Small businesses are increasingly becoming the targets of hackers and those that lurk around the dark web. Too many small business owners feel they are too small to be on the radar of criminal cyber stalkers, but this is a naive and ignorant approach to cybersecurity. Though a successful attack would be much more profitable it was targeting a Fortune 500 company, hackers find that lax security protocols with smaller companies are much easier to breach. Regardless of the size of the company, a hack or other cybersecurity attack can wreak costly havoc on the business.
Create Strong Policies
To reduce the threat of falling victim to a cyber-attack, everyone in the company needs to understand the importance of cybersecurity. What is cybersecurity, you might ask? These are the security solutions and processes put in place that take both a defensive and offensive position against cyber threats or attacks. For your approach to be successful, not only do you need to purchase the best in equipment, but you need to establish strong protective strategies and processes among your employees.
Rely on a Robust Firewall
Without a strong firewall, your IT areas are left vulnerable to attack. The firewall is a defensive mechanism that keeps the outside world from getting into the business’s network. This is an important effort in keeping unauthorized individuals from accessing the data and information stored on the network. Though it does cost more money, a next-generation firewall is the best protection you can have. Don’t leave out your remote employees either, when it comes to firewall protection.
Create Strong Passwords
Leaving your employees to their own imagination with password policies will open the door to cyberattacks. Your company should have password policies that require a capital letter, a number, a special character, and lower-case letters. The password should also be a minimum of 10 digits long, and they should be changed often. One of the best investments you can make is a password manager, which makes it a lot easier to enforce security and keep passwords from being forgotten or oversimplified.
Conduct Awareness Training
As mentioned, everyone employed at your company needs to be thoroughly aware of the threats posed by the dark web and hackers. It isn’t just up to your IT department to set up a good defense. You should conduct periodic security awareness training with all employees. Cover the basics of security, the basic threats, how to appropriately handle sensitive information, and how to use the internet safely. Employees should also be taught ways to reduce the potential of falling victim to a phishing attack and how to strengthen their mobile device security. You may want to consider bringing in a third party to run a simulation exercise that will test how effective your training program is.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
One of the most effective password protection measures to be adopted by businesses around the globe is multi-factor authentication. This is both an offensive and defensive strategy, as if one password becomes compromised, there is still another credential that needs to be authenticated to provide access. It could involve the use of a text message verification or a confirmation code sent to a separate email, phone number, or individual.
Develop Backup Storage
When a disaster happens, your company needs to make sure it has protected copies of all its data. There are several security threats that will try to hold your data hostage, extorting millions of dollars if they can. You don’t want to stake your company’s finances and success on data and information. Having a data backup is a way to keep your information protected, regardless of what may happen. Storing information on the cloud can be one way to establish a protected stance against attack, but if not, always make three backup copies, one of which should be securely stored away from the company campus.
Cybersecurity is a growing threat to businesses of all sizes. You can’t afford to wait until there is a problem to secure your company and information. Be proactive, establishing both offensive and defensive security measures.