In today's world, small business owners face a number of challenges that come with running the multiple parts needed to keep their livelihoods moving along. But in an increasingly digital world, this create new challenges – including the need to be cyber aware and vigilant to online attacks.
But while many small business operators and owners are concerned about the risks, it comes as no surprise that digital security can often fall off the day-to-day priority list. This is especially true for family businesses, which make up most of the small business sector and often do not have the personnel in place to manage the ever-present dangers.
However, the truth is that data breaches do not discriminate, with data showing that almost 43% of cyber attacks are directed at small and medium enterprises . Such businesses will usually hold sensitive information such as customer details and personal records that can be stolen if not protected.
To prevent your business from being caught out, here are some easy to implement cybersecurity solutions for small businesses.
Installing a password manager
If your online login details and credentials are still held in an Excel spreadsheet, you’re not alone. However, your business might be at serious risk of an information breach. Why? Aside from the lack of security and potential for data loss, spreadsheet systems are not the best form of managing multiple passwords.
Besides, it can be hard to rely on individuals to update any changes to password and username. This creates a situation where outdated credentials may not be accurately reflected, leaving you locked out or worse, banned from your online account.
A password manager makes it easy to remember your logins, by securely storing your details in an encrypted digital vault. Password management software can also store passwords for shared accounts across the organisation.
Aside from removing the need to rely on one person for access, another key benefit of a password manager is its ability to audit your existing passwords. The software will conduct a review and let you know where the risks of exposure are. You can also use multifactor authentication to create added steps for anyone looking to break in.
Here are some of the best password managers currently available. You can also fine a comprehensive review of password managers and how they keep your data safe here
Investing in antivirus software
Modern computers are under constant attack from harmful programs (malware) that can damage the computer, its server, or the computer network. Thanks to our increasingly digital communications computer viruses can spread in multiple ways:
- Untrustworthy website links
- Spam email attachments
- Internet file downloads
- Scam links
Malware looks to exploit any security vulnerabilities and can also steal sensitive information (such as passwords and personal data) without the user’s knowledge. While most viruses are disguised to be activated across a network, they can also affect mobile phones with similar similar results.
Antivirus software is a computer program set up to prevent detect and remove such harmful software. Once installed it can offer ongoing protection for your business against any potential digital threats. It is also important to note some viruses can pose as antivirus software, causing your computer to become infected once downloaded.
Educating all stakeholders
As the saying goes, prevention is the best cure. So, it should come as no surprise that making your employees aware of online risks is a quick win for your business. Most digital security breaches is brought on by human error hence education is crucial to avoiding a costly mistake.
Naturally, your team should have a cybersecurity incident response plan to create shared accountability for the organisation. It will inform them on how to identify threats and what do in the event of an attack.
Your business' incident response plan should also be regularly updated to include new industry risks, along with ongoing cybersecurity awareness training for all stakeholders. Your cyber security response plan should include details on the following:
- How to recognise potential threats
- How to avoid suspicious content
- How to report online attacks
- How to remove harmful material
- How to recover from cyber attacks
Leaving your cybersecurity bare can be costly, averaging almost $2 million in restoration and downtime from any experienced losses. Without an IT department, the best practice is to allocate at least 3% of your total spending budget towards cybersecurity. This may ultimately end up becoming a small price to pay in comparison to the alternative.