It can be tempting as a small business owner to assume cybercriminals aren’t interested in your operations. This is unfortunately not the case.
According to survey results, 23% of small businesses suffered a cyberattack within one year of the survey. The average cost for US small businesses was $25,612.
Other reports say that the average cost of a security breach is a lot higher, with businesses of all sizes experiencing an average cost of $200,000.
The takeaway? Small business cyber security is becoming more important than ever.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Instead, read on to discover what measures you can take in this cyber security checklist for small businesses.
1. Implement Cyber Security Training for Small Business Employees
One of the most important parts of improving small business cyber security is getting everyone on board.
The more your employees know about cyber security best practices and the more proactive they are, the safer your business will be from attacks.
Start by implementing basic training for your employees on the fundamentals of cyber security. Focus on what they can do to prevent breaches, such as using secured devices to access business data, carefully reviewing emails they receive, and setting strong passwords.
Also, don’t make training a once-off event. Plan regular cyber security training for your small business employees and refresher sessions.
2. Invest in a VPN for Remote Workers
Are any of your employees working remotely? This can pose a security risk.
Research shows that 41% of remote workers are accessing sensitive business data using unsecured personal applications and devices.
A great way to remedy this situation is to invest in a VPN. Having a VPN is one of the best cyber security measures for small businesses with remote workers, and is relatively simple to implement.
Once implemented, this will offer an extra layer of security for remote workers and their devices.
3. Don’t Fall Into Lazy Password Practices
Most of us know the perils of setting passwords like “132abc.” But this doesn’t stop us from getting lazy every now and again, which is why we have included this point in our cyber security checklist.
Make sure you and your employees are setting strong passwords that contain a mix of letters, symbols, and numbers. Each account should use its own, unique password. Avoid including personal info, such as your birthday. Also, passwords should be changed at least annually. A password manager can help your users create and remember these unique, complex passwords.
4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Another way to ensure your business log-ins are secure is by using multi-factor authentication, especially for accounts that are available over the internet. Multi-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security that reduces the chance of unauthorized access to accounts and devices.
5. Be Diligent About Software Updates
Did you know that software updates play a vital part in cyber security? As new exploits are discovered by cybercriminals, operating systems and applications have to release updates to fix these and keep everyone’s information safe.
If you fail to carry out regular software updates, this can open up vulnerabilities and expose you to attack.
Unfortunately, comprehensive updating isn’t usually as simple as making sure Windows has updated.
While a lot of updates happen automatically, sometimes there is an issue and an update fails. Unless you check and evaluate all your systems on a regular basis, you can’t know for sure that everything is up to date.
If you need help gaining insight in to the patch levels of your devices and routinely getting updated, we offer a fully managed patching solution as part of our cyber hygiene service.
6. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Another important small business cyber security measure to take is securing your Wi-Fi network. Ensure that you regularly update your router firmware and use the highest encryption setting possible for your network.
Some businesses rely on hiding their Service Set Identifier, or SSID, in order to “protect” their network. Hiding your wireless network’s name is unfortunately not a reliable way to keep people off of your wireless network. This is especially true if you do not have a password protecting access to your network.
If you are concerned about privacy, don’t use your company’s name as part of your SSID.
7. Have a Comprehensive Backup System in Place
One of the important elementary cyber security measures for small businesses to take is a comprehensive backup system. Consider where all of your critical business data exists – endpoints, cloud infrastructure, and on-premise servers. Once you have identified where your data is stored and how critical it may be to your business, then you can begin to implement an appropriate backup strategy.
Although a backup system won’t prevent cyberattacks, it will protect you from data loss. Data loss is one of most the serious impacts a security breach can have. Imagine if you lost all your customer and employee details, all of your accounting information, or all of your product details. Could your business continue to operate?
Ensure that you take frequent backups of your data and critical business applications, that a recent copy of those backups is air-gapped, or kept off of your network, and that you test recovering data from those backups regularly.
8. Install Antivirus Programs Across the Board
Installing a strong antivirus program is another fundamental way to increase cyber security for your small business. Not only should it protect your devices from the latest cyber threats, but it should also send alerts to a centralized team of specialists who can take further action if necessary to limit damage.
If you have yet to invest in antivirus software, do so immediately. Also, be diligent about ensuring that it is active on all devices employees are using to access business information.
If employees are working from personal devices, it is critical that you protect those devices just as strongly as devices your business owns.
9. Invest in Professional Cyber Security Services
Last but not least, we would also recommend you invest in professional cyber security services for your small business.
One of the reasons why small businesses are so often the victims of cyberattacks is they are ill-prepared and lack the in-house IT staffing and knowledge to fully secure themselves. Cybercriminals know this, which is why it’s doubly important for small businesses to source professional security services and solutions.
ihloom specializes in servicing small business cyber security needs because we know how much these businesses require comprehensive protection.
Achieve Watertight Small Business Cyber Security With Ihloom
As a small business, it can be tempting to push cyber security to the back burner. Unfortunately, this can open up dangerous vulnerabilities, and even trigger business failure if your systems are breached by malicious hackers.
To get started on implementing strong small business cyber security, make sure all of your employees are educated on security best practices. You should also invest in antivirus software, install it across all devices, use a VPN, secure your wifi network, and have a comprehensive backup system.
Although you can implement these cyber security checklist items on your own, you should also look into professional cyber security assistance.
ihloom’s core mission is to help small businesses achieve cutting-edge security. We offer breach monitoring services, attack remediation, security planning and compliance, cyber hygiene, and more.
If you require professional assistance with your security, contact us today to discuss your needs.