Everything seems all too well in your business - you're bringing in new clients and increasing your profit each month. However, you find that as your business expands, you’re becoming more and more concerned about the security of your customer and financial data. Unlike others who do not take cybersecurity seriously, you actually understand its significance. However, just the term "cybersecurity" itself intimidates you, you haven't allocated a budget for it, and you find yourself unsure of where to begin and what tools to utilize.
If you resonate with the situation described above, this article is tailored specifically for you.
Cybersecurity does not need to be intimidating. Here’s a list of easy-to-implement checklists that you can cover in the next couple of weeks to safeguard your business.
Update your Software.
Regularly update both your software and hardware to their latest versions.
Start by creating an inventory of the software and hardware you use, and then commit to a regular schedule of updating these components at least twice a month.
Why do you need to do this?
It's because outdated versions of software and hardware often have vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit to gain unauthorized access to your system.
By promptly installing the latest updates, you benefit from the inclusion of essential "patches" that address these vulnerabilities.
Major software developers such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google typically notify users when new software versions become available. It is important to pay attention to these notifications and promptly update your software accordingly.
Back up your data.
If a cybercriminal gets hold of your system, the hacker will most likely hold your data hostage, demanding a ransom in exchange for its release.
This means you could lose access to vital files and data, potentially disrupting your operations.
Backing up your data ensures that you can still access essential information such as legal documents, financial data, invoices, and customer or client records in case such an event happens.
To effectively back up your files, you can use a combination of external hard drives and cloud-based solutions.
Implementing redundancy in your backup strategy adds an extra layer of security.
For small businesses, starting with a 1TB external hard drive should be sufficient.
However, it's best to assess the size of the data you need to back up, as well as your projected growth, before deciding on the appropriate hard drive capacity for your needs.
Once you have set up your backup solution, establish a regular schedule for backing up your files.
Consistency is key in ensuring that your data remains protected.
By committing to a schedule, you can maintain an up-to-date backup that mitigates the potential impact of data loss in the event of a security breach.
Remember, having a reliable backup system not only safeguards your business from data loss but also provides peace of mind, knowing that your critical information is secure and recoverable.
Use Multi-factor authentication.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)adds an additional layer of protection beyond passwords, which are vulnerable to cracking attempts.
By implementing MFA, you can significantly enhance your security posture.
Some of the most popular MFA solutions used by businesses include Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, and Duo.
When setting up MFA, use authenticator apps like the ones mentioned, rather than relying on email or text verification.
The latter methods are easily intercepted by hackers, whereas authenticator apps provide a more secure means of authentication.
To get started with MFA, begin by identifying the specific systems or applications that you want to protect.
Once you have determined your most critical assets, enable MFA authentication for employees who have access to these systems or applications.
Use Antivirus software.
Ensure that your antivirus software is consistently updated to the latest version.
If you have no antivirus software yet, it is highly recommended to get one.
While it is not fool-proof protection, antivirus software plays a critical role in safeguarding your business from malware and viruses.
Antivirus software works by scanning files and websites for malicious behaviors, enabling it to detect and block potential threats.
By doing so, it significantly reduces the risk of a cyberattack to your business.
It's also important to note that compliance standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), require businesses to use antivirus software as part of security requirements.
You can acquire anti-virus software from Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who can also provide tailored recommendations based on the specific needs of your business. These professionals can guide you in selecting the most appropriate antivirus solution that aligns with your security requirements.
Train your Employees.
Regardless of the level of trust you have in your employees, it's important to recognize that every business is susceptible to insider threats.
These threats can be either intentional, such as when a disgruntled employee purposefully sabotages your business, or unintentional, such as when an uninformed employee unknowingly clicks on a malicious link.
Effectively managing insider threats requires implementing a series of measures to mitigate risks and protect your business.
One of the most important steps is to limit employee access to confidential information.
Not all employees need access to every aspect of your business's data.
For example, your marketing team does not necessarily require access to accounting records, and your accounting team may not need access to administrative records.
By implementing access controls and permission levels, you can ensure that employees only have access to the information necessary for their specific roles.
In addition to access control, it is crucial to establish a system that allows employees to easily report suspicious activities while protecting the identity of the whistleblower.
This encourages a culture of awareness and accountability within the organization. Creating a confidential reporting mechanism, such as an anonymous tip line or designated personnel, enables employees to share concerns about potential security breaches without fear of retribution.
Furthermore, conducting regular security training sessions is essential to educate employees about basic cybersecurity hygiene practices.
Training should cover topics such as creating and using strong passwords, avoiding the sharing, or writing down of passwords, and being cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments.
By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, you empower employees to be active participants in maintaining the security of your business.
Cybersecurity definitely encompasses much more than just these five steps, and it extends beyond the mere purchase of antivirus software or using MFA. However, if you're feeling overwhelmed, starting with these five steps can go a long way. After all, taking a small action is always better than doing nothing at all when it comes to the security of your business.
Furthermore, securing your business is an ongoing and dynamic process. As your business expands, it becomes essential to allocate more resources to your cybersecurity efforts. If you're unsure where to begin or need guidance tailored to your business's unique requirements, consider consulting with a cybersecurity professional.
Our team of cybersecurity experts offers free consultations and can provide valuable advice specific to your business's needs. Book a free consultation with us today to see how we can help you achieve your cybersecurity goals.