The internet is where every business, regardless of its magnitude, can find opportunities to work efficiently and flourish. However, the same internet can make your business vulnerable if you are not careful enough. From managing a website to cloud computing, the fear of data theft is everywhere.
As a small business owner, if you think that nobody will target your enterprise, then you’re misguided. This attitude will allow a cybercriminal to sneak into your business databases. Consequently, you might lose confidential information.
Not to mention, this will exploit your years of efforts and goodwill, especially for your clients. Hackers even demand a hefty ransom to hand over your company’s data. Therefore, you should deploy proven cybersecurity strategies to keep your business functional and productive.
In addition, you can avoid data breaches and keep your customer information safe from digital threats.
Let’s review proven and effective cybersecurity policies for small businesses.
1. Spread Awareness
CCTV Repair Dubai professionals confirmed that 46% of the total cybercriminal breaches affected small businesses in 2021. The lack of enough education on cybersecurity and its importance can contribute to such large numbers.
Hence, you should start from the basics to educate your business employees. Conduct seminars to explain why they should password-protect their devices, how to use the internet cautiously, and more. In addition, keep them informed about new changes or cyber-attack techniques. Thus, they can learn more about cybersecurity policies and handle data more carefully.
2. Protect Your Enterprise Hardware
Your small business owns tons of hardware, such as computers, servers, security cameras, etc. Ensure that they are password-protected. Ask your employees to use unique passwords on their computers so nobody else can access them.
Besides this, try to keep computers clutter-free. The computers should have the latest operating system installed. The latest software can defend the system against any crucial cybersecurity threat.
Ensure only permitted employees or officials can handle servers and other critical data sources. Apart from this, keep monitoring your business’s security cameras. Keep updating their passwords and install software updates if available. Moreover, keep flash and external drives in a safe and locked place.
3. Use a Firewall as well as Antivirus
Are you afraid that intruders can access your business’s private networks? Don’t take a chance and deploy a firewall on your business network. Basically, a firewall is a shield that restricts sceptical traffic and software from entering your system.
Before you commit to any firewall, check out its type and find if it would be helpful. On average, software and hardware firewalls are available on the market. Moreover, test whether the selected firewall offers virus-scanning facilities.
If the firewall can’t scan for viruses, an antivirus is a must-have for your business. Ask your employees to install the right antivirus software on their respective machines. Hence, antivirus software can filtrate data breaching threats and keep your business away from opportunists’ eyes.
4. Focus on Email Security
Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report from 2019 has mentioned that almost half of the harmful emails originated from office files. For example, an employee can share an email with malicious attachments with other employees. And, that employee who circulated the email might have no idea it could be malicious.
Hence, mention some preliminary email safety precautions. For instance, you can add the following behavioural rules:
- Not opening malicious attachments or links
- Not circulating emails with such attachments
- Encrypting documents with a password so that only the sender and recipient can access
Additionally, your employees should be able to differentiate between an official and a phishing email. Implement these strategies to reap the benefits in the cybersecurity field.
5. Pay Attention to Wi-Fi Networks
You must have installed routers and other necessary network equipment to establish a working Wi-Fi network around your workplace. However, you should have changed the default passwords of every access point to encrypt them strongly.
In addition, you should always opt for a WPA2 protocol or a higher one to set a network password. On top of that, hide your primary business network from outsiders. Thus, the main Wi-Fi networks won’t broadcast their names. Keep updating routers’ firmware for updated bug fixes and security enhancements.
If you think it’s rude that your guests can’t access a Wi-Fi network, then there’s a way out. As a solution, set up a dedicated guest Wi-Fi network. Remember to assign a different name and password to that guest network than those access points that your employees use.
6. Prioritise File Backups
Ransomware is the most threatening and common way to steal data from any company or enterprise. Have you any solid plan about handling the condition if your company files are stolen or compromised?
Your business will collapse in a few minutes if ransomware strikes your enterprise. To avoid such misfortune, you should enforce backup methods. Keep several copies of data on different computers and smartphones. On the other hand, invest in a backup program that copies your files and stores them automatically.
Apart from relying on offline backups, you can opt for online backups too. For example, you can register your business on a cloud storage service. Thus, you can easily retrieve compromised or corrupted files if anything happens.
7. Strengthen Passwords
A password such as ‘admin1234’ or that includes a name can be easily guessed by hackers. Any device that contains confidential and sensitive information should be secured by strong encryption.
Ensure that your employees use strong and unique passwords. A strong password should contain at least 12 characters. In addition, a password should combine upper-case and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers.
Hence, hackers will find it difficult to crack a strong password. That’s how your devices and their information will remain safe from any brute-force attack. Moreover, your employees should update passwords at regular intervals. You can consider implementing multifactor authentication for employees’ devices and business apps as a bonus tip.
8. Shield Payment Processors
Undoubtedly, your business works with numerous payment processors or banks. It’s crucial to keep them updated and secure at any cost. Otherwise, the business or your customers might suffer from malfunctions or financial loss.
Keep in mind to select an advanced yet less complex payment processor. Hence, you won’t face much difficulty in maintaining the processor’s security. To be safe, follow the payment processor’s use guidelines and more details before you commit.
Extra Tips to Make Things Work Out
Limit data authority among employees. Access sensitive data and client information to specific employees only if they resonate with the assigned role or task. Additionally, employees should not use third-party software without permission. Ask employees to encrypt their mobile devices, especially if they work remotely.
If you manage too many passwords, provide them with a trusted and efficient password manager. This tool can remember passwords and warn employees if a single password is reused. Use a VPN service for all-rounder protection.