Cybersecurity Best Practices All Small Businesses Should Follow
Jessica Anderson

With 2017 being a record-breaking year for cybersecurity incidents, it is clear that this is a concern for every business. From small, digitally-enabled companies, to large enterprises, organizations of different sizes are facing the same threat.

Hackers are trying to exploit your vulnerabilities in different ways. The best way to protect your data is to ensure you have a sound cybersecurity policy in place.

To get started, you need to evaluate where you stand. Consider your network protection strategies, infrastructure security and providers’ reliability. Otherwise, you will never know who is trying to break in, what they are trying to take, or how they plan to do it.

Best practices for protection always change with the market and with new technology. Here are some of the most significant steps that you can take to improve your small business cybersecurity today.

Anti Malware Software

You need more than antivirus software - you need anti-malware software. This term is specific and applies to the many different types of attacks that you may face. For instance, phishing is not considered the same as a virus. The attack is different, and the solutions that stop one will not stop the other.

Phishing and ransomware are just two of the newer types of attacks that malware software will help to stop. Phishing is especially important to stop because of the propensity of employees to mistakenly open phishing emails. According to Verizon, 30% of employees still open emails that are phishing for your proprietary information.

Using a Multifactor ID

Believe it or not, most security backdoors come from the mistakes of employees. Multifactor identification helps to close the holes that may open from the missteps of your staff. It is usually recommended to connect one of the forms of ID to the cell phone because thieves are less likely to have the PIN number and the password on a phone they do not own.

Even huge companies use multifactor ID for an extra layer of protection. How critical will this extra layer be for your company?

Backing Up Data On a Regular Basis

Yes, backing up your data on a regular basis will help to ensure the security of your company in the digital world. This may seem like an obvious tip, but you might be surprised by how many people overlook it. It is also one of the least expensive cybersecurity precautions that you can take.

Make sure that your backup data is stored in a completely separate physical location. Backup all of the data that you have in the cloud as well. You should back up all of your documents, including HR files, databases, spreadsheets, financial records and accounts payable and receivable files.

Use Safe Passwords

Changing a password can be a huge pain in the neck. This is especially true if you have new software packages to add to your infrastructure on a consistent basis. However, it is a step that must be taken. In the interconnected digital world we live in, where apps tie into other apps, one weakness can compromise your entire system.

However, reports from Verizon found that 63% of all data breaches came about because of passwords that were weak, lost or stolen. 65% of companies do not enforce a formal password policy. The similarity of these two numbers is not a coincidence - it is essential for a company to protect itself through every password it comes across.

A simple solution to overcoming this problem is to use secure password storage tools such as LastPass or KeyPass. They will make it easy for your employees to manage their passwords, and they will maintain the necessary level of password protection.

Educate and Train Employees On Latest Threats

None of the strategies listed here will work if your employees do not know how to implement them correctly. Educate all of your employees on the network that you are setting up. This is especially important when you are adding a new security policy.

You will probably have to update your security policies more often as hackers get better and better at what they do. Keep in mind that you have to update your employees just as often as you update your infrastructure, and you will find fewer problems in your cybersecurity.

Protect Your Mobile Infrastructure

The days of mobile phones being safe from hackers are long gone. Many hackers now consider employees’ smartphones as a great way to get into the general infrastructure of your company. Having a mobile phone policy and protection measures is especially important for companies who allow remote work.

You must include all of your wearable devices in your security policy as well. If your employees wear fitness trackers or smartwatches that are connected to your infrastructure, you must protect them as well. Hackers know how to exploit even the smallest hole in your security, so make sure that you do not allow it!

Analyze Your Policies

No cybersecurity policy will be perfect from the beginning. You will need to continually analyze your strategies to see where the holes are and how you can close them. It is essential that you document all of your protocols. You can get a template of how to do this from the FCC Cyberplanner 2.0.

Invest in a Firewall

The first line of defense to improve cybersecurity is a great firewall. This is a tip that the FCC recommends that all businesses take regardless of any other security measures. The firewall will set up a barrier between your proprietary information and the criminals that may be looking to steal your IPs.

If your employees work from home or on mobile devices, it is essential that they install a firewall on each of those devices as well. You should also implement firewall software that makes sure all of your home and business networks align with each other. Compliance is vital for networks, or you may find that they open more holes than they close.

The tips above will keep you keep your business-critical data safe. You must remain vigilant and make sure that all of your employees are up to date on the technology and the strategy that you are using.

Protect yourself from the inside and outside, and you will create a much safer environment to do business and make money.