Did you know small businesses are the target of 43% of cyber attacks?
These risks have increased the importance of cybersecurity efforts significantly.
Today, almost any business using computers or the internet to collect, share, or store data and information should have a cybersecurity plan. This plan provides the first line of defense against cyber attacks.
Here, you can learn some best practices for cybersecurity and how using managed cybersecurity services may be beneficial. Following these tips can help businesses stay safe online.
1. Understanding Cybersecurity Risks
To protect small business cybersecurity, it’s essential to understand the risks. Cybersecurity risks are things that can hurt a business online.
Hackers Breaking Into a Company’s Computer Systems
Hackers try to break into computer systems to steal information, cause damage, or use the system for their purposes. When hackers break into a company’s computer systems, they can steal sensitive data, damage the system, and cause disruptions to business operations.
This is why companies need to have strong cybersecurity measures in place to protect against such attacks.
Viruses and Other Harmful Software
Viruses and other harmful software, such as malware and spyware, are programs designed to damage or steal information from computer systems.
They can be downloaded onto a computer through email attachments, downloads from untrusted websites, or by clicking on links in phishing emails. Once installed, they can do various harmful activities, such as deleting files, stealing personal information, or spying on a user’s activity.
Anti-virus software and regular software updates can help protect against these threats. This is a crucial part of cybersecurity for businesses.
Emails That Trick People Into Giving Away Information
Phishing emails look legitimate but are designed to trick people into giving away their personal information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, or social security numbers.
Email, like phishing, can be persuasive and may come from seemingly trustworthy sources, such as banks or online retailers. Therefore, it’s vital for individuals and businesses to be wary of such emails and to never click on links or provide information unless they are confident that the email is legitimate.
Employee training and spam filters can help prevent phishing attacks.
Knowing these risks can help businesses make better choices to stay safe.
2. Creating Strong Passwords
One of the easiest ways to protect a business is using strong passwords. However, a strong password is complex for hackers to guess.
It’s a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Changing passwords often and not using the same password for different accounts is also essential.
There are some best practices for creating strong passwords you need to know.
Use a Mix of Characters
A strong password should include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This makes it harder for hackers to guess or crack your password.
Avoid Common Words and Phrases
Common words or phrases, such as “password” or “12345,” make it easier for hackers to guess your password. Instead, try to use a combination of random words or phrases that are easy for you to remember but difficult for others to think of.
Make It Long
The longer your password is, the harder it is to crack. Aim for at least 12 characters or more.
Don’t Reuse Passwords
Using the same password for multiple accounts is a significant security risk.
If one account is compromised, all your accounts become vulnerable. Use a unique password for each account.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
Changing your passwords regularly can help keep them more secure. So consider changing them every few months.
3. Using Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication provides additional protection for your online accounts. It requires two forms of identification when logging in to a report. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Enter Your Password
When you try to log in to your account, you’ll be asked to enter your password like usual. This is the first form of identification.
Step 2: Enter a Code
After entering your password, you’ll be asked to enter a code sent to you through a text message, email, or an authenticator app. This is the second form of identification.
The code is usually a series of numbers that changes every few seconds.
Step 3: Access Granted
You’ll be granted access to your account if you enter the correct password and code. If someone else tries to log in to your account without the valid code, they won’t be able to get in.
Why Is Two-Factor Authentication Important?
Two-factor authentication is necessary because it makes it much harder for someone to hack into your account. Even if they have your password, they won’t be able to access your account without the second form of identification.
It’s an easy way to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts. Many online services, such as email, social media, and banking, offer two-factor authentication as an option.
It’s highly recommended that you enable two-factor authentication for all your important accounts.
4. Regular Software Updates
Regular software updates are essential for several reasons. First, when installed, they can fix bugs and security vulnerabilities discovered since the software was released.
Hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to access your computer or steal your personal information. Updating your software can help prevent these types of attacks.
Additionally, software updates can add new features or improve existing ones. This can help your computer run more smoothly and efficiently.
It can also help you get the most out of your software.
Regular software updates can ensure compatibility with other software and hardware. For example, if you’re using an older version of an operating system, it may not be compatible with newer software programs or hardware devices.
Updating your software can help ensure that everything works together seamlessly.
Some software updates may be required to continue receiving support from the software company. If you’re not using the latest software program version, the company may be unable to provide technical support or help you with any issues.
5. Backing Up Data
Backing up data is the process of making a copy of important information so that it can be recovered in cases of a disaster, such as a hardware failure, theft, or cyber attack. There are several reasons why backing up data is essential:
Data Loss Prevention
If something happens to your computer or storage device, backing up your data ensures you can access your important files. You have several options for data backup.
