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5 Ways to Protect Your Small Business From Cyberattacks

On average, small businesses receive 350% more social engineering attacks than large ones, precisely because bad actors perceive them as the most vulnerable and least protected.

· Resource,Startups,Cybersecurity


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Building a robust cybersecurity infrastructure goes beyond having essential firewalls, VPNs, and anti-virus software. Cybersecurity attacks have grown more sophisticated, hitting an all-time high in 2021. Surprisingly a major target of these breaches are small businesses and startups. On average, small businesses receive 350% more social engineering attacks than large ones, precisely because bad actors perceive them as the most vulnerable and least protected.

Cybersecurity is necessary to protect your small business– and it’s not just from third parties: a primary cause of security breaches comes from employees in acts of human error. According to a 2021 Foundry study, 44% of security incidents came from non-malicious user error where employees fall victim to a scam or accidental violations of security policy.

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Source: Legal TXTX

Despite this, a 2021 survey finds that 51% of small businesses don’t have cybersecurity measures in place, and most businesses invest only $500 toward cybersecurity efforts. But, in the rise of remote work, we’ve seen more and more cyberattacks as people work from home. Securing consumer trust is more important than ever.

To safeguard the personal information of employees and customers, intellectual property, trade secrets, and company assets, here are 5 strategies to get started:

1. Assess Your Current Measures

Before getting started, it’s a good idea to assess the measure your small business currently has in place, especially if you’re unable to equip your business with full IT support. Cybersecurity risk assessments point out key vulnerabilities in your business and help build a step-by-step plan of action. The FCC planning tool specifically helps small businesses create customized plans, and the Department of Homeland Security offers a free, non-technical assessment for organization resilience and cybersecurity practice. Check out some more free tools!

2. Build a Culture Around Security

Increasing security awareness through training is a key way to mitigate risk and prevent human error. Regular training sessions can instill a culture of security over time, like having phishing tests so employees realize how easy they are to fall for these attempts. According to the SBA, building basic security policies for employees, like password protections, and rules of behavior to handle customer data are essential. Also, developing a security-first culture comes from the top down, so business leaders should keep employees informed and address security risks in meetings.

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Source: Security Advisor

3. Ensure your Passwords are Secure

The average person has around 20 passwords to remember on a given day. This encourages people to create easy to remember, simple passwords which can lead to a lack of security. Four out of five data breaches are due to weak passwords. These breaches can lead to financial and ethical issues which have the potential to severely stunt a rising company. Some methods to ensure password protection include the “Zero Trust Model,” coupled with a Multi-Factor Authentication. The Zero Trust Model proposes that even those at the top of the company are required to participate in authentication. Authentication goes beyond a password– users need to input a code sent to one of their devices to access a system. This strategy nearly eliminates password hacking. Also, ensure that each employee establishes a strong, unique password with variations in symbol, capitalization, and length. Encourage the use of a password generator!

4. Routinely Backup Important Data

Protecting intellectual property and private customer information is crucial to maintain customer trust. Making backup copies of important data can prevent loss of valuable information after a data breach. Again, data breaches are a top concern for small businesses particularly, since 43% of all data breaches target small and medium-sized businesses. Automatic back ups are ideal, but a goal of weekly backups can minimize loss. Acronis advises a 3-2-1 rule: have 3 copies of your data, keep them in 2 different formats (cloud, hard drive, etc.), and keep 1 offsite in case of a physical disaster.

5. Obtain a Managed Security Service

When starting a company it is important to delegate and outsource if possible. Security is a prime candidate for outsourcing. Security companies will work with you to manage safeguards like firewalls, intrusion detection, and anti-virus services. This alleviates your company from hiring multiple specialists and effectively pools together resources. These providers also have a great reputation for speed and detail when solving any problems that may arise! Linked is a great list of providers at different levels of cost put together by SoftwareTestingHelp.

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Source: One Source

The good news is that although cyberattacks are evolving, so are solutions. Developing and investing in a robust security might require some upfront time and effort, but your business will be rewarded with consumer trust in the long-run.


Author: Miriam Attal | Miriam is receiving her M.S in Communication with an eye on social media for social good. She is inspired to build connections and promote justice online through creative strategies.