The world is becoming increasingly digital and businesses are no exception. The need for specific cybersecurity measures is growing as more companies in various industries rely on computerized networks for data storage.
By DEVIN PARTIDA
It can be especially challenging for small or medium-sized organizations to secure their data because they may not have a dedicated IT department. Some will hire external companies to meet the needs of their business and IT operations.
Hackers or other cybercriminals with malicious intent will specifically target smaller businesses for a few reasons.
— Small businesses typically lack strong, comprehensive cybersecurity programs.
— Employees may not have received crucial cybersecurity training.
— Some enterprises use easy-to-guess passwords for their various accounts.
— Companies may not update their software regularly.
— Businesses may not establish a cybersecurity response plan before an incident occurs.
For the reasons above, it’s vital to protect your small business and secure your data. You could put sensitive client information at risk depending on the industry you serve. Stolen customer data could lead to a poor company reputation, or worse, legal repercussions.
Below are some ways to secure your data if you own a small business or startup.
1. Leverage Cloud Services
Reputable cloud service providers, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform, can store data, patch security gaps, and implement viable security measures to protect your information. If your company ever experiences a cybersecurity breach, this can act as a failsafe solution.
Whether you select public, private or hybrid cloud-storage services, ensure the one you choose aligns with your IT needs and business size. Additionally, a managed service provider (MSP) can offer enhanced security services, such as vulnerability scans, compliance checks, incident response and proactive remediation. Both cloud service providers and MSPs can help strengthen your cybersecurity resilience.
2. Encrypt Everything
Hackers will use innovative techniques to slip past a firewall or scam a team member. It can be challenging for small businesses to prevent malicious acts. However, they can choose to encrypt their data instead.
Data encryption protects your business’s sensitive information that is stored, sent or received by making it accessible only to authorized users with an encryption key. Suppose a hacker accesses sensitive data through a social-engineering tactic. In that case, the information they steal will be unreadable because it’s encoded in the ciphertext.
3. Safeguard Passwords
It’s common for hackers to infiltrate business accounts or networks by figuring out your passwords. Sometimes, they’ll use advanced computer programs to crack passwords. Storage of this information is just as important as how long or unique you make them. The more complex your passwords are, the better protected your business will be.
Be sure to follow best password practices, such as including special characters and numbers and changing them frequently. It would also help if you used a password manager, which is becoming increasingly popular among businesses. Most only cost a few dollars per month, so consider using one for stronger data protection.
4. Set up Automatic Software Updates
A common practice hackers use is scanning websites or networks to see which software version it’s running on. Older ones are typically easier to exploit than updated versions because they have more security vulnerabilities.
A reliable way to keep your business software up to date is to turn on automatic updates. Updating device security settings and software and using the latest version of your operating system (OS) will provide you with enhanced protection. Many software companies release frequent updates that include security patches and improvements to keep hackers at bay.
5. Prioritize Cybersecurity Training for Employees
The popular saying “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” has never been more true regarding cybersecurity. Your employees must be properly trained on their role in protecting sensitive company information. They could be the weakest link in your organization without it.
It’s vital to implement a cybersecurity training program for your company. Teach your employees to avoid clicking on spam links, downloading dangerous software, or visiting untrustworthy websites. Human error can play a significant role in a data breach, so do your best to stress how important it is for workers to be aware of common cybersecurity risks.
Protect Your Sensitive Data
With mountains of data cropping up for all types of businesses, security is no longer an option or a luxury — it’s essential. Failure to keep information safe can lead to higher risks of experiencing a cybersecurity incident, which can be costly, time-consuming, and tedious to recover from.
These six tips will help your company withstand potential cyberattacks. Consider following these suggestions for better protection from malicious cybercriminals.