11 Cybersecurity Tips for Your Small Business

It’s no secret that cybercrime is more of a problem than ever. As more companies come online to take advantage of the internet, hackers have more targets to take advantage of. Reports say that 2020 saw the highest number of cybercrime complaints, with a total of 791,790 reports.

Luckily, there are several common cybersecurity tips you can use to make your business more secure. Follow the 11 business cybersecurity tactics below to protect your company from online threats.

1. Create a Software Update Schedule

Outdated software is a significant security risk you can’t afford to have. Your software might have excellent security out of the box, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way in the future.

New software exploits get discovered all the time. If you have software that uses technology included in those exploits, your business is at risk.

Software vendors release patches regularly to account for those threats. However, not every business updates its software. You never know what compatibility problems you’ll experience with software updates.

Set up test environments as soon as possible on software releases to try new updates. If everything looks good, roll out software updates immediately to protect yourself from the latest threats.

2. Enforce Strong Passwords

It’s hard to create simple passwords on the internet these days. Companies know the value of strong passwords that are tough to guess. However, not every organization does the same for employees in the office.

Your team will need credentials to access your computer systems and remote services. Some of those people will use simple passwords to avoid memorizing complicated passwords.

This is a significant security concern. If people use memorable passwords relevant to them, hackers can learn personal information about your employees and guess their passwords.

Set a password policy in your IT infrastructure that requires complexity. Here is the bare minimum you need to ask for:

  • At least eight characters
  • One lowercase character
  • One uppercase character
  • One special character

These requirements will make for a more complex password that’s harder to guess.

3. Use a Password Management Tool

As you build your password policy, you may see that your employees have problems remembering their passwords. They’ll keep them on post-it notes on their desks or keep them digitally on their computers.

This is something you don’t want to happen. What happens if someone comes into your office and sees passwords on desks or a hacker compromises your computer systems?

A password manager will solve this problem. Your password manager will create complex passwords for you and automatically fill them in your online accounts.

Your employees don’t need to remember any login credentials when you go this route.

4. Set Up Two Factor Authentication

Great passwords are only the first step toward securing your company accounts. There are still ways to access website accounts that don’t require knowing passwords. You’ll need a secondary authentication code to prevent unauthorized access in cases like this.

Two-factor authentication is a security measure that sends a secondary code to another device. Here are a few popular ways to send security codes:

  • Email
  • SMS
  • Authenticator application
  • Hardware key

Even if a hacker has an account that belongs to an employee, they can’t access that account without a secondary code. Since the code gets sent to a personal device, two-factor authentication will stop any unauthorized access.

5. Use a Hardware Firewall

Do you have a computer network at work? If so, it’s hard to keep the computers on your network safe if you don’t know what’s happening.

A firewall will give you the knowledge to make better choices on your computer network. You can see what websites employees visit, monitor incoming internet traffic, and block bad neighborhoods on the internet.

Modern hardware firewalls also contain threat databases that let the machine know what to watch for when scanning incoming traffic. If your firewall sees a threat that matches something in the threat database, it will stop the traffic before it hits your network to prevent cyberattacks.

6. Encourage VPN Usage for Remote Users

Remote work is at an all-time high. When offices shut down during the COVID lockdowns, employers still needed work completed. Because of that, they gave employees the resources to work from home.

Many people find the work-from-home life beneficial and want to keep doing that in the future.

While this is a great perk to offer your team, it does present a security risk. You can’t control the environment of someone working from home. You have to trust that they’re doing so in a safe environment.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Using a VPN for your work-at-home employees is a solution to that problem.

A VPN will create an encrypted tunnel to your office that hides data. Nobody snooping on your remote employees can view this data and steal sensitive information.

7. Use Anti-Malware Software

Even if a firewall can protect your business, in many cases, it doesn’t cover everything. Malware today does an excellent job of disguising itself as legitimate software and file downloads. Eventually, someone will make a mistake and install malware on their computer.

This is where anti-malware software comes into play. Your anti-malware program will scan all file downloads for threats and remove any threats it finds. It can also run regular scans on your computer systems to see if problems have made it onto your systems.

Many professional malware programs offer a central management location for the software. You can push malware definitions and software updates to every device at once to guarantee your entire organization has updated malware protection.

8. Perform Regular Backups

You can’t run an effective business without data these days. You need quality business data to make better business decisions, understand what your customers want, and learn about your company’s problems.

The problem comes when a disaster happens that causes data loss. Without a data protection system to back up your files, you’ll have to rebuild everything from scratch.

Whether using a cloud backup solution or doing physical backups, create a strategy to protect your files. Doing this means you have a way to recover lost data and return to business as usual quickly.

9. Use Multiple WiFi Networks

WiFi at work is now expected from both employees and visitors. People carry connected devices with them all the time now. They don’t want to get stuck using slow mobile connections when on those devices.

Because of that, companies now offer WiFi to both employees and guests. The problem is that you don’t control those devices. Visitors may accidentally introduce malware and other threats to your network.

You can minimize the threat by creating separate WiFi networks for those people. Create a separate network for employee and guest devices. Any critical business system should be on a separate network.

Doing this will minimize the spread of threats and help you protect your most critical hardware and data.

10. Train Your Team

No matter how many security precautions you take in your business, you can’t predict when an employee will make a mistake and cause a security breach. Unfortunately, it happens more than you think. That makes employees one of the biggest security risks you have.

If you want to keep people from making mistakes, you need to let them know what they can and can’t do on the internet at work. You’ll need excellent training to make this clear.

You can invest in online training courses or offer in-person security classes. Whatever method you choose, make going through this training a requirement. It will teach people how to avoid malicious files online and avoid phishing attempts that try to steal information.

11. Get a Security Audit

Even if you use every company cybersecurity tip at your disposal to protect your business, there’s no guarantee you didn’t make a mistake. Even the most experienced IT professionals make them at times. Unfortunately, one slipup is all it takes to compromise a business network.

Having more eyeballs on your security setup can help prevent a security breach from happening. An experienced security consultant can look at your current security system and check it for problems.

Once the expert provided by managed IT services completes their assessment, you’ll get a report detailing your current issues. From there, you can fix things yourself or continue working with your security consultant to fix things.

Always Watch for More Cybersecurity Tips

The above cybersecurity tips are a great way to protect your business from today’s threats. However, that doesn’t mean these tips will be enough for information protection in the future.

The world of cybersecurity changes often, which means you’ll need to stay on top of future threats. Make it a point to keep updated on the latest cybersecurity trends to ensure you have what you need to protect your business in the future.

Head back to the blog if you’re interested in more tips that will help you make the most of technology in your business.

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