5 DIY Cybersecurity Steps for Small Businesses
In a landscape where small and medium businesses (SMBs) represent the target of 43% of all data breaches and suffered losses exceeding $2.8 billion in 2020 alone, the need for cybersecurity readiness is starkly evident. While large firms maintain dedicated cybersecurity departments, budget constraints can hinder small businesses from doing the same. Thus, small businesses should empower themselves to handle cybersecurity whenever possible.
Though we always recommend partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) to help augment internal resources, here are a few tips that you can use to help bolster your defense against cyberattacks.
1. Educate Employees
Human error and system failure account for 52% of data security breaches. The best precaution you can take is to establish basic security practices amongst your employees. Enforce policies for strong password creation, responsible internet usage, and proper handling of customer data. Regular training including simulations may help keep your employees sharp while identifying those that may need more education.
2. Keep Company Devices Updated
Most cybersecurity breaches happen when laptops, multifunction copiers and printers and other devices and software aren’t properly maintained. Mitigate these risks by keeping devices updated with the latest web browser, operating system, and anti-virus software versions. These steps significantly reduce the threat of malware and online risks, especially if professional cybersecurity services aren't an option.
3. Secure Wi-Fi Networks
Another efficient way to keep your data secure from online threats is by making sure that you have a secure Wi-Fi network. This means more than just setting up a password - you must make sure that the connection is secure, encrypted, and hidden. Hiding your Wi-Fi network will require you to set up your wireless access point (router) so it does not broadcast a network name (SSID). You should also password protect access to the router.
4. Limit Employee Access Authority
As mentioned earlier, sometimes an organization’s cybersecurity plan is only as strong as its employee policies and procedures. Employees don’t need access to all data systems, only the ones they need to fulfill their duties. Your employees should also need permission to install any software onto their devices to avoid the downloading of malicious software.
5. Set Up a Firewall
Firewalls act as barriers against external access to private networks. Install or enable the operating system's firewall on your business systems, and ensure remote employees also activate their system's firewall.
Safeguarding data demands proactive engagement, resourcefulness, and resilience. Because of the breadth of resources available to them, managed service providers and cybersecurity firms are ultimately the best way to ensure the security of your company and clients. However, small businesses may need alternative methods. These 5 steps can jumpstart data protection if you're going solo, but remember, ongoing efforts are crucial for maintaining security. For an additional set of eyes on your cybersecurity setup, contact us for a technology review.