13 Steps Small Businesses Can Take to Improve Their Cybersecurity

cybersecurity

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Do an Annual Security Check

Murray NewlandsWork with a security advisor to do an annual check for vulnerabilities to determine the best place to make an investment in new technology. This can help small-business owners get the most for the money they invest in security and uncover areas they didn’t realize were vulnerable. – Murray NewlandsSighted 

2. Implement Standards Early

Blair ThomasDeveloping and implementing a strong password procedure for your company early will save you a very big headache down the road. From our experience, it’s worth the time and effort to find a password policy that works best for your team. Use an app (like 1Password) to make adoption universal and to assist in ensuring your policy is maintained consistently with each user. – Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

3. Talk to Your Employees About It

Diego OrjuelaCybersecurity is as strong as your weakest link. We had invested tons of money into designing solutions to keep our systems safe, until one day we learned that a team member had lost their phone. They did not have a code to unlock it. Invest your time in speaking to your employees about the importance of keeping their systems safe. They are the gatekeepers in safeguarding your data. – Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors 

4. Make Sure the Plan Is Being Followed

Shawn SchulzeEstablish password standards (or implement a password manager) and code development best practices (and ensure they are followed). Make sure everyone who has access to your company’s tech, data and infrastructure adheres to your standards. Proper planning only works if the plan is followed. – Shawn SchulzeCallerCenter.com 

5. Use Two-Factor Authentication

James SimpsonWe require that everyone on our team has two-factor authentication enabled on all business-critical accounts, such as code repos and e-mail, etc. This isn’t a foolproof system, but it is a big step in the right direction to avoid falling into the trap of stolen passwords that have become far too common these days. – James SimpsonGoldFire Studios 

6. Look Into a Password Management Utility

Robby BerthumeUsing a password management utility can substantially strengthen small-business owners in the face of cybersecurity threats. Password management apps can help the organization ensure passwords are both difficult to hack and easy to remember. By centralizing the password process, these apps ensure passwords, which are the first and most significant line of defense, are properly protected. – Robby BerthumeBull & Beard 

7. Stay Up to Date On Vulnerabilities and Security Issues

Andrew O'ConnorKnowledge about what type of security issues are happening, new compliance and regulations, and security solutions are the best weapons and they don’t necessarily cost money. It’s about due diligence, and well worth the effort to educate yourself through significant online content about cybersecurity on numerous sites like Medium, Business Insider, TechCrunch and more. – Andrew O’ConnorAmerican Addiction Centers 

8. Update Systems Regularly

Justin BlanchardAs a cloud hosting provider, we’re on the frontline of the fight against online crime, including the recent waves of ransomware. Almost every ransomware attack could have been avoided if the victims had updated their machines regularly. The same is true of many other types of attacks. Updates bring security patches and without those patches, servers and PCs are wide open to exploitation. – Justin BlanchardServerMania Inc. 

9. Have a Plan for Mobile-Device Issues

Marcela DeVivoMobile devices pose significant security risks, one that few employers are addressing. Require employees to encrypt their data and install security apps to protect from information theft on public networks. Set up protocols for lost or stolen devices, as personal phones increasingly contain critical business information. – Marcela De VivoBrilliance 

10. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network

Piyush JainMany small business do not pay attention to Wi-Fi network security. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the service set identifier. Password protect access to the router. – Piyush JainSIMpalm 

11. Install a Firewall

Karl KangurInstalling a firewall will help you reduce, and potentially eliminate, takeover attempts by third parties. If you pair it up with the right anti-virus or malware software, you should experience very few problems.- Karl KangurMRR Media 

12. Always Have a Backup

Patrick BarnhillAs the saying goes, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” One compromise and all of your precious data is gone. Having a backup will save you and your team time and money. Depending on what kind of business you’re operating, you should back up your data on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. – Patrick BarnhillSpecialist ID, Inc. 

13. Keep Asking ‘What Else Can We Do?’

member.yecI’ve heard many business owners say their business is compliant and their data is secured. At the same time, most of the security breaches happen to those compliant businesses that got too comfortable with their safety checks. Cybersecurity should be a part of every company DNA, not just tech and data startups. Change the mindset of “we need to do five things and we’re safe” to “what else can we do?” – Andrey KudievskiyDistillery 

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The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.