An Eye Opening Guide on Cybersecurity for Small Businesses 

 May 29, 2020

One in five small businesses will be the victim of a cyber attack during their lifetime. 

An attack like this can cause massive problems for a small business. Big enough problems that they may have to shut down. So having tight business network security is one of the most important things a business owner can do. 

The world of cybersecurity is very overwhelming if you haven't dealt with it before. Don't worry, we've compiled a guide you can follow to make sure your business is as secure as possible. 

Business Network Security Basics

Cybersecurity for small business requires a lot of work and effort to get it all set up and running. There is also a significant investment involved to get the right system in place. 

Companies spend anywhere between 5-20% of their total yearly IT budget on cyber security. 

When you are a small business, especially one that is just starting up, there is probably not a lot of extra cash laying around. Sometimes companies have to build up their cyber security in stages. 

There are a few areas to focus on first when creating a security system to get you the most bang for your buck. These areas are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks and their security can trickle outwards through the company. 

Setup a Firewall 

A firewall is a good first line of defense for any business. This is a group of hardware and software that work together to deter hackers from getting into your online network.

Obviously the internet is absolutely critical for any business, but that's especially true for small businesses. Unfortunately, there is so much data and personal information stored through our internet network. It really becomes a huge weak spot. 

There are a few different ways that you can build a firewall, software or hardware or you could have both. Once the system is installed it then monitors incoming and outgoing actions from your network. 

The monitoring system can filter our suspicious looking actions and even blocks them. A firewall is a good, fairly simple place to start securing your small business assets. 

Protect Important Information

The thing that hackers are looking for most is the information used in a small business. Why? Fortune 500 companies have made it more difficult for hackers to gain access. As a result, they’ve diverted their attention to small and medium sized businesses.

What that information is will depend on exact industry you work in but every business has sensitive things they need to secure. 

Taking a critical look at the information you collect from customers and clients can help you see potential holes in the security. This is an obvious area that most small businesses have protocols in place for already.

A lesser thought of area is the financial information of your business.

Just like we need to protect our personal banking and financial information, we need to do the same for our businesses. It would be catastrophic for a hacker to get that and use it to drain our funds. 

Check on Mobile Devices 

More and more small businesses are relying on mobile devices for every day responsibilities. 

Small stores or restaurants use iPads for checkouts. Small tech companies use personal laptops for projects. So many employees rely on their phones to do business as well. 

If there are any mobile devices being utilized in your small business, it needs to be added to your security plan. They are major vulnerabilities. 

One of the ways this can be done is through a PCI check-up to make sure your practices are standard compliant.  

Train Employees on Security Measures 

A shocking 95% of data breaches are cause by human error. 

There are just so many small actions that can lead to huge hacking opportunities. Not logging out of the system completely, clicking on a unauthorized link in an email, or just generally not paying attention to the protocols. 

This is why the most important thing you can do small business security is to train your employees in all things cybersecurity. Trainings should include potential hacking opportunities, what to look for, and the exact steps they need to take to protect against that. 

Regular cybersecurity trainings and checkups should also occur across the company. No one is immune from causing a problem. 

Every employee should have unique, strong passwords to get into whatever systems you have. A variety of authentication measures is always beneficial as well. The important thing is to take the time to secure your employee cyber interactions. 

Also, employees should only have access to what they actually need to do their job. No need to offer hackers more opportunities. 

Create Back-up Plans

It's an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes business data security just doesn't work. Obviously every business should do al that they can to avoid these issues. But occasionally a hacker may be able to thwart the security system. 

In the process of setting up a tight security system, it is helpful to also create some backup plans for extra protection. 

One of those things should be to make sure all of the important information for your business is backed up somewhere else as well. Having this in multiple places helps you avoid losing it altogether, which would be absolutely terrible. 

A critical part of your security system needs to be how you plan to monitor the whole system. Keeping track of what is going on and potential threats can help you quickly fill holes if they pop up. That's the best protection. 

Set Your Company Up for Success

There is so much to worry about when owning a small business. But cybersecurity should be one of the top priorities. 

Hackers improve their skills and techniques regularly but so do cybersecurity companies. The technology is constantly improving and your chances of being safe and secure are as well. 

The most important thing is to have some kind of business network security in place. Then it can be changed or improved from there. But getting setup and going is the critical step. 

If you're curious about your options and want advice on cybersecurity options, contact us today!

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