Significant security breaches that have occurred in well-known businesses have resulted in cybersecurity becoming a popular topic. However, it is important to know that not only the larger businesses are a target as the smaller businesses typically don’t make the headlines. In addition, cyber attacks on a smaller business can result in devastating effects. In fact within a period of 6 months after a cyber attack around 60% of the small based businesses usually have to close their doors states the National Cyber Security Alliance.
If you are a business owner that already used good antivirus software and you regularly back-up your data you are already on the right path to establishing a digital based protection strategy that is successful. Here are 5 cybersecurity tips you can use to make sure your small company is able to deal with the threats associated with cyber attacks.
1.Implement An Employee Internet Policy
A written policy needs to be created that will cover all the factors associated with cybersecurity that includes the correct usage of company emails onto rules associated with social-media accountability. If you don’t educate the employees in your business about the hazardous effects of inappropriate online behavior, your company can become vulnerable to a number of breaches. Keep in mind that there is never too much caution in regards to cybersecurity.
The Balance is a great starter policy-guide which includes advice on limitations of trade-secret sharing particularly over the social media platforms and restrictions of using company emails for business related activities only. In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration states that businesses need to outline consequences involved in violating the internet policy of the business.
2.Encrypt All Your Data
One of the IBM studies revealed that just one data breach could translate in costing businesses approximately $4 million. The NBC News stated that Target’s 2014 data breach was an attack that resulted in the release of thousands of financial records of their customers which cost the financial institutions involved around $200 million. To avoid these outrageous costs, you need to ensure all your data is encrypted.
When encrypting data digitally it converts the information into a code which is called cipher text which is only decrypted into plain text using a password. This method protects valuable and confidential data you really can’t afford to have compromised. Use these encryption protocols on Cloud storage, business-email accounts, operating systems and networks.
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Are you aware that your standard liability policy for your business may not be able to assist you in recouping a loss from cybersecurity attacks. You actually need a separate policy that covers cybersecurity insurance for this coverage type.
These specialized insurance policies are created to meet up with the budgets of the smaller businesses. The experts suggest that you look for a policy that combines 1st and 3rd party coverage. This enables you to recover the general losses for your business, the interruption to the business and also cover the costs associated with parties affected that have gone onto sue you.
4.Implement A Two-Step Authentication
Passwords have been the security gate keepers since as far back as the 80’s. However, these passwords have become vulnerable with the latest hacking software. As a result, 2FA (two-factor authentication) is vital for security protection. With the 2A it implements a second validation once an employee has entered their first password. Companies that use this multifactor authentication use it in 3 primary ways that include:
The employees enter their verification code that is sent to their email or phone.
Employees are required to log-in using biometric configurations such as voice recognition, or fingerprint scans.
Employees are required to scan a badge or QR code
It is important to consider that 2FA is not a replacement for a strong password. The passwords need to make use of a combination of capital letters, numbers and symbols are a requirement and need to be updated and changed on a regular basis.
5.Develop A Cybersecurity Response Plan
When your business is confronted with a cyber attack, there is a need for an immediate response plan. These preparatory-plans are very important and even our nation has one in place. The Federal Communications Commission has developed a Cyberplanner tool for their business.
When put into practice a response plan for cybersecurity incidents needed to be multilayered into 8 stages:
Plans that have detailed all these strategies assist smaller businesses in quickly stopping an attack, restoring business processes and data, notifying the affected parties and then adapting to this incident to avoid another one into the future.
As the years go by and the threats continue to advance, the chances increase that cybersecurity breaches will occur to your business, As a company owner, you should be considering security sooner than later and make sure you have done all you can to safeguard your business.