4 Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Businesses

Cyber Security

Cyber attacks can cripple a business, no matter the size. But for small and midsized companies specifically, cybersecurity is critical. Criminals often target these businesses directly because they believe they have weaker security protocols. Because of this preconceived notion, your company could be at a much higher risk. If you want to avoid dangers like account takeover, data leaks, and malicious programs, your business needs to develop a cybersecurity strategy.

What is Cybersecurity Strategy for Businesses

Your cybersecurity strategy should involve several tiers:

  • Attack identification: You need to identify potential threats and monitor them in case your network is penetrated. This means a comprehensive categorization of what an attack looks like, what systems would be affected, and the potential fallout.
  • Threat minimization: Once you’ve identified an attack, you want to minimize the threat by monitoring the situation. Some system penetrations can be minor and may require a smaller response. But a breach will always require a response of some sort, and minimizing the resulting threat can stop the potential damage.
  •  Damage reduction: Reducing the damage after an attack means making security a priority. If you want to restore your systems operations, you must constantly update your protocols. Don’t get complacent; cyber-attacks can happen at any time. A period of safety does not mean your system isn’t at risk.

There is no way to avoid attacks entirely. While you can thwart lower-level attacks, experienced cybercriminals are far more malicious.

You want to mitigate the fallout of these attacks because they can massively disrupt your business. For example, if your servers go down, customers can’t contact support, and employees can’t contact management. This disintegration of the information chain can result in significant financial loss, not to mention reducing your customers’ trust in your services.

Discuss security with businesses in your supply chain as well. Your networks could be interconnected, so any weakness in their cybersecurity protocols could put your business at risk. Approach the subject with tact; if an attack happens, it’s bad business to blame a supplier outright. Having these conversations ahead of time can protect your business and your business relations as well.

How to Develop a Cybersecurity Strategy

You could use many different avenues to boost your company’s security. Still, we have boiled it down to four basic strategies: employee training, password managers, secure networks, and data backups.

Cybersecurity Training for Employees

Keeping your employees up-to-date on best cybersecurity practices can be one of the most effective security strategies. If your company dedicates time to education on cyber threats and proper response protocol, you can drastically reduce your systems’ weaknesses.

If any of your employees experience an account takeover, cybercriminals could have access to sensitive data or have the ability to access your network directly. Regardless of their level of technological involvement, every department needs to have cybersecurity training. If cybercriminals attacked an area like accounting, they could access critical financial accounts and documents.

Use a Password Manager

Complex passwords are one of the most overlooked cybersecurity strategies, but they are your first line of defense against attacks like an account takeover. If the password is safe, cybercriminals will have a much harder time breaking in. Ensure that you and your employees have long-tail passwords containing varied cases, symbols, and numbers. Many businesses will often make passwords simpler so they are easier to remember; this is a dire mistake.

Make use of password management systems, so your passwords can be as complex as possible. A good password manager will store and keep track of any password, no matter the length. These managers are, for the most part, separate from your system. So if an attack occurs, it’s unlikely that your password manager would be affected.

Securing Networks

Securing the networks themselves is just as important as educating your employees. Have a trained professional probe your network for weaknesses, so they can assess and make necessary changes.

 For example, Wi-Fi networks are often an entry point for cybercriminals. If your Wi-Fi is unsecured or protected by a weak password, any computer connected to that network could be in danger. If your business often has guests connecting to WiFi, consider creating a separate network just for them. That way, you can have more robust authorization protocols for your primary Wi-Fi.

Data Backups

Data is the foundation for modern business, and securing your data means constant and quality data backups. Consistent data backup is the best fail-safe a company can have. If anything should happen, whether that be the physical destruction of equipment or the digital destruction of your systems, a backup can restore your data with minimal hassle.

 Whether that data backup is onsite, offsite, or cloud-based is up to you. Find a plan that fits your budget, and choose an option that you believe will keep your data safe.

There Is Only One Way To Reduce Your Risk Entirely

There is only one way to make your risk of cyberattacks zero percent: unplug from the internet entirely. But, unfortunately, disconnecting isn’t possible for businesses today. That’s why cybersecurity strategies are so important. With the right technology and protocols, you can help catch these cybercriminals and reduce the damage done to businesses everywhere.

About the Author

David LukicDavid Lukić is an information privacy, security and compliance consultant at IDstrong.com. The passion to make cyber security accessible and interesting has led David to share all the knowledge he has.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.