By Dan Polk
Cyber Security Tips for SMBs
Prevention is the best cure for any ailment, including online security threats!
Any business, no matter the size, is liable to security attacks. In the past, this suggested robber breaking in for a heist, whereas in today’s world, crime is more geared toward devious online activities.
Keeping your business safe from cyberattacks can save you from losing valuable assets and hard-earned cash. Here’s a list of cybersecurity tips to keep your SMB safe.
1. Train Your Employees
The first step any business must take is to train its employees against cyberattacks. Despite their popularity and recurrence, many people know remarkably little about cyberattacks. For most, cyberspace is limited to social media apps like Facebook and a quick Google search.
So, start by teaching your team about what a cyberattack is and how it comes about. Walk them through the different types of cyberattacks and teach them how to stay safe. Consider equipping your team members with adequate tools to ensure online crime remains at an all-time low.
2. Use a Password Manager
Password manager apps make for an excellent addition to your cybersecurity toolkit. These applications safely store log-in details for multiple online spaces. Using a password manager is like installing a digital safe. You can use it to lock all your valuable virtual assets using one master password. This ‘master password’ governs access to all the other passwords you may have created across platforms to help keep each one safe.
Password managers also protect against identity theft by adding an extra layer of verification.
3. Regularly Update Your Applications
Always update your applications and software to match the latest version. Many hackers try to take advantage of companies using older software. This is because they’re already cracked the code and learned how to commit online crimes on computers with past versions of the app or software.
Typically, software developers will release new version updates that include bug fixes and new security standards. They may feature new firewall or proxy settings or offer a new encryption system to help keep your data safe. Software updates are usually free of cost and can be accessed online. So, ensure to download the new system from a reliable distributor.
4. Don’t Click Unexpected Links
Misleading pop-ups are one of the leading causes of cyberattacks. Clicking on random links on the internet can lead you to the dark side of the web or even unknowingly download spyware onto your device!
So, steer clear of any suspicious-looking links and only download data from trusted and reliable websites. Be sure to share this information with your employees, too!
5. Backup Your Data
Backing up your data to a trusted cloud source or physical drive can protect against data breaches. Also, in the off chance that your system does get hacked into, you can comfortably access old data that you’ve safely stored somewhere else.
You can also back up essential data to a cloud system and wipe it from your physical computer. This can help keep your company safe from data breaches.
6. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication is an excellent way to keep your online accounts safe from hackers. Typically, hackers use special systems to help identify the password you have chosen for a specific online platform. They try to sign in using these credentials but won’t be able to get through if you have MFA enabled.
This is because MFA systems alert you when someone tries to log into an account under your name. You will likely receive a text, call, or email to help confirm that it really is you or a trusted team member who’s trying to log in.
7. Only Connect to Known Secure Wi-Fi.
Connecting to unknown internet sources is like jumping into hot water on purpose. Public internet connections are more prone to malicious attacks, as in a common case, the hacker gets in between the user and the connection to breach data. So, avoid public WiFi, be it at your favorite coffee shop or airport.
Consider investing in a personal or company Wi-Fi network to avoid compromising your online security. Remind your employees to do the same, especially if they’re working from home or in a public space.
Common Cybersecurity Myths
Here are some common myths about cybersecurity that need to be debunked.
Firewalls and antivirus software provides sufficient security.
This is by far the most popular cyber security myth that needs to be debunked as soon as possible.
While it is true that firewalls and antivirus systems offer protection against certain types of online threats, they do not account for the human factor. Nowadays, hackers are intent on directly interfering in their cybersecurity breaches. This suggests that they follow through with the hacking process in real-time, as opposed to leaving the entire scheme to a computer or bot. As a result, simply using a firewall and antivirus software isn’t enough to protect you from cybersecurity threats.
Hackers only target large businesses.
Many SMB owners assume their business is safe because it is not as “rich” as a larger corporation, hence assuming that hackers only attack firms that have a highly impressive revenue.
Unfortunately, research shows that SMBs are just as vulnerable to online attacks as their larger counterparts, if not more. In 2020 and 2021, the number of cybersecurity breaches directed at SMBs soared to 152% as compared to 2019 and 2018. 52% of small businesses experienced a cyber-attack in 2021 alone.
Hackers know that most SMBs don’t maintain strong cybersecurity measures, unlike larger corporations. This encourages them to attack SMBs and walk away with the company’s hard-earned revenue.
Dedicated software and hardware can protect against online attacks.
To ensure maximum protection, it is better to hire a professional cybersecurity agency to handle things for you.
Working with a reputed, reliable agency can also help you strengthen your customer base. Customers are more likely to trust your website’s online transaction system when a trusted security guarantee is in place.
Staying safe against cyberattacks should be every SMB’s top priority. Luckily, you can successfully protect your company by following the tips mentioned above! If you need help, Silicon Plains can help you implement all of the best security practices to keep your business safe.