Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly risky for small businesses and the country’s economy. According to the FBI’s 2020 Internet Crime Report, about 800,000 suspected internet crimes were reported with losses amounting to over 4.2 billion dollars.
Small businesses have become excellent targets because they have the information cyber criminals are looking for, yet they lack large companies’ advanced security infrastructure. Many small businesses have limited time to allocate to cybersecurity, can’t afford professional IT security services, or don’t know where to start.
Cyber attacks are constantly evolving, but the most common types include:
Here are the top cybersecurity best practices to implement for your business.
Examine Your Business Risk
The most crucial step to improving your cyber security is knowing your risk of attack and making the most significant improvements. A cyber risk management company will play a pivotal role in helping you determine where your business is vulnerable, then help you implement an action plan, which includes advice on protecting your business information, securing your email platform, and user training.
Secure Your Business Networks
The Wi-Fi networks your employees use must be encrypted, hidden, and secure. If any of your staff work remotely or need to access your business data while traveling, ensure they use a virtual private network (VPN). Using public Wi-Fi networks exposes your company data to prying intruders.
Install firewalls in your office and home networks. Proxy server firewalls, stateful inspection, and packet filters prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to the business data found on the internet. Firewalls also flag problems, filter your network traffic, and protect your data from malware.
Consider Biometric Security
Verifying the identities of your users before giving them access to essential assets is crucial for your business. Facial recognition, fingerprint scans, behavioral biometrics, voice recognition, gait analysis, and palm biometrics are excellent methods to determine whether the users are who they claim to be.
Employing biometrics offers you more secure authentication than SMS and password verification. That is why biometrics has become a crucial part of multi-factor authentication. Besides, they are not used for authentication only. An array of biometrics-driven tools help security managers detect privileged accounts that have been compromised in real-time.
Behavioral biometrics analyze how a user interacts with input devices. If a tool detects abnormal behavior, it sends a warning to the security manager to act immediately.
Document Your Business’ Security Policies Religiously
Many businesses usually operate by institutional knowledge and word of mouth. However, this is an ineffective practice in cyber security. It would be best to document protocols that will guide you to know whether your current security policies are up to standard or need to be upgraded. This is a foolproof method that ensures the latest cyber security best practices, cyber threats, and technologies are taken into account.
Security policies are the backbone of enterprise security. So, your organization can delegate a cyber planner who records cyber security policies and best practices. It is also vital to update your policies first, upgrade your security practices, and train your staff to understand and adhere to the new policies.
Enforce Safe Password Practices
Employees usually find changing passwords to be a problem. However, a study conducted by Verizon shows that 63 percent of data breaches occur because of weak, lost, or stolen passwords. Most small and medium-sized businesses with password policies do not enforce them. Today’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) world is crucial for all employees’ devices accessing your business network to be password protected.
System security experts recommend that your staff be required to use passwords with a mixture of lower- and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. The passwords should also contain ten characters or more. Again, it would help if you made it mandatory for passwords to be changed every two to three months.
Use Anti-Virus Software and Keep Them Updated
Ensure you install anti-virus software and anti-spyware on each of your business computers and update them regularly. You can find such software readily available from various vendors such as Kaspersky Labs, Norton, Avast, and BitDefender, to name a few.
All software vendors provide updates and patches to their products regularly to improve functionality and correct security problems. Thus, configure all your software to install updates automatically.
Establishing proper cybersecurity practices and preventing access or use of your company computers by unauthorized individuals will go a long way in protecting your business from data breaches, loss of customer data, and financial losses. Follow these tips to ensure the security of your business data.