Big corporations and governments aren’t the only one susceptible to Cyberthreats, as small business can end up being a target for opportunistic cybercriminals. In fact, 22% of small business have been the targets of cyberattacks according to research.

Therefore, it’s vital that small business protect themselves against these types of attacks. But the fact is most business owners aren’t confident of how they should go about it.

So, to help navigate the cyberthreat world, here’s a guide to help small businesses owners.

What’s at Risk?

To start is good understand what’s at stake, what are the risks? A cyberattack puts at risk your;

#1 money

#2 data

#3 IT equipment

A hacker can do a lot of damage with what they find, if they gain access to your network. Such as;

  • Access to client lists
  • Customer credit card information
  • Your company’s banking details
  • Your pricing structure
  • Product designs
  • Expansion plans
  • Manufacturing processes

But these attacks also put other companies at risk, not just yours. Hackers can use what they find in your network to link into the networks of other companies, those who are in your supply chains.

What’s the Impact of an Attack?

If you think that a cyberattack won’t have an impact on your small business. Think again! In the Symantec Internet security threat report, the research shows that 60% of small businesses that fall victim to an attack shut down within six months after the breach

And while the prospect of closing your business would be devastating, these are not the only consequences of an attack. Your business could experience the following:

  • Financial losses from theft of banking information
  • Financial losses from disruption of business
  • High costs to rid your network of threats
  • Damage to your reputation after telling customers their information was compromised

What Can You Do to Protect Your Business from Cyberthreats?

You might feel helpless against cyberattacks especially as a small business without many resources. But not all’s lost because you can take some simple steps to help protect your company and gain some cyber resilience for business continuity. And we’ll help get you started.

Train Employees

Training employees is one of the best ways to protect against cyberthreats. Losses caused through human error or human nature, is at a high 43 percent according to research. In other words, either maliciously or carelessly internal staff can give cybercriminals access to your networks.

Employees can initiate an attack via many different scenarios.

For instance:

loss of work laptop

weak passwords

giving away login credentials

ex-employees still having login access to your networks

opening fraudulent emails, which deploys viruses on the network.

So, the best thing to do to protect against threats is educate employees and invest in getting them some cybersecurity training. The training will help to spot suspicious looking emails.

Perform Risk Assessment

Firstly, assess the security of your company’s network, system and information to see if there any potential risks that might compromise your business. Secondly, try and identify any possible threats. Next, analyse and formulate a plan of action to mitigate security gaps.

Meanwhile, take-a-look at where and how your data is stored and who in your organisation has access to it.

  • Are they meant to have access, or that level of access?
  • And who will want access to the data and how will they try to obtain it?

Consider getting a cybersecurity assessment report done by an expert if your unsure of how to perform risk assessment.

After that think about worst case scenario, what would happen if an event occurred:

What is your risk level?

How would a breach potentially impact the business?

Subsequent, to your findings, or once this analysis is complete start developing or refining your security strategy, especially since you’ve identified potential threats.  

Most importantly, at regular intervals review and revise your security strategy or if you make any substantial changes to information storage and usage.

Continuing to look at your security means your less likely to be caught unaware and helps provide better protection for your data.

Deploy Antivirus Software

To protect all of your devices from viruses, spyware, ransomware and phishing scams, you need antivirus software. The software must offer protection and the technology that enables you to reset them to pre-infected state, once cleaned.

Keep Software Updated

To keep your business running smoothly and safely, the software you use should be kept up to date. Regular software patching, close coding loopholes that hackers can slip through.

Back Up Your Files Regularly

In the event of a cyberattack, could you still access your data? In other words, does your company back up its files? Afterall during an attack your data could be deleted or compromised. And you still need to run your business. Most businesses wouldn’t be able to function, given the amount if data stored on laptops and mobiles.

As a result, find a backup program that automatically copies your files to storage so you can still function if an event happens. Because you’ll be able to restore all your file from the backup and keep operating. 

Remember to store copies of the backup in a safe place, preferably offline so there’s no chance of them being encrypted with the rest of the network. And they be safe and inaccessible if your business suffers an attack.

Extra tips for gaining cybersecurity skills

What to Look For in a Cybersecurity Company

For many businesses, cybersecurity is not their place of expertise and so you might want some help. It’s understandable. After all, you need to concentrate on running the business. But, how do you chose the best cybersecurity company to help you? Here’s a checklist of features.

Independent Reviews

You could be dazzled with the big tech words and an impressive marketing campaign. But we recommend checking reviews and their references.

Avoiding Cheap Options

It might be tempting to employ a company to come in, installs some software and you never deal with them again. However, it’s much better to build a relationship with a Managed Service Provider, that way you can ask for their expertise throughout your business lifespan.

Also, if you have an IT company claiming to specialise in just one field and who can’t offer additional products, service or support, they may not be the right fit for you.

Extra Support

Most importantly, choose a company that helps you navigate threats allowing you to concentrate more on the business, rather than the security. You need a business who is and reliable and knowledgeable and who offer impeccable support. Perhaps a company that can offer cybersecurity training, or cybersecurity risk assessments. Afterall, they need to take the hassle out of cybersecurity.

Growth Potential

If your business has growth potential and you have set some goals, you need a cybersecurity IT company that has the capacity to grow with you. If they offer a full suite of security choices, including some that will help you in the future, then this company is worth considering.

Cybersecurity is fast becoming the small businesses top priority on their to-do-list. So, ensure you choose the right cybersecurity specialist for you and your business.

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