Cybersecurity best practices for small businesses in 2023
We have all been victims of attempted cyberattacks. It could be an unusual transaction on your credit card, an urgent email from your “friend” asking for money, or a call from someone pretending to be your internet provider. Being the victim of a cyberattack is stressful and makes you feel vulnerable and insecure.
Now imagine these situations happening to you in your business. Imagine your entire network is the target of a cyberattack. This is the reality of businesses these days.
In this article, we’ll look at the importance of cybersecurity to businesses and the impact of cybersecurity breaches, and offer tips on how to avoid being the next victim.
Cybersecurity for small businesses. 2023 reality facts.
Nowadays, with criminals developing sophisticated tactics to steal your data, it is increasingly difficult to detect cyber threats. And combating these threats isn’t just the job of your cybersecurity team. Every employee plays a key role in protecting your business.
Are your employees up to it? And are they aware of the latest cybersecurity best practices? Whether it’s phishing, malware, or ransomware, your team should always be alert and ready to respond to such threats. This is why resilience and business continuity should always be at the forefront of your cybersecurity strategy.
But the challenge facing business leaders is not knowing where to start when it comes to cybersecurity. This can be daunting, especially if you’re unfamiliar with technical jargon.
What is Cybersecurity?
In the digital age, businesses are increasingly dependent on technology. We use computers and the internet for everything from storing sensitive data to communicating with customers and employees. This reliance on technology makes businesses more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity is the process of protecting electronic information by mitigating information risks and vulnerabilities. These risks may include unauthorized access, use, disclosure, interception, or destruction of data. And the data may include the confidential information of companies or individual users.
Cybersecurity covers a wide range of activities, including:
- Access control: It allows you to ensure that only authorized users can have access to systems, data and resources.
- Identity and Authentication: Helps you verify user identity and devices before granting access to systems, data, and resources.
- Data security: It protects data against unauthorized use, access, disclosure, interception or destruction.
- Incident Response: Allows you to identify, contain and eradicate cyber threats.
- Risk management: This is the process of assessing, identifying and prioritizing risks to the organization’s assets, systems and data.
Types of cybersecurity measures
Businesses can take different types of cybersecurity measures to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Here are some of the most common measures:
- Preventative measures: These are designed to prevent cyber attacks from occurring in the first place. These measures include installing firewalls, encryption, and creating strong passwords.
- Detection measures: These allow you to detect cyberattacks after they have occurred. Examples of detection measures include activity logging, intrusion detection systems, and malware scanning.
- Corrective measures: These correct the damage caused by a cyber-attack. They include data backups, disaster recovery plans and patch management.
- Recovery measures: These help you recover from a cyber attack. Incident response plans and business continuity plans are examples of recovery measures.
The consequences of cyber attacks
Cyber attacks occur every minute. And the risks are increasingly detrimental and can have negative consequences for companies. Cybersecurity is essential for any business, but vital for small businesses. 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, which are often considered easy targets by cybercriminals and have fewer resources to devote to cybersecurity. And 60% of small businesses go bankrupt after a cyber attack.
Poor cybersecurity can hurt your business in different ways. Here are the 4 costliest cyberattacks:
Data breaches are one of the most significant cybersecurity risks facing businesses today. A data breach occurs when confidential, sensitive or personal data is accessed without authorization. This happens when hackers gain access to your company’s systems or employees accidentally leave data exposed. The average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million.
Ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts a user’s files and demands money to decrypt them. Ransomware attacks are becoming more common and can be incredibly costly for businesses. The average cost of a ransomware attack is $4.54 million, and the average cost of a destructive attack is $5.12 million.
Phishing is a cyberattack that uses fraudulent emails or websites to trick users into giving up sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. Phishing attacks are often used to steal data or infect systems with malware. And 86% of businesses said at least one user had logged into a phishing site. The average cost of a phishing attack is $4.91 million.
An insider threat is a type of cyber threat originating from inside an organization. Insider threats can arise when employees or contractors have malicious intent or when they accidentally expose sensitive data. Insider threats can be very costly in terms of direct damage and indirect costs. The average cost of an insider threat is $4.18 million.
Tips and Best Practices to Protect your Business
With the number of cyberattacks increasing, it is more critical than ever for businesses to have a strong cybersecurity strategy. A good cybersecurity strategy will help protect your business against cyberattacks, and will also help you recover quickly if your business is attacked.
Educate your employees
Cybercriminals enter your business through your weakest link. And the weakest link in your business is its people. Since 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error, you need to constantly train your employees on cybersecurity risks, policies, and practices. It is not a one-time training, but an ongoing process that evolves. Attackers are constantly developing new and creative ways to hack businesses. It is therefore crucial to keep yourself regularly informed of new protocols and policies.
Update your software and back up your sensitive data
One of the easiest ways to find and fix vulnerabilities is to keep your software up to date with the latest protection programs. These programs are frequently updated to adapt to the latest cyber threats. Thus, by updating your software, you also make your IT infrastructure more robust and more resistant to attacks.
As cyberattacks frequently target your data, it is essential to always back it up. This will help your business get back up and running in the event of a cyberattack. Your data can be backed up to an external hard drive, in the cloud, and even offline. They can also be stored in any other secure place that is not accessible to attackers.
Install an anti-virus software and a firewall
The reality is, even with the best training, your employees can click on something they’re not supposed to. And with just one click, they end up downloading malware and jeopardizing your network security. You should install anti-virus software to prevent this malware from entering your network.
Additionally, you should also use a firewall. This acts as a barrier between your data and cybercriminals. Its main purpose is to monitor and filter inbound and outbound traffic and keep traffic safe inbound and dangerous traffic outbound.
Reinforce strong passwords and authentication
Using simple passwords is like handing attackers a key to your systems. Unique, strong and complex passwords will prevent them from accessing your data. And you should use different passwords for your accounts. You won’t have to worry about forgetting your passwords if you use a password management tool. Multi-factor authenticators are also crucial for businesses.
Use a VPN
VPNs can provide effective protection against tracking. Today, a tool like VuzeVPN helps protect against such attacks.
Cyberattacks are one of those things you never expect, until they happen. And no matter the size of your business, it can be the next target of a cyberattack. Cybercriminals are getting smarter and constantly developing new strategies to hack into companies and extort money from them.
By taking steps to protect your business, you can therefore reduce the risk of being attacked and minimize the damage if an attack does occur. To effectively protect your business, you need to put security measures in place, train your employees, and regularly test your security. In the event of a cyberattack, having a response and recovery plan is essential. Finally, you should learn from incidents and regularly update your security measures to keep up with the changing threat landscape.
Now that you know the importance of cybersecurity for businesses, it’s time to put these tips into practice with a solid cybersecurity strategy. With advanced training and a solid strategy, you can build a security shield that protects your business from cyberattacks.