With so many demands on small business owners, cybersecurity can often fall to the back burner. But small businesses are increasingly targeted for cyberattacks for a multitude of reasons. The biggest one often is that SMBs typically lack the resources to invest in advanced cyber protection systems, and small businesses have access to a wealth of customer data that hackers can use for their own gain.
Fortunately, small business owners don’t need an unlimited budget or an IT staff to upgrade their cybersecurity posture. Here are some non-negotiable security controls you need in place:
It Starts with You: Implement and Enforce
Businesses should not only invest in a secure password policy but strictly enforce it to avoid any sneaky cybercriminals trying to take advantage — which is commonly brushed aside as a small detail. Only 67% of companies have a password policy for their employees but only 34% say they strictly enforce it. This is the equivalent of having a lock on the door to your business but always keeping the door unlocked.
Passwords are the first line of defense against cyberattacks and should be unique, complex, and changed regularly whether it be from lowercase or uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. They’re the gates outside your cyber kingdom, change the lock regularly, and don’t lose the key.
And make sure to regularly update the passwords of your company’s devices and accounts and applications — no technological device is safe on its own.
The Protectors of Your Cyber Kingdom
Firewalls can be the difference between an infiltrated small business and a safe and sound one. Firewalls monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic on a network, which helps small businesses detect suspicious activity before it has a chance to become an issue that can cause harm.
Imagine your most valuable treasure is at the center of the cyber kingdom, inside the castle walls. There are guards keeping out all the bad guys trying to get into your medieval castle. The guards are your firewalls, and trust me — you need them.
Firewalls can be either a physical box or software-based and like the castle guards, small businesses’ cybersecurity should have multiple layers of firewalls depending on their size.
The Cyber Spies: Antivirus/Anti-Malware Software
Like the guards are to your castle, antivirus and anti-malware software are the spies outside of your business infrastructure. Keeping an eye out before the threat becomes a real threat, this software scans for any potential cyber disasters. It helps to filter out any harmful software that may be lurking in the background of your small business devices.
Make sure to regularly update the software and scan all devices for any potential threats — you never know what you may find.
Educate Your Staff — Eliminate the Threat
Like a castle’s household staff, employees are your small business’s biggest asset, but they can also be a liability if they aren’t educated on cybersecurity best practices. They don’t mean to, but if training is not prioritized, it becomes inevitable, and you’ll be the one reaping the consequences.
According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigation Report, “82% of data breaches involved a human element.” Providing training means leaving the cybercriminals with no one to target and everyone to blame (in a good way).
Aside from just being secure, following a cybersecurity framework and having these controls in place can help small businesses prove to their insurance companies that they are doing what they can to prevent cyberattacks and reduce the risk of potential losses. A small business with strong cybersecurity protocols is sure to have an easier time getting approved for a cyber insurance policy, and will likely be offered a better rate than businesses without sufficient security.
Simple Systems: How to Achieve This Without Breaking the Bank
These steps may seem like a lot of work and money, but small businesses don’t need to spend a fortune on complex security systems. The best way for small business owners to protect themselves is by investing in a cost-friendly, small-business cybersecurity solution like Simple Systems where we offer small business owners an all-in-one cybersecurity package tailored to small businesses and their needs. In simpler words, everything listed above and more.