The Top 10 Cybersecurity Tips and Tricks For Small Businesses

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest concerns for many small businesses today. While there’s no foolproof way of defending your business from possible cyberattacks, there are plenty of ways and measures you can take to strengthen your defence – whether it’s XDR or even an SIEM alternative. Below are 10 best ways to protect your business from cyberattacks without breaking the bank.

Allow Regular/Automatic Software and Patch Updates

Software and operating systems need to be updated regularly to fix any security flaws they might have. This is one of the reasons developers release updates regularly, especially on Windows, Android, and iOS operating systems. You can choose to either run these updates manually or simply enable automatic software updates on your devices. 

Some smart devices and software, such as your Wi-Fi router, may not have the option to update automatically. You’d need to update their software manually to run the latest patch. Failure to keep your router’s firmware updated, for example, can leave any devices connected to it vulnerable to manipulation and attacks. Your computers, mobile phones, scanners, printers, etc., would be at the mercy of the hacker. 

Ensure Your Employees Are Well Trained in Cybersecurity

According to a CNBC report, employee negligence is one of the leading causes of data breaches in most companies today. Forty-seven percent of these breaches result from human error, e.g., loss of a device with sensitive information, etc. Training your employees on cybersecurity and how to protect themselves and your business from cyberattacks can save you lots of time, money, and frustration.

Authentication And Use of Strong Passwords

Many people today use the same passwords across multiple accounts and platforms. Most of these passwords are relatively easy to guess, making them the weakest link should anyone (a hacker) guess right. That said, using strong passwords that are not only hard to guess but at least 20 characters long with a mix of alphanumeric and symbols would be advisable. Such a password would take years to brute-force, another reason you want to change the passwords at least once every 3 months.

In addition to strong passwords, it would be advisable to activate/incorporate MFA (multi-factor authentication) into your systems as well. Be sure to use a trustworthy and solid password manager that also reminds you when it is time to change old passwords.

Make Timely Risk Assessments

Small businesses, like large enterprises, need to run risk assessments every once in a while, especially on cybersecurity processes. This means thinking like a malicious person and what a hacker might target, want, or manipulate your systems. Running such assessments will help you identify any loopholes and fix them before it is too late. You might also want to engage with your cloud storage provider for help determining possible threats your business may face. They can also advise you on the best way to handle any threats/vulnerabilities.

Use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)

A VPN provides a secure way to access company files and data with reduced risk of hacker eavesdropping or stealing. One of the advantages of using a VPN, unlike accessing the internet directly, is the fact that VPNs use end-to-end encryption. The encrypted data channel makes the connection ‘invisible,’ especially if someone uses a public access point, home Wi-Fi, or another work site.

Backup Your Files Regularly

Data backups can save you a great deal, especially should your business be targeted or hacked. While cloud storage offers some comfort, you still need to ensure there’s an updated but offline copy of all company files somewhere offsite. Should the data be compromised or malware be uploaded to the cloud server, you’ll still be able to access data on the offline backup drives. As backdated as it might seem, offline data backups are crucial in this day and age.

Invest In a Strong Antivirus System

Computer viruses and malware have become more sophisticated over the years. Some of these can run in the background or even only come alive when required, increasing the risk of data breaches. Installing a strong antivirus on every company device can help prevent possible infections. Your employee’s devices need to have an antivirus system installed as well. Be sure to allow the antivirus to run in the background and enable automatic updates.

Connect Only to Secure Wi-Fi Networks

Ensure your company’s wireless networks are secured. This does not only mean password-protecting the wireless network but also changing the router’s default usernames and passwords. Experts also recommend using an SSID that doesn’t give your business away. In addition to this, ensure the strongest encryption possible (e.g., WPA3) is activated.

Employ The Strongest Security Protocol for Secure Payments

Many small businesses depend on their card processors and banks to provide a secure platform for online transactions and payments. While these entities may have taken the proper measures, you too, need to employ the same. You can do this using industry-standard security measures, such as WPA3 for your networks. WEP is no longer as secure as it was in the late 1990s.

Restrict Access to Computers

Unauthorized access to company computers, laptops, scanners, and other digital devices can be as damaging as a hack. Thus, limiting access to digital devices to only your staff would be advisable. They also need to have proper credentials to access certain types of data. You can have the computer locked in a cabinet away from anyone’s reach to make it impossible to insert an infected USB drive. The staff must also always lock their desktops when stepping away from the desk.