Cybersecurity Practices for Small Businesses in 2021Vanessa Venugopal
In 2020, businesses transitioned from working in an office to working from home or running an online shop. As compared to previous years, the number of online business has grown. People who lost their jobs began to run their shop online to make a way of living. Technology has indeed found a way to help us survive in this pandemic.
But with the growing number of businesses and opportunities to run your own shop comes cybercriminals. As the number of people online increases, so would hackers.
Most hackers target vulnerable groups of individuals or businesses online, which means small businesses are mainly at risk. We may often think that hackers target government intellectual property or the data of larger corporations. Some hackers might try, but most won’t spend their time trying to break into security layered with superior solutions. Instead, they’ll go for those businesses that barely invest in cybersecurity.
Small businesses are often the target of cybercriminals because they invest less time and money in security. So this 2021, if you have a business, no matter how small it is or how many customers you have, remember to start securing it.
Cybersecurity Practices for Your Small Business in 2021
Upgrade and Update Everything
No matter what tools you have in your device or what you use for your business, you should frequently update your software. Updating your tools keeps your device and data safe from threats. It patches holes that hackers could enter in.
Aside from enhanced security when updating your software, you will get the latest features to help you with what you need. It also makes the software easy to use and, in some cases, faster than the previous version.
There are also software applications that you need to get rid of, especially if security updates are no longer available. One example is Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. Last year, Microsoft discontinued its security updates on their Windows 7 OS. Hence, making users vulnerable to threats. The best option is to move to the latest OS supported by Microsoft which is Windows 10.
Backup Your Data
There are many reasons your data might get lost, or you won’t have access to the content. It could be due to natural disasters, ransomware attacks, and so on. Therefore, make it a habit to back up your data regularly.
When you lose your data, it would have a financial effect on your business. So, data backup serves as an insurance policy. Data loss costs a lot of money, even if you only need to retrieve a few files.
It protects all of your data, even the most recent. It also backs up data from other devices, such as those from your Android or iOS devices. The system uses 256-bit AES encryption. In addition, you get real-time updates of your synced files, retrieve or restore backed up data, and get reports of your activities and backup status.
It is one of the most trusted brands of backup solution software. They have a wide range of solutions that fit what you need for your business. Backup files from images to your valuable documents, protect your other software such as Office 365 mailboxes and Microsoft Azure VMs. In addition, you can utilize the network storage or local disk backup. Acronis has a similar encryption technology to that of IDrive.
A backup solution that small businesses can vouch for. You can easily install and manage Carbonite without the need to be an expert. It backs up data and protects it from disasters no matter if your files are from your server or external storage devices. When you want to retrieve your data, it’s easy to search and recover it. Furthermore, you can check your files online anytime you want.
Train Your Employees
Aside from you, your employees are also a few of the people who know about your data. Some of them may have access to it due to their role in your company. Therefore, it is crucial to educate your employees about different threats and cybersecurity practices.
Egress 2020 Insider Data Breach Survey has shown that the cause of accidental breaches is due to lack of employee training, lack of powerful security software, lack of employee awareness, and the employee rushing while doing their task. As seen, employees’ lack of knowledge about cybersecurity practices is a contributing factor. So if you are to entrust your data to your employee, make sure to train them first.
- Educate them about the different forms of threats
- Encourage employees to create strong passwords
- Avoid sharing passwords
- Implement policies on email, internet, and social media use
- Create policies for employees when using their own device to access company data or connect to the company network
- Report any threats or suspicious activities
- Make it a mandatory training
- Repeat the training regularly with updates
Secure Your Network
Even your network may be vulnerable to threats, so you need to secure it. Your network needs to be protected from unauthorized individuals that want to gain access. The first step is to restrict who can have access to your Wi-Fi network.
Here are other ways you can secure your business’s network.
Install a Firewall
A firewall is a system used to prevent unauthorized access to a private network. Although it can’t prevent attacks all by itself, implementing firewall protection into your network adds a layer of protection.
