25 Sep 5 Simple Steps You Can Take Now to Improve Small Business Cybersecurity
The time has come to take action on improving small business cybersecurity. Approximately 43% of data breaches covered in a recent Verizon study targeted small businesses. You can no longer assume that your business’s small size will keep you safe. Despite this urgency, it can be tough for a company to improve small business cybersecurity due to resource limitations. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take immediately to drive progress. Here are five of them:
1. Train Employees to Handle Mobile Phishing Attacks
Efforts to inform people about phishing are paying off. Phishing scams are attacks that use seemingly legit emails to dupe users into downloading malware. The Verizon study found that seven years ago, phishing click-through rates were 24%. That figure dropped to only 3% in the 2019 study. Employees are better at avoiding phishing attempts than ever. But mobile devices remain a problem when trying to improve small business cybersecurity.
As part of the study, Verizon sent participants test phishing emails. Nearly 20% of those who clicked links did so on mobile devices. The study indicates that users are more likely to be hit by a phishing attack on mobile devices. So, if you want to improve small business cybersecurity, train your workers specifically on what mobile phishing scams look like.
2. Backup Critical Data
Ransomware is among the most common threats facing small businesses. These attacks use malware to put user data into code, making it inaccessible. Malwarebytes found that ransomware attacks targeting businesses grew by a whopping 365% year over year in the second quarter of 2019.
Ransomware is a major part of why data backups are so important. If you are hit by an attack, you can simply switch to a backup version without losing too much data. As such, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) advised that businesses regularly backup their key data. Ideally, this should be automated and performed at least weekly. Taking this relatively simple step is a key way to improve small business cybersecurity.
3. Focus on the Basics
Anti-malware software and network firewalls are basic measures to improve small business cybersecurity. The SBA recommends businesses start by doing the following:
• Install antivirus and antispyware on their computers
• Keep security software updated.
• Regularly patch software.
• Encrypt data moving through the network.
These types of entry-level security measures can do a lot of work for you. They help you keep up with threats and protect end-user devices. And they can improve small business cybersecurity by ensuring you get regular updates on new threats as they emerge. This way, you can identify malware before it gets a foothold.
4. Get Passwords Right
Business News Daily reported that small businesses often fall prey to overly simple passwords. These are a problem because they are easy for hackers to crack. Choosing longer, more complex passwords can resolve this issue.
You can also improve small business cybersecurity by using multi-factor authentication. This means combining multiple login methods – such as a password and fingerprint scan – to verify a user’s identity. At the least, create and enforce strong password policies. If you can, look for apps and services that support easy multi-factor authentication.
5. Follow Payment Card Best Practices
Payment cards are a major source of fraud and identity theft. The SBA recommends small business owners follow best practices for managing and validating payment cards. This can prevent fraud through a blend of quality policies and updated point-of-sale devices.
Use Financing to Improve Small Business Cybersecurity
While many cybersecurity measures are fairly easy to put into place, most cost money. Small, short-term business loans can give you the funds needed to improve small business cybersecurity. A data breach can be costly and damage your reputation. Some cybersecurity events are sufficient to force a small business to close its doors. A strategic loan can help you get the right security tools to position your business for success.