As you scroll through the depths of the internet, do you ever feel like somebody's watching you? No, we're not talking about the song by Rockwell, but there are cybercriminals scoping out how they can infiltrate your business and get access to its important information.
As technology advances, so do the capabilities of these cybercriminals waiting to launch a cyberattack. Because you're a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, it's essential you do the same, and our list of SMB Cybersecurity best practices can help.
So, What's a Cyberattack?
There may not be people running around with swords in a cyberattack, but it's an attack nonetheless. A cyberattack is an attempt to gather, destroy or expose sensitive data without authorization.
Some of the different types of cyberattacks include:
- Phishing: You've probably seen phishing attempts come through in your emails or text messages. Scammers send fraudulent messages that look like they're from a legit company, like a credit card provider or a bank, which often tell you to click on a link or open an attachment. If you do this, it opens the door for them to steal sensitive information.
- Man-In-The-middle Attacks: In this attack, scammers intercept communication between two parties to gain access to things like login credentials or account information. Man-in-the-middle attacks occur in places with unsecured Wi-Fi or public hotspots. Scammers might even set up a fake Wi-Fi network that's similar to a local business's, and once you connect to the fake Wi-Fi, the scammers can watch what you're doing and steal your personal information.
- Malware: Malware means “malicious software,” and it attempts to infect your computer through various methods such as viruses, a Trojan horse or worms.
- Ransomware: Ransomware is also a type of malware. A scammer demands money to avoid something negative happening, like data being deleted or leaked to the public.
Cybersecurity Tips for Small Business
The frequency of cyberattacks continues to rise each year, with 2022 having a 7% increase over 2021. In addition to the obvious effects of sensitive information being compromised, cyberattacks are also expensive. The costs of mitigating cyberattack damage have increased by as much as 80%, and no business is immune. Whether it's a Fortune 500 company or a small startup, any business can experience a cyberattack, and nearly half of all United States businesses have.
Fortunately, there are some Cybersecurity best practices you can implement to help protect your small company from becoming a statistic.
1. Keep Your Wi-Fi Network Secure
When you first purchase it, your Wi-Fi router comes with a default password. Create your own unique password and select the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) security option. WPA2 encrypts any data sent over your network and ensures only people with the password can access it.
You can also hide your network for added network security for your small business. Taking this step means your router won't broadcast the service set identifier (SSID), or the network name, for others to find. If clients or customers need Wi-Fi access, you can set up a guest account they can access instead of your main network.
2. Be Password Savvy
Just as they say “location, location, location” in real estate, you could say “password, password, password” in Cybersecurity. Passwords are one of the primary elements protecting your business's sensitive data from cybercriminals, so they need to be something that's not easily guessable by an unauthorized entity.
The best passwords are at least eight characters long with a combination of letters, numerals and special characters. However, length is often more beneficial than a password's complexity, so employees should create long, unique passwords they can easily remember. Ask employees to change their passwords periodically for added protection.
3. Use Multifactor Authentication
Multifactor authentication requires more than one identifying factor, such as a code sent via email or text in addition to the password, before granting program or system access. Text message authentications can be more secure than emails because the thief will unlikely have access to both the phone and computer.
4. Incorporate Antivirus Software and Firewalls
A firewall acts as a shield to protect your system from malware and unauthorized system access. Many kinds of firewalls exist, but they often fall into two categories — software and hardware. Firewalls are strong defenses, but they aren't impenetrable.
If your firewall doesn't have virus-scanning software built in, you can install your own, which is definitely something you'll want to do. Anti-virus software can scan your computer for viruses and other malware that made it through your firewall and remove them. It'll also alert you of an issue rather than you having to search for the problem yourself.
Anti-virus and malware protection can also protect your network should you or an employee accidentally click on a link or open an attachment from a phishing email or text.
5. Keep Mobile Devices Protected
The current age of “bring your own device” (BYOD) can create a logistical nightmare in terms of Cybersecurity, especially if the devices have confidential information. To help mitigate the risk, require employees to keep their devices' password protected, encrypt any data and install security apps.
These measures can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing device data via public networks. If your business is one of the 59% that allows BYOD, this step can immensely help your Cybersecurity plan.
6. Have a Plan for Cybersecurity
Having a Cybersecurity plan in place keeps you prepared to handle a cyberattack should one happen — remember, no one is immune. Your Cybersecurity plan should include both employee training and incident response:
- Training: Training shouldn't be a one-time deal. Set up semi-yearly or yearly courses for refreshers so that your employees are always thinking about the best security policies for small businesses. Regular training also enables them to know what to do in case of a security breach.
- Incident Response: Your incident response plan should include information such as entities to contact, the location of data and data backups and when to contact the authorities and alert the public about the breach. In addition to having a professional security company help you create a plan, you can also find helpful information like cyberplanner templates from organizations like the Federal Communications Commission.
7. Back up Data Frequently
Backing up important data ensures you have the most recent details should a cyberattack occur. Documents like word processing, spreadsheets, accounts receivable and accounts payable files are among the documents you want to back up. You'll also want to have a backup of any information that's stored in the Cloud.
Keep backups in a separate location so they stay safe in case of a disaster like a fire or flood, and check your backups regularly to ensure they're working correctly and you have the most current data versions.
Eden Data — Your Cybersecurity Source for the Modern Age
In this era of digitalization, your startup can grow in unprecedented ways. Unfortunately, while your growing digital footprint attracts your customers' attention, it can also catch the eye of cybercriminals.
At Eden Data, we offer our monthly subscriptions at a fixed cost to give you the Cybersecurity features you need. Maintain compliance with government security regulations and keep your customers confident in your ability to protect their sensitive information — without crazy hourly rates. Get in touch with us today to get started!