With the advancement of digital technology, cybersecurity threats are becoming a top concern for businesses across all sectors. You may think cybercriminals won’t attack your small businesses. However, around 28% of data breaches that happened in 2020 encompassed small businesses!
In the case of small businesses, their less secure networks make it easy to breach the data. Also, lack of expertise for proper security, low budgets, lack of awareness of the risk, imperfect employee training, and failure to update security programs are a few more elements that pose risks.
Common Cyber Attacks That May Target Your Business
Cybercriminals use new forms of cyber attacks every day, but there are common ways your small business could get breached.
Phishing Emails or Business Email Compromise Scams
Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report suggests that around 22% of breaches in 2019 were caused by phishing. Consequently, 86% of organizations experienced business email compromise (BEC) attempts. Phishing attacks harm both individuals and organizations.
For BEC scams, hackers generally use subject lines that include words like request, urgent, payment, attention, and important. With these subject lines, cybercriminals encourage email recipients like you to open a malicious attachment or a malware-laden website. Specifically, they want you to open one that could download ransomware.
Watering Hole Attack
Hackers look for genuine websites in which targets show interest, and then they turn the site into a malicious website. When the user clicks on a link, downloads a file, or discloses any information on that attacker’s site containing malware, the cyberattack is successful.
These kinds of cyberattacks are not common. However, they pose a significant threat for you because they are very tricky to detect.
Drive-by Download Attack
Here, a malicious website tries to install software or code on your computer without your permission. Such an unintended download, even without clicking anything, leads to a cyberattack.
These attacks happen when your operating system is outdated. They can also happen when proper security systems are not followed on your business’s devices.
Key Cybersecurity Tips for Your Small Business
You can achieve cybersecurity for your small business with the best practices. To stay away from being a victim of a cyberattack, you should try to employ the following cybersecurity practices for your business.
1. Educate and train your employees with cybersecurity practices.
Train all your employees who access the network on your company’s digital security best practices and security policies. For example, you should emphasize the need for strong passwords, the regular updates on the latest protocols, etc.
Also, you should strictly employ security policies such as appropriate internet usage and the handling of vital data, like customer information. Get a document signed by each of your employees that states you have informed them about the security policy. Then, they will be accountable and pay the penalties if they violate the rules.
2. Provide firewall software and support for your internet connection.
A firewall is the first important element when it comes to preventing cyberattacks in your business. This set of related programs acts as a barrier between your data (on your network) and outsiders or cybercriminals. Enable the operating system’s firewall, install standard firewall software, or even go for an internal firewall for additional safety. You should also make sure that the home network, for remote employees, is protected by a firewall as well.
3. Install anti-malware and antivirus software for your business’s protection.
Even though your employees know they should never open phishing emails, it does happen accidentally. Phishing attacks invite malware on your employee’s computer when the link gets clicked. Therefore, you should install anti-malware software on every device and your network. Also, make sure your anti-virus software performs a scan after you install each update. Furthermore, you should install software updates as soon as they are needed.
4. Be ready with a plan for your mobile devices.
You should implement a BYOD policy that focuses on security precautions, if you allow BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Your policy should also include wireless wearables such as smartwatches or fitness trackers.
You need to prioritize imperative security norms for your business. This is especially the case if mobile devices have confidential information and are accessing corporate networks. Your employees should password-protect their mobiles, follow your company’s password policy, encrypt data, and set up automatic security updates. Additionally, you should encourage them to set up security apps. This will help prevent breaches while accessing the public networks.
5. Regularly backup your key business data and information.
It is recommended that you require regular backup of the crucial data on all your computers. This is vital to prevent the losses of cyberattacks. Your company data, such as your word processing documents, your databases, your electronic spreadsheets, your financial files, your accounts receivable/payable files, and your human resources files, contain critical information you can’t afford to lose. You can choose to do automatic data backups. But, if you don’t, you should at least do it weekly. Also, backup data is stored in the cloud. You should store your backups in a separate location to be on the safer side in case of natural disasters.
6. You should use strong and unique passwords.
Make sure that employees use unique passwords and regularly change them after three months. Try to use numbers, upper-case letters, lowercase letters, as well as symbols to create a strong password. Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report suggested that 63% of data breaches occurred because of lost or weak passwords.
7. Implement multi-factor authentication on your devices.
The multi-factor authentication provides you extra protection, and you should apply it on major network and email products. This is in addition to your employees’ password. Your employees’ cell numbers are a good option. This is because it is hard for a hacker to get both the PIN and the password.
As cybercriminals are getting smarter every day, your small business shouldn’t skimp over any of the above best practices for cybersecurity. All of your employees should make it a top priority. Protecting your data is mainly in your hands!