Use a VPN
Using a VPN can protect the data that is being transferred from your network. It encrypts every transaction so that hackers won’t be able to see the content. So, whenever you connect to a Wi-Fi connection, you or your employees don’t have to worry about prying eyes. VPNs are helpful for those who work remotely.
Disable File Sharing
Only enable your file-sharing when connected to a file server. If not, make sure that it won’t connect immediately to all your devices when there is an internet connection because anyone connected to that Wi-Fi connection can have access or see your files.
WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access is a system that can encrypt your passwords on your router or Wi-Fi connection.
Firmware is updated at least once a year. Make sure to follow or implement these updates to ensure security and fix bugs.
Enable IPS and IDS
IPS and IDS are both parts of a network infrastructure that works hand-in-hand to analyze traffic and stop threats or attacks.
Implement Strong Passwords
Whether you have employees working remotely or in the office, encourage them to make and use a strong password on everything. Let your employees create a unique password, which is not similar to other of their accounts. In addition, it must follow the guidelines on how to create a strong password.
Employees who work from home should use strong passwords since they use a less secure connection than those who work in the office.
Improve Log in Security with Multifactor Authentication
Aside from using strong passwords, strengthen accounts with multifactor authentication. Multifactor authentication can come in various forms. It could be a code sent via email or text, biometrics, or security question.
Multifactor authentication adds a layer of protection so that hackers would find it difficult to access an account. Furthermore, you’ll also know that someone is trying to access your account as you’ll be receiving messages to confirm the login attempt using the code given to you. In which, you can immediately check your account and change your password to be sure.
Use an Antivirus Software
Businesses shouldn’t need to be reminded to install antivirus software as it should be the first thing in mind. Once you start your business, remember to immediately add an antivirus software program to protect your device and your employees. If you have an employee working remotely, you can use a security solution to cover multiple devices.
There are multiple security solutions to try. You can opt for a business type of security software or simple security software that’s complete.
The Kaspersky Total Security reviews are accurate when they say that it provides you with everything you want when it comes to security software. Total Security is a premium and complete software solution that brings you the protection you’ll need against threats, whether they are new or old. Aside from detecting and removing threats, it won’t affect your device’s performance too. It also stops webcam hackers and phishing attacks and backs up your file safely. Furthermore, it includes protection from banking, online shopping, and protecting kids from inappropriate content. Buy Kaspersky Total Security 2020 at the best price and start to keep your data safe from threats.
Norton is another name that needs no introduction when it comes to security. With the numerous packages they offer, we recommend the Norton Small Business plan. It’s perfect for small businesses to secure their devices and data at an affordable price. Get proactive identification of threats, removes threats when detected, block spam, secures network connection, and provide automatic updates for its system. Protect up to 20 devices.
It uses the multilayered approach to protect devices from ransomware attacks, block phishing sites, and prevent advanced threats from getting into your device. Hence, reducing the risk of data breaches.
Limit Your Employees’ Access
Most threats are those that happen inside your company, and it’s often due to negligence. So, you should limit those who can access your company’s valuable files or data. Give only access to those whose role in your company requires direct access to the data.
In addition to limiting people with access to sensitive content, limit your employees’ ability to install a software application. It would prevent the installation of fraudulent software.
The pandemic changed people’s way of living from running a small business, working from home, purchasing online frequently, and even supporting small and local businesses. As the pandemic continues to 2021, so would people’s habits when it comes to purchasing.
“One major trend since the pandemic and leading into 2021 is the drive of consumers to support small businesses and local economic growth,” said Jeremy Moser, marketing expert and co-founder of uSERP.
So, small businesses are likely to grow. This also means there would be more hackers that would try to breach into businesses’ data. The only way for small businesses to thrive and avoid being a victim of cyberattacks is to implement the cybersecurity practices mentioned in this article.