Tips To Make Your Small / Midsize Business Cyber Safe
According to Info Security Magazine, because of the pandemic, 24% of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) spend less on cybersecurity despite the increased risks that come with remote work. If you consider that, according to the same magazine, 42% of SMBs cite lack of security expertise as the number one challenge in making their networks and data safe from attacks, you will understand the constant risks SMB’s face in the current state of electronic technology.
Your business’ cybersecurity posture must prioritize detection, evaluation, and mitigation of risks posed by internal and external users who can easily weaken your cybersecurity. Always remember that no matter how secure you think your network and data are, unaware and unprepared users, internal and external, can severely damage your business’ reputation and financial position.
A Comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy
The cyberthreat landscape is evolving at lightning speed and traditional security measures cannot keep up with it. Experts at the JD Supra Knowledge Center have predicted that a ransomware attack will occur every 11 seconds in 2021. For this reason, it is important that your business develops and implements a comprehensive Cybersecurity Strategy with sound best practices to clearly outline:
- Measures to guard against cyberattacks,
- Proper risk control measures for data protection, and
- Ways to minimize disruption to business operation during or after an attack.
Recommended Cybersecurity Best Practices
Prevention is always better than a cure, especially when you are managing data, systems, software, and networks. By proactively adopting best practices, it is certainly possible to enhance your cybersecurity. Some of these practices include:
- Document Policies and Procedures: If your security policies and procedures are not clearly documented, you will struggle to enforce them. Your staff may not know what steps are involved or what the purpose of the whole process is. There will be no buy-in from their side. It is important that you develop an Acceptable Use Policy to identify How to on/offboard employees from your technology systems, How to use company resources such as e-mail, computers, etc., How to access the network from remote locations, and How to report an incident, etc.
- Security Awareness Training: The most impactful thing you can do to enhance your cybersecurity is to educate all technology users, internal or external, essentially those who will be accessing your technology environment. Employees are the first line of defense against cyberattacks; it is important that they are given adequate training to identify and avoid any potential threats. Implementing an effective security awareness training program should not be burdensome nor a one-time affair. It should take place at regular intervals, during staff meetings for example, to ensure all users are on the same page.
- Data Classification and Segmentation: Use data classification to identify data and segmentation to assign security to each type of data. You can assign access to critical data to only those users that need to work on it.
- Access Control: A properly configured access control gateway will verify that only the right users access your critical data. With robust authentication and authorization protocols in place, you can minimize the chances of sensitive data getting compromised. While authentication verifies whether the user is who they claim to be, authorization verifies whether a user has access to a particular type of data.
- Monitoring: Given the invasive and inevitable nature of security threats, a brisk reaction time is fundamental to the effectiveness of your cybersecurity. For this reason, automated and consistent monitoring is vital for quick detection and response to an attack. You must gather and dissect relevant data to recognize suspicious activity or dubious system changes within your organization.
- Endpoint Protection: Endpoint protection, i.e., antivirus, malware, etc., ensures that end-user devices are protected against cybercriminals. Since in most cases, the end-user devices on your network are the ones attacked, maintaining endpoints secured is crucial to reinforce the security of your data.
- Patch Management: Computer and software application patching solves vulnerabilities discovered by developers. Cybersecurity gaps resulting from untimely patch management will make your business vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Once these basic best practices are properly implemented, you can decide if more sophisticated practices are required. Activities such as Routine Vulnerability Scanning, Network Segmentation, Managed Detection and Response, and Penetration Testing may help strengthening your overall Cybersecurity.
Adopt These Best Practices Before It’s Too Late
When it comes to Cybersecurity, the best practices mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg of what you need to do to avoid security incidents. If your business does not have internal Information technology resources, enlisting the help of a trusted IT Service provider to help you stay ahead of the curve will be highly beneficial.