach the issue of online security. Some areas to cover include:-
- Types of cyber attack threats and security priorities
- Data management and security
- Proactive and reactive steps to manage online security
- Roles and responsibilities of everyone within the organization with regards to your cyber security system
- Consequences of breaching security practices
Coming up with a policy document is not simple. It is a good idea to get the help of security experts to draw up a tight document. Once it is ready, everyone in the organization must have access to it.
3. Invest in the Right Security Measures
Proper security measures will be part of your financial plans every single year. Beef up your antivirus, anti-spyware, and anti-ransomware security systems. Use firewalls, proxy servers, and VPNs.
Do note, getting proper security is not as simple as walking into a shop and buying security products. You will need help from experts. They will come into your organization to get an overview of the systems. You get help with visualizing where there may be overlaps or loopholes that hackers can use.
4. Employee Training and the Creation of a Culture of Cyber- Safety Awareness
The biggest security threat is right within the organization. Every time an employee clicks on a link, it could introduce a cyber attack malware into the system. To catch up with work, they could use public Wi-Fi, which is a breeding ground for hackers.
An astounding 34% of businesses deal with insider threats every year. The cost of such hit $2.79 million in 2020. Within the last two years, there has been a 47% increase in insider threats.
Business owners must invest in training employees on cyber security. It is also important to check employee activities online.
Installing a proxy server allows you to track the sites they visit. You can also block any that you deem unsafe.
Remember, cyber security is not a management or IT department problem. Everyone must play an active role in keeping the organization safe.
5. Establish Proper Data Management Processes
Ensure that you have in place proper data management strategies. Have clarity on the following:-
- Where is the source of your data?
- How do you handle the data you receive – do you, for example, have classifications, depending on priority levels
- Who has access to the data? Zero Trust policy is the best way to go. Everyone has to go through a validation process before getting their hands on any data.
- Do you have secure data storage facilities?
- How often do you backup your systems?
- Do you ensure data encryption when sending communications?
6. Updating and Monitoring Security Systems
Installing proper security measures and educating everyone is the first step. You must keep up with monitoring of the systems to stay up-to-date. We reiterate our earlier statement. Hackers are always looking for ways to improve their trade.
You can be sure that some of the security measures that worked so well last year are no longer applicable in 2021. Keep up with the trends and make changes when necessary.
Run regular updates on whatever systems you have. Make sure you get the benefit of the latest security system features. Keep up with the developers who often fix any patches that could give hackers a way in.
Small business owners must take cyber security very seriously. It starts by understanding the threats and challenges you face every day.
The next step is to invest in suitable security measures to keep your systems safe. It is crucial to get advice from experts like ICS vendors so that whatever you buy gives you the greatest value.
Everyone in the company must play an active role. That is why training, monitoring, and creating a culture of cyber awareness is a must.