People have the misconception that small businesses are not ideal targets for hackers. But the truth is small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the most prone to cyber threats. A lot of large firms and companies experience cyberattacks as well. Hackers find it easier to attack SMBs because they have poor cybersecurity.
A 2020 survey conducted by CNBC revealed that 44% of SMB owners would rather spend on IoT-connected devices for their business than invest in better cybersecurity. This is a major issue since hackers target businesses in hopes of stealing important financial information.
And the information being breached does not only include company information but customer information as well. This is why businesses should always prioritize their cybersecurity. If you want to protect your business, these are the steps you should take:
Hire IT services
Every business should invest in proper cybersecurity. If you are unfamiliar with how cybersecurity works or what software to install, the best way to ensure great and effective cybersecurity is to invest in properly managed IT services. They will be in charge of installing all the necessary hardware, updating software and licenses, upgrading servers, providing technical support, and all-around cybersecurity protection.
These services are actually more affordable than most people think and are certainly cost-effective. They will also be able to provide you with support at any time of the day. So if you notice suspicious or unusual data, you can always contact them to deal with your concerns.
Data breaches are not always caused by external factors or just by the hackers themselves. A lot of data breaches occur due to internal factors. Now, what do we mean by internal factors? That means you or your employees. Of course, we love and care for our employees, and we want to protect them just as much as we’d like to protect our business.
But our employees, especially naive ones, might be the very cause of our security incidents. Privilege misuse is one of the most common causes of cyber-attacks and is a large threat. Employees might unintentionally or intentionally open an unsafe website or install certain software that isn’t approved while at work.
That is why you need to train your employees about these things. Educate them about cybersecurity and teach them what it takes to avoid security breaches.
Limit employee access
Besides training and educating your employees on cybersecurity, you should start limiting their access to certain accounts. Do not give every employee access to important files, documents, or accounts. You should only assign privileged accounts to employees you know you can trust and rely on.
If you can’t trust your employees to be left alone with privileged accounts, you can always monitor their use. And always keep a record of which employees had access to privileged accounts. This way, you know who should be held accountable if ever another security breach occurs.
Create strong and unique passwords
Contrary to popular belief, changing our password every three months is not ideal for protecting our accounts. Back then, it was believed that changing our passwords regularly would make it harder for hackers to attack our accounts. But the truth is, you don’t have to change your password as long as it is strong and unique.
According to experts, changing our passwords so often can be tiresome. It can lead people to create weaker passwords to meet the requirement of changing passwords.
Creating a strong and unique password together with two-factor authentication is a much better solution. If you have trouble thinking of a unique password, you can always try using machine-generated passwords. These are safe, so you don’t have to worry. But if you’d rather create your own, here are some things you should take note of:
- Make your password at least 12 characters
- Use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters and add symbols
- Don’t use symbols as substitutions for letters, such as ‘0’ for ‘O’ or ‘@’ for ‘A’
- Don’t use passwords that have personal significance to you (i.e., family names, pet names, or birthdays)
- Don’t use the same password for every account
- Remember to change your password if you know it has been compromised.
Cybersecurity is critical and should be prioritized by every business owner. Lack of cyber protection can result in several problems. Not only will personal information be breached, but the information of your customers might also be stolen. This is bad for the business, and you can end up being sued by your customers.