Most business processes, if not all, are conducted through the internet. The majority of business processes rely on emails, the cloud or social media. Some businesses even have their whole processes tied to the internet. Although many processes have been eased, there are major risks associated with this which small business owners need to know.
Businesses need to be aware of their cybersecurity posture. This is through understanding what cyber attacks or breaches they are exposed to. They also need to know how to mitigate these attacks in case of a cyber attack. Small business owners need to be aware that cybersecurity is an important aspect of their business operation and they are also targets of cyber attacks and malicious individuals.
Many businesses in Australia may not know where to start to protect themselves. The whole process may even seem complicated. However, you need to know that small businesses often have the least protected network systems and websites, which makes them a target for cyber attacks. To stay safe from cyber attacks, small businesses need to ensure that they know;
- The risks that may face their business
- How to mitigate those risks.
- What policies and procedures to put in place.
There are several measures small businesses can put in place to increase their cybersecurity posture. When deploying these measures, you need to keep in mind that your employees are the biggest risk to exposing your business to cybersecurity breaches or incidents.
1. Limiting Employee Access
Your employees should only have resources that are required for their processes. This means that you should allocate them minimum resources to limit access. Such resources may include systems, software or even data. For example, an employee in sales needs different resources from that in Social media.
You should ensure that such employees don’t have access to resources they don’t need. Doing this will reduce access to sensitive information which prevents wrongful access.
2. Organising Cybersecurity Training Programs
Your employees are always on the forefront of exposing organisations and businesses to cyber attacks. This is why you need to include them in the initiative to mitigate these risks. You need to educate your employees on what to look out for in order to increase overall business vigilance. Such trainings can brief employees on:
- Best practices for password security.
- Identifying malware
- Phishing awareness
- Social engineering mitigation
Cybersecurity training should be mandatory each time a new employee joins your team. Small businesses should also organise training for the rest of the staff regularly. You can also conduct cyber attack drills to monitor how your staff will handle real time attacks.
3. Backing up Your Business Data
Besides backing up, you should also ensure that you make copies of backed up data. This is a great practice that might save your business in case you experience an attack or a situation that leads to loss of data. After backing up data, you should save it in a cloud-based technology which you trust.
You can also use hardware for backup like an external hard drive. Data back-ups should be done regularly. You should ensure that you also keep a copy of backed-up data off-site. This is in case of a natural disaster or theft.
4. Regular Patching
Having regular patches and updates to antivirus software and operating systems can go a long way in eliminating vulnerabilities which can be exploited by attackers. You should update operating systems so that they can stay up to date with the latest security patches.
Updates come in handy especially when an older version of software or operating system has a vulnerability which has been patched in the new version. In the past, some companies experienced cyber attacks because they did not patch their operating systems. Hackers targeted machines running older operating system versions exploiting vulnerabilities which had already been patched in newer versions.
5. Securing Business Network
You can take a lot of measures to secure the network in your small business. Your main goal should be ensuring that your business network is separate from what guests or outsiders have access to. A VPN can also be used to encrypt network traffic. This means that whenever traffic is transmitted, it is protected from public networks which ensures privacy.
6. Having a Password Policy
Password reuse is common in almost half of users in small businesses. This is when a user uses one password for more than one site. Reused passwords can be easily guessed. You should also ensure your staff don’t write down passwords since this is another common password misuse. Other people can easily access that password and access to sites or computers they are not allowed to.
The other common wrong practice among employees is sharing passwords. In such cases, different employees may have login information for a certain employee which they can use for wrong practice. This is a habit that should be highly discouraged.
The other password policy you should encourage in your small business is strong and long passwords. Such a password should be a mixture of special characters, numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. Password length should also be long. To avoid the stress of remembering passwords or choosing strong passwords, you can use a password manager. This will ensure more safety as strong passwords are used and kept safely.
Cybersecurity is important for all businesses and it should be included in all business plans. This is why you need to do everything to ensure the safety of your small business’ data. Cyber attacks leading to data breaches are on the rise and small businesses should remain vigilant.
Small businesses can also employ the services of cyber experts like Kaesim to give professional advice on cyber protection. They should have properly documented procedures which every employee should follow.
Small businesses need to remember that their employees also put them at risk of cyber attacks and this is why they should have mandatory training on cybersecurity.
How cyber-secure is your business? Find out with our free cybersecurity health check.
It’s a 30 minute Zoom call that walks through a checklist to assess your current cybersecurity levels and provide a short report with some advice and recommendations.