Cybersecurity is no longer just a “corporate America” issue. Cyber attackers are now placing emphasis on smaller businesses that are less protected and more vulnerable. And if you don’t have a plan for how to protect your business, that could spell bad news for you.
The State of Cybersecurity for Small Businesses
Cyber criminals used to spend all of their time, energy, and effort taking down the “big boys.” Large corporations, multinational organizations, Fortune 500 companies – those were the primary targets. And while they’re still firmly in the crosshairs, they’re not the only ones.
Large businesses have lots of data and money, but they also have pretty stout cyber security strategies. Thus it takes a lot to penetrate their virtual “walls.” Some hackers have enough time and resources to work their way through. But most cyber criminals prefer an easier route. And it’s no surprise that small businesses are easier targets. The data certainly reflects this.
The latest research shows that 43 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses. This is sobering when you consider that 60 percent of small businesses that are victimized in an attack go out of business within just six months.
Over the past year, there’s been a 424 percent increase in the number of cyber breaches on small businesses. And in 2021, 66 percent of small business owners are “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about cyber security risks. Sadly, just 14 percent of companies believe they have an understanding of how to adequately protect themselves against these threats.
4 Tips for Enhanced Cybersecurity
While cyber attacks have become more frequent and ferocious over the past couple of years, things are still relatively calm. Within several months (or a couple of years at the most), things are going to become much more hostile for small businesses. The time to develop a cybersecurity strategy and implement the proper security mechanisms is now.
Here are several steps you can take to proactively address these risks:
- Back Up Everything
This probably sounds repetitive at this point, but you need to back up everything. Security professionals have been telling you for years that the best way to protect your data is by backing it up. If you haven’t listened, now’s the time.
The easiest way to back up your data is by moving from a physical storage solution (like hard drives and devices) to the cloud. Cloud storage solutions like Box come equipped with enterprise-grade security that encrypts documents both in transit and at rest. And with granular controls, such as auto-expiration password protection on shared links, you never have to worry about unnecessarily exposing your sensitive data.
- Be Strict With Passwords
Most hackers and criminals still prefer to compromise accounts the good old fashion way – i.e. they like to go through the “front door.” And in cybersecurity terms, the front door involves logging into an account with an ID and password.
One of the easiest ways to bolster your security is by being strict about passwords. Not only should passwords be complex and unique (no reusing passwords across multiple accounts), but they should also be changed frequently. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is another must-have feature.
- Encrypt Data
Backing up your data with a cloud storage solution is a good start. But you also have to be careful to encrypt your data for even more security. If you’re using a solution like Box (mentioned above), you automatically get access to enterprise-grade encryption. However, if you’re using another platform or methodology, you may need to invest in encryption-specific tools.
- Properly Train Employees
You’re only as strong as your weakest link. And within the context of cybersecurity, your employees are your weakest link. It’s not enough for them to know cyber attacks are real – they need to be aware of risk factors, signs, symptoms, and other concerns.
Proper cybersecurity training is a must. Make sure you handle this as part of your onboarding process, as well as in your ongoing training and employee education.
Navigating the Hostile Cyber Landscape
The cyber landscape is hostile – make no mistake about it. However, there are plenty of security tools and systems on the market to help protect you from these threats. By investing in them now – before disaster strikes – you can properly navigate these challenging circumstances and keep your business safe and protected from malicious hackers and cyber criminals.