Cybersecurity continues to be a threat to businesses of all sizes. Attacks are not limited to any specific industry and can happen at any time. The key is to pay close attention to some of the basic tips and balance that with adopting some new ways of thinking. Here are some strategies to help in your cybersecurity efforts.
Leaders at smaller companies often think they can forgo security awareness training. If you only employ a handful of people, what’s the point? For small and large businesses alike, the point is that cybersecurity attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated. Some threats are easy to spot; some are not. The Small Business Administration recommends that all employees receive training on:
- Spotting a phishing email
- Using good browsing practices
- Avoiding suspicious downloads
- Creating strong passwords
- Protecting sensitive customer and vendor information
- Maintaining good cyber hygiene
It matters less what you call this education and more that you do it. Never doubt that this information could prevent a malicious attack in its tracks.
Gauging your company’s risk level may be the most strategic insight you have regarding small business cybersecurity. Per the SBA, “the first step in improving your small business cybersecurity is understanding your risk of an attack, and where you can make the biggest improvements.”
Risk assessments, especially those conducted by a third party, can shed light on where your business is at risk and empower you to create a defensive plan or strategy. The process doesn’t have to be complicated or drawn out, but there must be some type of plan.
Vulnerability scans can determine how likely your critical systems and sensitive data are to suffer a compromise or attack, given your current software patching and/or misconfigurations.
Other tactics, like multifactor authentication, are low or no cost but can provide significant peace of mind. When accessing any service, website or application, multifactor authentication (MFA) provides another critical layer of small business cybersecurity by sending a unique one-time code via email or text.
Vetting Vendors: Due Diligence
It’s one thing to worry about your employees and their cyber hygiene. It’s another to have to consider the practices of your vendors and partners. Consider for a moment how many companies you do business with who may have access to your sensitive data. When you share your sensitive information with third parties, it’s only as secure as the business handling it. Your business cannot afford to be shy about asking third parties who can access your data, how data is stored and exchanged, and what security measures they have implemented.
Cybersecurity is not a destination but a process. Businesses should consider cybersecurity developments as equally crucial as industry developments. As cybersecurity becomes an essential part of your business strategy, your risk of being breached or attacked decreases drastically. If you don’t have the resources for an in-house security team, a third party can provide you with the expertise, experience, and technologies that can protect your firm against the growing range and scope of cybersecurity threats.