Cybersecurity is essential for businesses of any size- even small ones. The internet allows businesses of any size to reach newer and larger audiences. In addition, it also allows businesses to work more efficiently using computer-based tools. Whether as a business you are thinking of adopting cloud computing or just sticking to email and local storage, cybersecurity should be an essential part of the plan. As a small business, you may think cybersecurity is only for the big targets; why would cyber criminals target small businesses? The truth is cyber criminals may find small businesses tempting considering the less secure IT infrastructure compared to larger organizations. Malicious hackers can target any business, irrespective of its size, because they carry the same kind of data that many other large businesses have, like credit card details, personal information, and passwords.
CyberSecurity Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid
Cybersecurity does not need to be a daunting challenge for small business owners. It is possible to affordably keep your business and employees safe online. The following are some mistakes small businesses should avoid at any cost.
Don’t Put off Cybersecurity Training for Employees
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2022, 95% of the cybersecurity issues were caused by human error. It is essential to establish basic security hygiene and policies for employees, even if your business has only a handful of employees. It’s important to provide tools and training around cybersecurity awareness. It only takes one person to unintentionally make a mistake to pave way for cybercriminals to make their way into your network.
Don’t Underestimate a Mobile Device Action Plan
There has been a large increase in mobile malware and social engineering attacks. Cybercriminals increase their efforts to deliver malicious messages and applications to users to steal information such as bank details and user credentials. Mobile devices can pose a significant security challenge, considering the information they hold or their ability to access the corporate network. Users must ensure they protect their devices with passwords, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent hackers from stealing information while connected to public networks. Ensure your employees are trained to report loss or theft of their devices immediately.
Avoid Weak Passwords
As mentioned earlier, employees need to password protect their work devices, also employees should avoid using weak passwords that contain patterns or their name or date of birth. Ensure all employees use unique passwords that are not easy to guess or brute force. Also, changing passwords every three months can help keep malicious hackers at bay. Implementing multi-factor authentication is a highly recommended additional security layer that employees should consider.
Prevent Access of Unauthorized Individuals
Prevent access or use of office devices by unauthorized individuals. Office laptops can be lost or even an easy target for criminals, so store them in a safe place when not in use. Ensure employees have their own user accounts and are protected with a strong password. Admin rights should only be given to key personnel and IT team members when required.
Don’t Delay Applying Regular Software Updates and Patches
Most are so used to automatic updates on their laptops or PC programs and operating systems that they do not consider that most other systems need to be updated manually. For example, a Wi-Fi router’s firmware is one such software that needs to be manually updated. Software updates include security patches that are vital in the fight against cybercriminals and other threats. Without timely patches and updates, devices remain vulnerable, and any devices connected to them will also remain prone to threats. One of the most common routes cybercriminals use to breach a network is exploiting known vulnerabilities in outdated software and applications. Given that, businesses should ensure they are regularly updating their applications and workplace devices, such as networking hardware, scanners, printers, and so on.
Don’t Forget Providing Firewall Security
A firewall refers to a network security device that works on the boundary of a company’s network that monitors any incoming and outgoing network traffic. When the firewall is configured with intrusion prevention (IPS), the firewall will block suspicious traffic and establish a barrier between anything malicious that is trying to enter your network. Firewalls are an essential part of defending your network from threats. Ensure your infrastructure has a firewall in place to prevent any unauthorized access to your work computers and network.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. Your business stands a better chance of preventing attacks by avoiding the cybersecurity mistakes mentioned above. Developing a comprehensive security plan is the best way for small businesses to protect themselves against cybercrimes.
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