Cybersecurity is indeed a very important concern for SMBs; however, due to certain limitations, many small and medium businesses (SMBs) cannot secure their organisations properly. In fact, according to a report, more than 50% of SMBs have experienced a cyberattack and a data breach. This, in turn, has led to the majority of SMBs understanding the importance of having a robust security posture in place.
And, considering SMBs aren’t comprehensive with their security strategies, making them vulnerable; it gets a lot easier for hackers and criminals to attack a small business over a large organisation.
If you’re a small business, then this is the high time to re-plan your security posture. Below are four ways SMBs can protect themselves from cyber-attacks.
Understand the dynamic landscape & the changing trends
In order to prepare to fight against cybercriminals, SMBs need to create a comprehensive security strategy. And to be ready with your cybersecurity posture, it is imperative for business leaders to have a comprehensive understanding of the vulnerabilities — be it internal or external, that can affect their business and how hackers can gain entry including their different methods and motives, and points of weakness. According to experts, for most of the instances, cyberattacks either happen due to businesses having a weak security system, or a week firewall system to fight against the cyber attacks. And, therefore learning different types of cyber fraud schemes and common threats – everything from phishing and spoofing scams, to systems hacking and pharming, will help SMBs to plan their moves way ahead of the actual attack.
SMBs should also ensure that all of their employees are well aware of the changing cybersecurity scenario so that they do not mishandle sensitive and confidential business information. Ensuring these points will help SMBs to create robust and comprehensive strategies in order to protect their business from potential attacks. Some of the common cyber attacks methods to be aware of are — hacking, phishing, social engineering, malware threats, and identity thefts.
Vulnerable hardware can provide an edge to cybercriminals
SMBs need to understand the importance of securing their hardware as frequently as their software. In order to stand against cybercriminals, it is imperative to secure all hardware devices and software network with the most robust security solutions available and should keep them updated. Most small and medium businesses fail to consider securing their business’ hardware, which later can cost them during an actual cyber attack. In fact, for small businesses, any loss or theft of business hardware, even the tiniest ones, could be as dangerous as it is equivalent to a vital data breach. Therefore business leaders must ensure that only authorised employees are given access to integrities of business hardware. Apart from creating a firewall for accessing sensitive information, in order to secure business hardware, SMBs must deploy multi-factor authentication for people accessing their hardware devices and surveillance system.
Ensuring security policies for better management
For SMBs to run smoothly without the fear of being attacked by cybercriminals, it is critical to defining protocols to abide by. But in order to be effective in this dynamic environment, the security policy must permeate throughout the organisation, through every department, and should be comprehensively embedded into its overall business strategy. A robust security policy should direct how each employee should operate in the organisation. After all, employees have access to the company’s sensitive information about the company, which makes them the first line of defence against cyber attacks. Consequently, SMBs need to educate and train their employees about data and its protection. Every employee should be aware of the warning signs, red flags, safe practices, and responses to a suspected attack. Employees should be well aware of ways to protect themselves, such as using complex and strong passwords and maintaining a clean desktop in order to not expose the company’s sensitive information for other potential people using your devices. The newer cybercriminals are way advanced and therefore SMBS to be well aware of the new emerging scenarios. Additionally, SMBs should also have deployed a mitigation plan that can help them in cases of cyber attacks.
Employees awareness for better security
Last but not least, the most important thing for an SMB to foolproof themselves from cyberattacks is to educate their employees. Usually, employees aren’t trained enough to understand the risks they can create due to their mistakes. Therefore it is vital to train your staff and make them aware of cyberspace, and ways to prevent and deal with cyberattacks. Also, in cases of employees working remotely or when employees are using their own device to communicate and deal with confidential business information, SMB needs to ensure that the devices are well secured with necessary firewalls, encryption, and strict password policies. In short, SMBs should make their employees aware of the risks involved in sharing personal or business information over the internet.
In order to thrive in this dynamic environment, SMBs should start thinking about creating a robust security strategy. As we all know, prevention is better than cure, and therefore SMBs should secure themselves in advance to stand against the cybercriminals as well as prepare strategies to mitigate an actual attack.
It is currently crucial for SMB owners to take cybersecurity seriously. However, creating a robust cybersecurity framework should never come in the way of business innovation; rather, comprehensive security should be created to add value to the business.
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Sejuti currently works as Senior Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org