Cybersecurity is the art and science of protecting a business from tech-based security threats. Despite its importance, it’s often undervalued among small business owners. Many small businesses are insufficiently protected, and some are neglecting cybersecurity altogether. However, This doesn’t stop cyberattacks from targeting small businesses.
Is your small business adequately prepared in terms of cybersecurity? How can you tell?
And if you’re not prepared, what can you do about it?
Why Cybersecurity for Small Business Is So Important
Did you know that 43 percent of all data breaches are targeted at small to medium-sized businesses? In fact, 61 percent of all SMBs have experienced at least one cyberattack in the past year alone.
It’s no coincidence. It’s part of a long trend, and it’s an understandable one.
Small businesses are frequent targets of hackers and cybercriminals for two main reasons.
First, small businesses tend to be more valuable targets than isolated individuals. If you hack into a person’s private account, you might not get access to much money or sensitive data. But if you hack into a business’s system, you could walk away with significant assets.
Why not go after larger, wealthier businesses? It’s because of the second reason—small businesses tend to be woefully unprepared to deal with cybersecurity threats. Big businesses tend to heavily invest in secure infrastructure, making it hard for even the most experienced hackers to break. But small businesses can be easily exploited (and sometimes manipulated), making them much more attractive targets.
Why Most Small Business Owners Aren’t Prepared
Why are most small business owners underprepared for potential cyberthreats?
There are a few possible explanations.
First, many small business owners underestimate the true threat of cybercrime. Currently, only 5 percent of business owners consider cybersecurity to be the biggest risk to their business. And many business owners believe that their business is too small to be a worthwhile target.
Second, small business owners may not have much knowledge of cybersecurity; if you don’t know about the number or severity of threats facing your business, you’re not going to realize how important this investment is. Even if you do realize the importance, you may not know how to get started with a robust cybersecurity strategy.
Third, some small business owners believe they can’t possibly afford cybersecurity protections – neglecting the fact that even a handful of basic strategies can significantly strengthen your defenses and make you a more difficult target.
Cybersecurity for Small Business: Actionable Steps to Take Now
If you’re a small business owner who takes cybersecurity seriously, these are some of the most important steps you can take now:
Take Cybersecurity for Your Small Businesses Seriously
First, you need to recognize that cyberthreats are real, serious, and expensive. Once you adopt the mentality that cybersecurity is a practical necessity, you’ll be more willing to do what it takes to protect your business.
Conduct a Small Business Cybersecurity Assessment
Next, you need to figure out where you stand in terms of cybersecurity and assess where your biggest risks and weaknesses lie. With a simple audit, you can take inventory of your current systems, tools, and processes to determine how much of a cybersecurity shortfall you have.
Work With a Professional Cybersecurity Company
The best option for most small business owners is to work with a professional cybersecurity company. Professional organizations typically have access to trained, experienced professionals, a robust assortment of tools and resources, and the accountability and consistency to do an excellent job of protecting your business. In other words, they’re well worth the investment.
Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
Disaster recovery services are indispensable. In the event that your best defenses fail or your systems and data are threatened by natural disasters, you need to be able to call upon a backup and restore your lost data and work. With proper planning, you can bounce back from disaster in a matter of days, minimizing downtime and restoring full productivity as quickly as possible.
Set Up a Secure Network
Secure your network with tools like VPNs, firewalls, and other defensive measures. There’s no such thing as a “hack proof” system, but each layer of security you add to your organization is going to make you a less attractive target to opportunistic cybercriminals.
Practice Ongoing Monitoring
You never know what the next threat will be or where it’s going to come from. But you’ll be much better informed and in a much better position to respond if you practice ongoing monitoring. You should automatically keep tabs on traffic and behavioral patterns within your organization and outside of it; suspicious activity should trigger an automatic flag, allowing you to assess the threat and take action before it grows to become any worse. Ideally, you’ll be monitoring your network 24/7 with dedicated professionals on call to take action when required.
Be on the Lookout for Common Scams and Schemes
One of the most common types of attacks is phishing—a form of social engineering in which the attacker attempts to gain access to sensitive information from a given target. If you’re not familiar with this type of attack, you might be likely to fall for it. But if you know all the hallmarks of this attack, you should easily be able to evade it. Familiarize yourself with some of the most common scams and schemes so you can prevent them from affecting your business.
Train and Educate Your Employees on the Basics
It’s also important to realize that even one mistake by a single employee could open the door to a massive attack against your organization. Make sure all your employees are sufficiently trained and educated on the basics of cybersecurity, such as practicing good password management and remaining on the lookout for malicious actors.
If you want your small business to be better protected against cybersecurity threats, you need the help of a business that understands small business cybersecurity. At Technology Response Team, we have the seasoned experts you need to build a more robust security infrastructure. Contact us to learn more today!