Despite the continuous efforts of IT professionals and cybersecurity experts against data and security breaches, the numbers of cybercrimes are still on the rise.
According to the latest findings published by the Hackmageddon, cybercrimes still rank on top with more than 82% as of August 2019. This figure shows an increasing trend from 81.7% data gathered last July. Most common cyberattacks today are data and security breaches via phishing, drive-by download, bait and switch, keylogging, and DDoS.
Experts also say that cybercriminals and hackers are targeting startups and small businesses. Some of the reasons for this are lack of resources such as updated security software and other tools, unsecured browsing activities, and unawareness of Internet usage.
As a business owner, you need to innovate your ways to protect your sensitive information and account details. You might not be dealing with these threats for now, but as your company grows, you could be dealing with various cyberattacks, which can be fatal to your business.
How to protect a small business against cybersecurity threats?
Here 5 ways to maximize security and prevent cyber threats:
1. Review your company policy of internet usage
Most of the time, cyberattacks happen due to lack of knowledge and preparation of both the employers and staff members. Take some time to review your current policy regarding use of resources particularly IT devices such as desktop computers, laptops, gadgets, and other external drives.
Educate your staff members about the various cyber threats when using external drives, reading emails, browsing the Internet, and downloading files. Make sure everyone is on the same page to avoid possible threats. Strict compliance should be observed to prevent hacking and malware attacks.
Having a streamlined policy and detailed guidelines is a big first step for cybersecurity awareness. In some companies, they even invite guest speakers from the cybersecurity sector to further educate their employees.
2. Secure your hardware
While most businesses focus more on equipping their technology with the latest security software, several companies overlook the importance of safeguarding the security of their hardware devices. This should actually be on top of your list when it comes to cybersecurity. Start with the basic steps such as protecting the devices with unique passwords, controlling the device access, and labeling all hard drives.
Consider installing “find my device” software on all computer IT devices. This should help you retrieve or report any stolen or misplace device containing valuable information. Multiple reports have been filed due to data breaches from stolen equipment.
3. Do regular backups
Your business’ cybersecurity solutions should consist of two main elements. First, your preventive measures and strategies to protect all your IT devices and the company’s information. The second one is to have a backup solution for safekeeping purposes.
While most startups and small businesses use external hard drives for file archives, IT experts also recommend subscribing to reliable cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, OneDrive, and Microsoft 365 Business. These cloud storage providers can help your business when it comes to file management, collaboration, file security and administration, and file sharing.
When choosing a cloud storage provider, make sure to check subscription packages. Some of the essential features you should explore are data encryption, file storage capacity, and system assistance. Select the best one that suits your business’ needs.
Having a reliable storage backup solution will make it easier for you to track down hackers and retrieve your files. It serves as a safety net for security breaches and ransomware attacks.
4. Invest in latest security software technology
Any industry using Information Technology or the World Wide Web should prioritize equipping their devices with the latest security software. This is actually one of the best ways to protect your business against various cyber threats such as computer viruses and worms, malware and ransomware attacks, phishing, drive-by downloads, and many more.
For antivirus and anti-malware programs, the recommended brands are Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020, Kaspersky, AVG, and Avira. When choosing an antivirus software for your device, you need to be very particular with the features. It should perform in-depth scanning tasks when copying files, archiving or unarchiving, installing and uninstalling applications, launching applications, downloading files, and when browsing the Internet.
Take note that not all security software performs the same scanning capacities. Some programs are designed to be more efficient at certain tasks. Choose the best software that suits your business environment and workflow. As much as possible, go for comprehensive packages. A lot of providers today enable subscribers to customize their systems to tailor their needs.
In addition, you should also consider choosing an antivirus or anti-malware programs that are easy to use with fast installation and updates. Inquire about their customer support. Many trusted brands and security software provider offer 24/7 help center. They can fix any bugs or incident reports filed by the customers.
Finally, always check if your security software is up-to-date. Multiple reports of security and data breaches have been filed due to outdated antivirus and antimalware programs.
5. Conduct regular risk assessment
The problem with many growing businesses today is they always overlook the importance of implementing regular risk assessment. They will only perform this step once cyberattacks hit them. According to IT experts, investing in cybersecurity solutions is useless without regular risk assessment.
When conducting a cybersecurity risk assessment, you need to find the possible weak points of your system. This involves several steps such as gathering information through in-depth research, mapping out your system, projecting and countering human factors, considering other possible risks and their impact, and providing backup solutions.
Many small businesses and startup companies outsource professional IT experts to conduct risk assessment. This is probably your safest bet and the most practical solution to maximize cybersecurity. Take note however as your company starts to grow bigger, you may need your own IT department to secure business assets more efficiently.
Following these steps should help you protect your small business against various cybersecurity threats. Again, start observing the people’s workflow within your office. How do they save or send files? What sites are they visiting? Are your devices equipped with security software? Invest in the right tools to secure your business. As they say, it’s always better safe than sorry!
John is an Opera Singer by profession, and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the CEO of MegaMedia Internet Advertising Inc., and the Managing Director of Tech-Hacker. John is also the current SEO Manager of Softivire New Zealand and Softvire Australia – the leading software ecommerce company in Australia.