Cyber-crime is currently one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. In fact, in the whole world, there is a new cyber-attack every 39 seconds! Well, a majority of small to medium-sized business (SMB) owners think that their businesses cannot be attacked by cybercriminals as there is “not much to steal”. This is quite an unfortunate misconception!
Studies have shown that SMBs have become major targets by cybercriminals. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, in every 5 SMBs, one has faced a cybercrime in the last two years. The vulnerability is owed the fact that SMBs tend to focus little efforts on cybersecurity. Now, this just shows that as anSMB owner, you need to strengthen the security of your network as you are at high risk of a cyber-attack.
Let us cover some of the best practices that can help you secure your small to medium-sized business.
9 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small to Medium-size Enterprises
1. Practice use of safe passwords
According to a study conducted by Verizon Data Breach Investigation in 2016, 63% of the data breaches that happen were attributed to weak, lost, or stolen passwords. Yes, in your SMB, you can prevent this by merely enforcing the use of the strong password as in those that combine lower and upper case letters, symbols, and numbers. Also, ensure that your staff keep changing of password mostly after every 2-3 months and restrict the sharing of passwords among employees.
These are just a few simple password security measures you need to use in your business. There are other password security measures that can help take care of passwords in your enterprise.
2. Train your employees on cybercrime
In your SMB, you cannot be the only person that is fighting cybercrime. It is almost impossible to do it alone with attacks coming in different fashions. You have to train employees in a way that they can be able to assess to understand the best practices to defend against attacks. The training will enable them to assess the risks of cyber-attacks like spear-phishing. They will know the measures they need to take to protect your SMB from cyber-attacks.
Remember, the sophistication of the cybercriminals attack techniques increase every day. So you have to regularly update the employees on new protocols that come up in the fight against cybercrime. Ensure that every employee takes the training on the cyber policies and practices seriously by doing things like cyberattack drills.
3. Make use of strong firewalls
As SMB, you should install filter traffic in your network. You can do so by installing firewalls in your networks. As per the set security rules, it controls and monitors traffic in the network and provides a barrier between your network and external network. The barrier makes it hard for cybercriminals or unauthorized parties to access your data. In other words, make sure that in all you have firewalls in your business networks, either accessed in-office or from home. They can be implemented as both hardware and software types depending on the level of security required.
4. Use an SSL certificate to protect your data
SSL certificate bind your SMB details using cryptographic algorithms. If you install the SSL certificate successfully in your website server, the application protocol HTTP changes to HTTPS with’s’ standing for secure. The HTTPs protocol means that the connection between the server and the client is encrypted using the SSL certificate, and therefore it is more secure. Basically, an HTTP message is encrypted before transmission and decrypted on arrival.
The SSL certificate is a perfect approach to ensuring the confidentiality, protection, and authenticity of the information as consumers interact with you via your business site. Here is a list of cheapest SSL certificate providers which helps you to buy SSL certificate in lowest prices. There are many types of SSL certificates, you can use for business security.
For example, you can buy COMODO Positive SSL at $5/yr from Cheapsslshop.com to secure your single domain business site from any possible attack. It will help secure your brand and your consumers from a possible cyber attack.
5. Install security software in your devices and networks
Cyber-attack techniques such as phishing emails usually work by installing malware into your device or network at the click of the link sent into your email. However, if there you have anti-malware security software in your device or system, it can helpdetect the malware and remove them. However, you should always update your software for efficient protection.
6. Use multi-factor Authentication
The multi-factor identification mechanism allows access to a device or network only after presenting two or more pieces of authentication details. For example, you can enhance your business security by making use of the employee cellphones for authentication other than passwords. This is a two-factor authentication (2FA) where a pin or code can be sent to their cellphones and they have to enter the details to gain access to some key systems. This multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of protection to your data as it minimizes the possibility of data access by unauthorized personnel.
7. Carry out documentation of your security policies and protocols
Documenting policies and protocols is another good way of ensuring security is taken seriously.Some of them include how to protect your SMBs from attacks, how to conduct training and cybersecurity checklist, etc. The policies should also cover other mobile devices that access your network like smartwatches. They too should be factored in as the Bring Your Own Device(BYOD) trend gains traction in SMBs.
8. Backup your data
Given that the cybercriminals are coming up with new attack strategies each day, it is safer to have all your data backed up in case you fall victim. Store all your data in a separate device, including using the cloud. Implement redundancy in storage if you can and keep your data in separate locations. This will help protect critical data from incidences like theft, fire, and other unforeseen disasters.
Tip: Continually back up data and check for the functionality of your backups to ensure you can get up faster should disaster strike.
9. Get guidance from IT Security experts
As an owner of SMBs, you may not know everything on cybercrime or even have the resources to hire pros in this. Well, you can seek assistance from an expert on cybersecurity. You can even outsource IT services from a firm that is highly trusted locally or remotely.
Cyber security should be a significant concern in any SMB as attackers keep developing new tactics every day. In case your SMB is attacked, you can lose money and information, something that can constrain or kill your business. That is why you should make it a priority to protect your SMB from cyberattacks and stay updated on the new techniques and prevention measures.
See also: Cyberbullying on Social Media