How Can Small Businesses Safeguard Against Cyberattacks?

Small businesses have many of the same security challenges as larger organizations, without access to the same technologies

Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest problems facing millions of internet and online network users today. While at first glance it looks very much like a 21st-century problem, the origins of online privacy issues date back to the mid-20th century, before the advent of the internet.

Cybersecurity has improved over the years to ensure safety for all internet users, but as security has been amped up, online hackers and security threats have also become more complex to identify and prevent.

It’s interesting to know that about 8,854 recorded internet data breaches took place between Jan. 1, 2005, and April 18, 2018. These have resulted in identity theft, financial fraud and other crimes, with the total value of these breaches worth billions of dollars.

The number of reported attacks and hacks in recent years show organizations are losing the battle against cyberattackers. As a result, governments are being called upon to do more to fight cybercrime.

Other cybersecurity stats show that:

  • 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees.
  • Only about 14% of such businesses and firms rate their security protocols against cyberattacks as highly effective.
  • About 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyberattack.
  • About 61% of data breach victims in 2017 alone were small businesses and firms.

A good part of, if not most, of the cutting-edge security technology usually is geared toward government facilities and large-scale organizations. So, how can small businesses guard themselves against hacks and cyberattacks?

Guard Your Insides

Before blaming the crazy man who has hacked your security system from halfway around the world, business owners should understand that about 55% of all cyberattacks come from inside the organization, with 32% carried out by malicious employees.

It’s the hard truth, so it’s pertinent to guard your business internally before spending a lot of money on firewalls to prevent an external breach. Be security-conscious when deciding which employees get access and authorization to sensitive data.

Know What’s Sensitive Data and What’s Not

Before coming up with a security plan to safeguard data, you must identify what information is vital and what’s not. A common mistake by breached businesses is putting all the company’s data, from the company’s bank details to the name of the owner’s pet, under the same security system.

Sensitive info should be backed up and safeguarded under a more thorough and safe security system compared to other information.

Create a Security Plan

Creating an effective security strategy is key to preventing cyberattacks. Your security plan depends on what kind of business you run. Large organizations, for example, use complex AI security, which changes sensitive passwords weekly, auto-updates firewalls and uses a whole host of other strategies to ensure that data remains guarded at all times.

Your security plan is your way of preventing, detecting and responding to security threats to your business. This entails everything from installing effective anti-virus and firewalls on all systems to restricting computer access to sites that may expose your systems to malware.

Data encryption, security updates and data backups are also efficient ways of ensuring you are well-prepared for an attempted breach. Set up a security plan that fits your budget and ensures your data are as safe as possible.

Educate Staff on Cybersecurity

Properly informing your staff on the dangers of cyberattacks could be the key to ensuring your business stays secure against threats. They need to be aware of the do’s and don’ts of the workplace in terms of their computer and network usage.

A strong password-generating software for staff is also vital to ensure their work devices are well-protected at all times, as well as training them on how to identify secure and vulnerable online networks.

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