It’s time to recalibrate your thinking if you believe your enterprise is safe from hackers because your business is considered small. Yes, system incursions upon the likes of Microsoft, Estee Lauder and T-Mobile get the lion’s share of media attention, however cybercriminals hungrily eye higher-volume smaller targets as well. Making them all the more appetizing is the complacency many small business owners have when it comes to network security.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some cybersecurity best practices for SMB IT.
- Take It Seriously
Sure, this might sound like something that doesn’t need to be said, but a surprising number of data breaches occur because people neglect to treat security as a priority. Employees get lazy about scrutinizing emails and text messages carefully before opening links and attachments. Passwords go unchanged for years because they’re easy to remember. Access codes are shared among “trusted” employees. First and foremost, cybersecurity should be afforded the respect it deserves because ignoring it can shut a company down altogether.
- Carry Cyber Insurance
It’s important to operate from the mindset of what will happen when your system is attacked, as opposed to if. This makes carrying a cyber insurance policy with a reputable carrier a good idea. In addition to providing vital financial assistance in the wake of a data breach, cyber insurers scrutinize your security arrangements before agreeing to issue a policy. In other words, they look for ways to infiltrate your network and show you how to plug those gaps before they cover you.
- Employ Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
This one goes somewhat hand in hand with number one above. Prioritizing convenience over security can leave your system open to infiltrators. While requiring multi-factor authentication before permitting access to your network does mean users must take additional steps, it also introduces another hurdle of protection over which interlopers must leap. Compromised, reused and weak passwords are responsible for 81 percent of hacking related breaches. MFA is one of the easiest and most effective measures you can take to ramp up enterprise cybersecurity.
- Implement and Enforce a Bring Your Own Device Policy
The Internet of Things has given rise to a plethora of endpoint devices, many of which represent a potential point of entry to your network. This must be addressed head-on. Forbid — and take steps to prevent — the storage of sensitive data on personal devices. Permit access to sensitive information only through an encrypted VPN. Employee owned devices should be granted guest access only over the internet. And, devise and implement an emergency response plan of the steps to take when an employee loses a device. The more endpoints are accessing your network, the more important it is to take cloud and on-premises network security seriously.
- ABU — Always Be Updating
Next to weak passwords, old software is another leading cause of data breaches. We know you’ve heard it hundreds of times before, but that should render it all the more important in your mind. Install software updates the moment they become available. This is especially critical for security, web server, and operating system software. Each new version of these contains updated anti-virus and anti-malware coding, typically in response to the latest breach. In other words, hackers find ways in and programmers lock those doors as soon as they become aware of them. Ignoring updates leaves your system vulnerable to people who are aware of those portals.
Always be updating.
These are five of the simplest ways to protect your network. Even better, they can be implemented at minimal cost. Being small is no guarantee criminals will overlook your business. Implementing these cyber security best practices for SMB IT helps prevent your company from being viewed as low hanging fruit, encouraging hackers to look for an easier target.