As a small business, it is easy to get complacent when thinking about cybersecurity. Small business owners are sometimes under the false impression that only large companies are worth targeting. This is not true, and every company is at risk of getting hacked. We will be discussing the importance of investing in cybersecurity for your businesses and the best ways to avoid cyberattacks.
The Consequences of Data Breaches
It is a company’s responsibility to keep the information of its customers safe. Customers are putting their faith in the company when they submit their payment details, name, address, and other such information. When the customer receives a message letting them know that their information is in the hands of hackers, this has serious repercussions. They will no longer want to be loyal to a company that allowed this to happen, and they may even convince others to take their business elsewhere.
If a small business were to get entwined in a legal battle over a data breach, it will be very difficult to recover from. The legal costs and the bad representation in the press can be enough to put them out of business permanently.
Small Businesses Might be More at Risk
Small businesses might even be at a greater risk of getting hacked than large companies because they often do not have the resources required to prevent such an attack. Hackers know that small businesses often have weak security protections in place because they are attempting to save costs. The hackers will target the smaller business as a way of getting to a large company that they relate to or work alongside.
There is also the issue that employees at small companies are often not trained to recognize online scams. They might receive an email or notification of a software update from an unfamiliar source and click on it. If this is malware, it will spread throughout the organization.
How to Prevent Cyberattacks
Screen Third-Party Companies
You may find that you need to hire a third party for some work, whether it be an IT consultant, a marketing agency, or a freelancer. Before you enter into a contract with a third party, it is good to run a background check on the company. This means that you would find out information about their past litigations and verify that they have all the certifications that they claim to have. This check will give you peace of mind that the company is legitimate and will not steal any of your confidential data.
Conduct Security Training
Many people are not aware of the common types of internet scams. It is worth the extra time and cost that it takes to educate your employees about scams, malware, and cyberattacks in general. They will know what to look for and alert you or IT as soon as they see signs of a cyberattack.
You should also review the operations of your business to ensure that information is as secure as possible. Employees should only be able to access information that they need to do their job, and nothing more. This prevents the chance of losing data unnecessarily by human error. When an employee leaves the organization, there should be a cybersecurity policy in place. You should confiscate their badges, company IDs, and keys, and all their accounts should get frozen or deleted. This policy will prevent unhappy ex-employees from taking revenge against the company.
Strong Password Regulations
All devices and online company accounts should have the cybersecurity of a strong password. This will reduce the chance that hackers will guess the password and infiltrate the accounts. The passwords should be a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols and be at least 12 characters long. The password should not include something easy to guess, such as the name of the person, their friends/family, or pet.
Backup Data Frequently
If a hacker were to access a company device, they could potentially lock all the files down. You would not have any access to them, which can be detrimental to your business. Then the hacker will contact you, asking for a sum of money in exchange for regaining access to your files. This is a ransom attack and it is a very popular scam.
To prevent a ransom attack from sabotaging your business, you should perform frequent data backups. Some companies will encrypt everything and upload it to the cloud, while others prefer to use physical storage such as USBs and external hard drives. Using multiple backup methods is a wise approach, and this should occur at the end of every week, if possible.
Having a firewall is an effective method of preventing malware. It can prevent employees from visiting unsuitable websites and unknowingly downloading viruses. A firewall should be in place on every company device, including smartphones. Always keep the firewall updated to prevent spam and phishing emails from coming through. You can set the computers up to download all the latest updates and then shut down automatically at the end of the day.
It will be difficult for your business to become successful if you constantly have to deal with the repercussions of cyberattacks. By putting the proper precautions in place, you are setting your business up for achieving positive results. Your customers will appreciate the extra time and resources you invest in protecting their data, which will build their brand loyalty. By investing some resources now, you are saving yourself a great deal of time and money in the long run, as well as keeping your reputation intact.