6 Ways small businesses can mitigate cybersecurity risks

December 20th, 2019
6 Ways small businesses can mitigate cybersecurity risks

Small businesses are big targets for cybercriminals. While attacks against big businesses might be the ones that make the headlines, the truth is that small businesses are a favorite, simply because they’re seen as easier targets. Most small businesses don’t have the same security measures available to large corporations, and their data security policies tend to be poorly defined. However, there are several ways your small business can combat modern cyberthreats, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

#1. Manage software updates

Outdated software can present a serious security risk, especially if it connects to the internet. Malicious code often exploits security holes in outdated web browsers and operating systems, so if you’re running an old version of Windows, for example, you’re more susceptible to attacks.

While most software automatically updates, you shouldn’t count on it. It’s also important to ensure all the software you use is still within its support life cycle. If not, it’s time to retire it (Windows 7 being a prime example).

#2. Train your employees

A growing number of cyber incidents stem from insider threat. As technology becomes more adept at protecting against hacking and malware, attackers are increasingly likely to exploit human ignorance and unpreparedness through social engineering scams.

Email filtering technology can help filter out the more common threats, such as everyday spam email, but it’s imperative that you teach employees to be critical of every email, attachment, and link they encounter online. Employees should know that cybersecurity is everyone’s concern. An ongoing training program is essential for making that happen.

#3. Implement multilayered security

There used to be a time when information security revolved around passwords, firewalls, and antivirus software. But now that attack surfaces span cloud services, mobile devices, and far more, there are many more ways cybercriminals can get into your systems.

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Fortunately, each layer of security you add makes it exponentially harder for them to break through. For example, adding a secondary authentication method, such as a fingerprint scan or physical security token, makes it much more difficult for a social engineering scammer to break into your accounts.

But multilayered security doesn’t just mean implementing multifactor authentication. It also involves using firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, anti-malware software, encryption, and web filtering to cover your business from all angles.

#4. Protect mobile devices

Being at a much higher risk of loss or theft, mobile devices are often among the weakest links in security. The fact that many people don’t use passwords or PIN codes to lock their screens makes it an even greater problem.

It’s important that you have a centralized administrator dashboard for managing and securing every mobile device used for work, including those owned by employees. You should also avoid having any confidential data stored on mobile devices, instead using them only to access data that is otherwise stored in the cloud.

#5. Prepare for the worst

There’s no such thing as a cybersecurity infrastructure that’s 100 percent perfect. That’s why every business needs an up-to-date backup and disaster recovery plan. Not only will this mitigate damages caused by cyberattacks, but it also helps you recover your systems quickly following a disaster like a fire or hardware failure.

However, cybersecurity introduces some extra concerns due to the needs of compliance. For example, you need a documented process for alerting customers if their data has been compromised during an attack.

#6. Get outside help

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing small businesses is that they don’t have the necessary in-house expertise to adequately protect themselves, even though they need the same level of security as large businesses.

The problem is having a fully staffed and equipped IT department is far beyond the capabilities of many smaller organizations. A more cost-effective alternative is to outsource your cybersecurity needs to a reliable managed IT services provider (MSP). These companies provide round-the-clock support and enterprise-grade protections at an affordable flat monthly fee.

Cyber Shift Technologies is one such MSP that specializes in cybersecurity. We can implement state-of-the-art protections and provide expert guidance to keep your business out of harm’s way. Give us a call to minimize your cybersecurity risk today.

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