Security is always a big concern for small businesses. This is because smaller businesses have leaner budgets that limit their expenses. It’s estimated that approximately 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. And with more than 60% of organizations going out of business due to security threats, it would help if you learned ways of safeguarding your company.
This article will take a close look at the eight practices that help protect small businesses from online threats. We’ll also discuss some software that can protect your operations.
1. Install a Firewall and Antivirus Software
Most attacks happen because of open access in your networks. Without a firewall, you risk having outsiders accessing your private networks. In most instances, this leads to the introduction of malicious software or corrupt traffic to your system.
To ensure the safety of your business, include firewalls for your hardware and software applications. Make sure to have the latest version of the firewall so you can stay protected from current security threats.
Also, consider including antivirus software in your security protocols. The software will be essential for identifying and removing malware that bypasses your firewall.
With a firewall and antivirus working together, you could save your business from a cost of up to $15000 that most small businesses incur when trying to figure out a cyberattack.
2. Backup Important Business Information
Every piece of information is important in business. Previous data form the basis of most of your plans. For example, if you have been collecting SEO information from a competitor’s website, metrics play an important role in guiding your digital marketing strategies.
Since data breaches are so unpredictable, it’s vital to backup your computers’ data. Saving your data in external devices or the cloud could prove helpful in case of an attack. The data could also serve as a reference when resolving a corrupt system. Backups ensure recovery and continuity of business within the shortest time.
3. Train Your Employees
Employees play an important in every business’ security setup. But if not well managed, employees could be the weak link between you and online security threats. A workforce with no limit to what they can access online could introduce malicious software to your system.
For this reason, the first step to a successful security system is in training your employees. To begin, educate your staff on what they can and cannot access on the internet. Make it a habit to keep them up-to-date with the latest security threats. Let them learn what pages and links they should avoid online. And in case of an attack, inform them on what to do and who to contact.
For your systems, you must set restrictions on websites people can visit. To do this, you can install an IP blocker that blocks access to dangerous sites. You can also include top-level security identifies in programs with sensitive data. Using strong passwords and codes could also help in protecting your small business.
4. Securely Store Your Physical Documents
The security of your business also involves keeping your physical documents safe. Keeping your paperwork safe plays a big part in the success of your business strategies. To safeguard documents from theft, invest in good storage equipment.
A good idea would have a room or file cabinet that’s kept under lock and key at all times. Access to the equipment should also be recorded to make sure that no document is misplaced or stolen. An additional security feature would be having fireproof components for secure storage areas.
5. Plan Your Response
Attacks happen even to the most secured system. Even large companies like Yahoo have experienced attacks at some point in business. But what counts most after an attack is how you bounce back. The faster you can get back to business, the higher your chances of recovering from the losses.
A sure way of managing data breaches is by having an incident response plan. The plan should include what to do before and after a cyberattack. What the plan does is it helps your team know when to disconnect your systems to avoid further damage. It also informs them of who to contact during an attack. The plan also gives direction to the investigation team. It helps resolve and avoid the recurrence of similar attacks.
6. Employ Best Practices on Email
Both the large and small businesses interact a lot on emails. It’s where they grow and nurture most business relationships. For small businesses, emails are convenient for creating a list and upscaling your digital marketing efforts.
But as you grow your list, the risk of cyberattacks also increases. Small businesses face the most risk of getting suspicious email attachments and links. With this comes greater exposure to cyber-attacks.
If not well-managed, a single email could lead to the collapse of the business. It’s for this reason that your team should learn the signs of suspicious email links.
7. Outsource IT Services
Managed IT services have come a long way in helping customers secure their small businesses. They are the 24/7 service that keeps an eye on your systems. With a reliable outsourced IP service, you are sure that your software is always up-to-date.
Outsourced services also stay in touch with current and future threats that may target your business. Even better is how the managed IT services are swift in dealing with cyberattacks. Their expertise places them in a position that keeps your system safe with minimal interruptions.
Include a Security Protocol
There are two types of security protocols that help protect a small business; a VPN and a proxy. A VPN works by encrypting your data. It ensures that only the sender and recipient of the information can decode the context. This means that any third-party trying to access the content can only view texts they cannot understand.
On the other hand, proxies work by hiding your IP address from the public. When your business uses a proxy tool, a cybercriminal can only go as far as viewing the provider’s IP address. This means that anyone tracking your online activities cannot reveal your computers’ details.
When working with a proxy tool and VPN, you mask your online identity. Even better is how the cost, access, and installation of these security protocols is convenient for small businesses.
Most security issues are preventable in businesses. Even when they are not, there are several practices you can follow to protect your businesses from major disasters. For a small business, every information about security protocols, employees, and plans should be well-communicated to avoid interruptions.