Ensures Business Continuity
For businesses, backing up data is crucial to ensure continuity of operations in case of a disaster. Without a backup, getting your business running again may be impossible.
It provides Peace of Mind.
Knowing that your data is backed up can provide peace of mind. This is especially if you have essential or irreplaceable files.
Several methods for backing up data include external hard drives, cloud storage, or network-attached storage (NAS) devices. It is crucial to choose a backup method that works for your needs and test your backups regularly to ensure they are working correctly.
6. Employee Training
Employees play a significant role in keeping a business safe online. Therefore, they should be trained in cybersecurity best practices.
This can include things like:
- Recognizing phishing emails
- Reporting suspicious activity
- Using strong passwords
Training should be ongoing so employees stay up-to-date on the latest threats.
7. Hiring a Managed Security Service Provider
Some businesses might need extra help with cybersecurity. They can hire a managed security service provider (MSSP).
Monitoring the Network for Threats
Monitoring the network for threats involves regularly checking for suspicious activity on a company’s computer network. This can include looking for unauthorized access, unusual patterns of behavior, or attempts to hack into the system.
By monitoring the network, businesses can quickly detect and respond to threats, reducing the risk of damage or data loss.
Responding to Security Incidents
When a security incident occurs, responding quickly and appropriately is essential. This may involve isolating infected computers or devices, restoring backups, and changing passwords or other security measures.
A fast and effective response can limit the damage caused by a security incident and help prevent future incidents.
Keeping Systems Up to Date
Keeping systems up-to-date is an integral part of cybersecurity. This includes updating operating systems, software programs, and firmware to the latest version.
Updates can fix security vulnerabilities, improve performance, and add new features. By keeping systems up-to-date, businesses can reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and ensure their systems run smoothly.
Choosing the right MSSP is essential. Businesses should look for providers with good experience and a strong reputation.
8. Creating an Incident Response Plan
An incident response plan guides what to do if a cyber attack occurs. It can help businesses:
Respond Quickly to the Attack
When a cyber-attack occurs, responding quickly to minimize the damage is essential. This may involve isolating infected computers or devices, shutting down affected systems, and notifying relevant parties.
Limit the Damage
During a cyber attack, taking steps to limit the damage is essential. This may include restoring backups, changing passwords, and implementing additional security measures.
Recover More Easily
A solid incident response plan can help a business recover quickly from a cyber attack. The program should outline the steps to rapidly restore systems, data, and operations.
How to Identify an Attack
A good incident response plan should include information on identifying a cyber attack. This may have warning signs, unusual activity, or suspicious behavior.
Whom to Contact for Help
In a cyber attack, knowing who to contact for help is essential. This may include IT personnel, law enforcement, or cybersecurity experts.
Steps to Take During and After the Attack
A comprehensive incident response plan should outline the steps to take during and after a cyber attack. This may include mitigating damage, restoring operations, and improving security measures.
How to Communicate with Employees, Customers, and the Public
Effective communication is crucial when it comes to responding to a cyber attack. Being transparent and providing regular updates can help build trust and credibility with employees, customers, and the public.
Offering resources and support, educating employees, and having a communication plan can also improve the overall response to the incident.
9. Securing Wi-Fi Networks
Many businesses use Wi-Fi networks to connect computers and other devices. As a result, these networks can be a target for hackers.
To keep them safe, businesses should:
- Change the default name and password for the network
- Use strong encryption, like WPA3
- Limit who can access the network
Taking these steps will help prevent unwanted access to information.
10. Regular Security Assessments
Businesses need to check their cybersecurity regularly. A security assessment can help find problems and fix them.
This can include things like:
- Scanning the network for weaknesses
- Testing the security of websites and applications
- Checking that policies and procedures are being followed
Security assessments should be done at least once a year.
11. Staying Informed About Cyber Threats
Cyber threats are constantly changing. Therefore, businesses need to stay informed to protect themselves.
Some ways for businesses to protect themselves include the following:
- Accessing resources and tools provided by government agencies
- Following cybersecurity news and blogs
- Joining industry groups to share information and best practices
Staying informed can help businesses stay ahead of new threats.
Now Is the Time to Hire a Managed Cybersecurity Service
Using a managed cybersecurity service is vital to keeping a business safe online. By following these best practices, companies can reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and protect their valuable information.
Good cybersecurity can also help build trust with customers and partners. In the digital age, cybersecurity is not just a technical issue but a vital part of the business.
If you are interested in managed cybersecurity services, contact us today.