Cybercriminals are constantly searching for weaknesses in business infrastructures, which is why it’s so important to put appropriate defense measures in place. According to NerdWallet’s Fundera, small businesses lose around $2.2 million a year because of cybercrime. As well as financial problems, cyber-attacks can harm your company’s reputation because you’ll have to tell customers their data was breached. Below, we’ve put together a series of strategies for combating cybercrime within small businesses.
Ensure Third Party Businesses are Secure
The nature of small businesses today means that third parties are used to carry out essential tasks. For example, a managed IT service provider can take care of your business’s cybersecurity. However, you need to make sure you properly vet the company to ensure its systems are secure. A great way to do this is by reading existing customer reviews and ensuring its website is 100% transparent about how they facilitate your needs.
Limit Data Access
If everyone in your business has access to sensitive data, there are more potential weak links that can let malicious software access your system. Therefore, access to the most sensitive data should be left to those that need it to complete their work or are responsible for monitoring for suspicious activity.
Use Antivirus Software
Microsoft operating system comes with antivirus tools installed, but it’s not necessarily the best for your business. Therefore, you should implement high-quality antivirus software designed for businesses. The best software will keep the database updated and search for vulnerabilities in real time, regardless of whether the breach comes from a physical or remote user.
Firewalls are Important
Firewalls act as a barrier between external traffic and your internal systems, which is why it’s essential to have one in place. A firewall acts in unison with your antivirus software, as one keeps malicious traffic out and the other deals with anything that’s made its way through the cracks. If any program ever asks you to deactivate your firewall, trust your gut and find an alternative.
Focus on Staff training
Inexperienced employees can unknowingly leave your business exposed to cyber-attacks. Therefore, you should put together a safe usage policy for your IT infrastructure, and make sure all employees are trained thoroughly. For example, an employee may accidentally disclose credentials through phishing emails or lose a workplace laptop/tablet. Having clear policies in place will guarantee that your team understands how to deal with any scenario.
Back-Up All Data to the Cloud
Cyberattacks can shut down your business while you scramble to assess the situation and reset. In some cases, this means vital physical data will be lost forever, which will be detrimental to your operations. Therefore, to get back online faster and avoid significant data loss, your business needs to start backing up everything to the cloud, meaning your entire infrastructure can be accessed from anywhere.
Small business owners have always had a lot to deal with, but now cybersecurity has become one of the top priorities. Using the above guide, you can get started making sure your IT infrastructure is locked down.