Almost every company in the world today relies on the web in some way or another. Whether they’re a full e-commerce company or just use a computer to store their customer data. While the web has done a lot for expanding business, it presents one major snag: cyber threats.
Despite the overwhelming number of attacks that happen yearly now, many businesses still don’t prioritize cybersecurity. This is especially true for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Yet, as many as 43% of all cyberattacks in 2020 were against small businesses. Sadly, that isn’t surprising to any cybersecurity expert, as many know that security is often not a focus at an SME.
So if there isn’t one already, it’s time to get a plan together right now. However, having improved security doesn’t mean shelling out thousands on expensive security tools or measures. Need some help figuring it out? Check out these 4 important (and non-expensive) ways to protect a business against a large chunk of cyber threats.
1. Secure the Network & Company Data with Encryption
The words “encryption” and “network security” may sound like they involve a lot of work and expertise to maintain. But there are simple ways to achieve a solid level of security without being a cybersecurity expert.
The concept of encryption is fairly easy to understand too. In simple terms, it is a method used to scramble data so that only those with permission can unscramble and see the actual data. The easiest way to encrypt a network connection is with a VPN. That may sound familiar because many companies already use VPNs, especially now when remote work is more prevalent than ever.
Securing data like files and documents has become just as convenient, with plenty of encryption tools and secure cloud services on offer. Although, be careful when choosing because cloud services aren’t always safe either. The key is to find a VPN, encryption tool, and cloud provider that suits the business’s needs at a price that fits its budget.
2. Integrate Security Training Into the Company Culture
Cybersecurity shouldn’t be something to tick off a list somewhere and move on. It should be part of the way people do their work every day. That requires changing the company culture to be more security conscious through regular training.
Employees need to understand their role in keeping the company safe. And with the biggest percentage of cyberattacks at companies resulting from social engineering, it’s a big responsibility indeed. Keep employees informed on what cyberattacks (like phishing) look like, how to detect them, and what to do if they suspect an attack or breach.
3. Ensure Passwords Stay Protected
Passwords should be protected at all costs – that means following the latest advice on password creation, storage, and sharing. When it comes to creating passwords, they should always be unique (not shared between any accounts). Many experts now also agree that passphrases should be used instead. A passphrase consists of multiple unrelated words with both upper- and lowercase letters and numbers.
Then there’s the issue of the password being discovered if someone writes it down or shares it with another employee. Storage and sharing issues can both be solved by using a password manager. Premium (and thus reliable) password managers have business packages to link and share passwords across different accounts.
4. Keeping Up With Evolving Risks
The only way to be prepared for cyber threats is to know what threats are out there. Unfortunately, these are constantly evolving as criminals up their efforts to stay ahead of detection. So keeping up with the latest cybersecurity news and trends is essential.
But knowing is only half the job. The other half is action, which means adopting new security measures and repeating training to keep employees updated. It also means ensuring that regular backups of important data are created and stored safely.
Finally, every business (no matter its size) should also have a plan in place for a successful cyber attack. It should include what’s expected of employees, external communication to stakeholders, and who is responsible for mitigating the damage. At larger companies, this will usually be the responsibility of the CISO or chief security officer. At a smaller business, it may be the owner’s or IT head’s responsibility.
No company – regardless of its size – can afford to ignore or half-heartedly apply cybersecurity anymore. Digital threats grow in scope and complexity every year, and it’s only a matter of time before some criminal comes knocking. So take precautions today.