Small business owners tend to put all their focus on growing their business. Most concentrate more on administrative tasks, employees, and customers, but they tend to underestimate cybersecurity risks. There is a misconception that cyber-attacks only target large enterprises. Well, according to research done by the Ponemon Institute in 2019, 66% of small and midsize businesses in Europe, the UK, and the USA had been victims of a cyber-attack within the year. It is irrefutable that small businesses are at a high risk of cyber-attacks. As a form of preparation and defense, every small business must have a cybersecurity plan. Let us delve more in-depth on how to build a small business cybersecurity plan.
Dangers of cybersecurity failure in small businesses
Failure to pay attention to cybersecurity in your small business will predispose your business to common attack approaches and vectors. For starters, you should appreciate that cyberattacks are becoming far more pernicious to small businesses leading to massive financial losses and other forms of damages. Attacks can also affect the reputation of your business. A case example is a scenario where the attackers use your customer data for identity theft. Your business may take longer to rebuild its initial reputation and financial status.
Steps in building a cyber-security plan
Assess your threats
The cybersecurity plan that you create depends on vulnerability that differs from one business to the other. Evaluate your cyber weaknesses depending on the data that your store, who accesses the data, and where you store it. This will help you avoid investing energy, money, and time in creating a cybersecurity plan that does not fit your business.
Create security policies
Security policies create a standard protocol in safeguarding data in your business. That is why all your employees ought to have a uniform way of using, handling, and storing business data. In the case of a cyber-attack, security policies aid in mitigating damages. Some of the security policies that you should have in your business include;
A password policy contains rules governing the usage of passwords for the business user accounts. The policy has requirements like creating a strong password by specifying the minimum length, the combination of letters, numbers, symbols, uppercase, and lower case in a password. It also regulates the sharing of passwords and intervals, after which the password should be changed. A password policy should specify penalties to be imposed on a person who does not comply.
Data security policy
Your data security policy should provide requirements for collecting only the required data, storage and accessibility of your business data by authorized personnel, and safe disposal of data. It should also outline the guidelines associated with the security of your networks and response to incidences.
Seek professional assistance
Cybersecurity is complicated. It will be hard for you as a small business owner to get a grip on this without professional help. We would advise that you partner with a Managed Service Provider for professional assistance in securing your business. This excellent guide covers all you need to know about what is a managed service provider and how the right partner can help your business. The right MSP will use the latest technology, knowledge, and skills in creating an effective defense against cyber-attacks on a budget. It is far more affordable to outsource from an MSP than keep tabs on the ever-changing trends in-house.
Data Backup and Recovery
Data backups on a regular basis are very integral for a small business. Automate backups for your business data like HR files, customers’ information, and financial records, to mention but a few. You can use physical and cloud storage to save on costs. You will recover your data fast to get your business back up and running.
Ensure your system and software are up-to-date
Updating and software and systems will also help prevent malware attacks. Updates patch loopholes in the systems and software that attackers could use to assess your systems. So, do not ignore the software update prompt. It could take a few of your minutes, but it could save you a lot of cash and many months recovering from an attack. You can use automated patch management to make it easier for your business.
Educate your employees
Research indicates that 70% of companies attribute ransomware attacks to employee negligence. As a business owner, it is your due diligence to train your employees to protect your business. Train then on the use of a strong password, protection against phishing attacks, safe use of the internet, ways to handle business, and customer information, etc.
Secure network access
Make sure you implement network security as well. For example, install a firewall to your systems and devices to control and monitor network traffic and place a barrier between your internal network and the outside world for security. You should also encrypt and password-protect your Wi-Fi to make the network inaccessible to unauthorized parties.
Cybersecurity threat on small businesses is increasing by the day and the trajectory isn’t changing soon. It is your responsibility to safeguard your business from the devastating and costly outcome of cyber threats. Ensure that you work to create and implement strict cybersecurity measures to stay safe!