March 19, 2020 / Reciprocity
According to a juniper report, the losses that resulted from cybercrime in 2019 amounted to $ 2 trillion. Whereas the large corporations were the main target of these crimes initially, small businesses are as much a target today. This is because small businesses largely have insufficient or non-existent cybersecurity measures. This, in turn, makes them a soft target for hackers and puts their customers, employees, and business records at the risk of being compromised.
For small businesses that cannot afford to hire security specialists, talk about setting up IT security measures can be intimidating. However, understanding common information security threats and setting up protocols
to protect your business does not have to be complicated.
Read on to learn some of the measures you can take to tighten your security.
When it comes to emails, social media platforms, software, and other systems you may use in your organization, passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized access. However, the security your password offers you depends on the type of password you choose and how complicated and random it is.
As a rule of thumb, use passwords that cannot be easily associated with you. This means your spouse’s or children’s names or the names of all your favorite things are not suitable. Ensure that passwords are long and complicated by incorporating letters, numbers, and symbols where possible. This will make them hard to decipher.
For any software and other programs that may hold highly valuable data, implement two-factor authentication. With passwords, no matter how secure it may seem, always change them regularly. To ensure your team does not have any challenges remembering passwords, install a password management system.
Invest in Anti-Virus Software
Cybercriminals use several ways to penetrate your security measures. Most often, it involves the use of malicious code such as computer viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. When such threats infiltrate your systems, devices, or network, they can alter, delete, or block you from accessing your data.
The latter situation is caused by ransomware. As the name suggests, the cyber attackers then offer you a cipher to decrypt the data but only for a steep price. Anti-virus software detects and eliminates such threats before they infiltrate your system.
Ensure Your Operating System Is Up to Date
Cybercriminals are always on the prowl to identify gaps in software and operating systems. As a result, software and operating system developers continuously release updates and new versions of their programs.
Therefore, it is vital that your programs and operating systems are updated as new, and more secure versions are released. Fortunately, you can sign up for automatic updates to ensure you are always protected.
Embed Cybersecurity in Your Corporate Culture and Policies
In many cases, organizations are breached not because they lack the necessary security framework but due to negligence. According to a 2018 report by Shred-it, the main cause of data breaches is employee negligence.
Therefore, it is vital that employees receive the appropriate cybersecurity training and put their training into use on a daily basis. To achieve this, you should first come up with a comprehensive security framework.
It should clearly indicate what is expected for different levels of personnel.
Then, work with your team to identify minor security measures that can be practiced regularly. Involving them during this phase increases their chances of implementing measures voluntarily. With your team on board, your job will be to encourage them to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions at all times. Over time, this will be ingrained in them and become part of the organization’s culture.
Secure Your Smartphone
In most instances, business owners and employees use their smartphones to access their company emails or other systems. This then makes smartphones a likely point of access to the company's network. Therefore, you should ensure that your smartphone is well secured and avoid installing applications from unknown sources.
Protect Your Customers Financial Data Using Encryption Software
Today almost all businesses offer online payment options. For this, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requires all businesses that accept card payments to use data encryption to secure customer financial information.
Work With a Security Company
For Startups and small business, hiring a security specialist can blow up the budget. However, you can still access professional services by working with a security firm. Such firms have highly trained and experienced experts that will ensure that your security protocols are in line with the business’s needs.
Cybersecurity starts with little things. Take the initiative to learn about possible threats. Once you have the framework in place, ensure that all software and programs are up to date. Cyberthreats are a reality that cannot be escaped but can be managed. Without the necessary precautions, it’s not a matter of if you’ll be breached but when.
Reciprocity, Inc. develops ZenGRC, an easy-to-use, lightweight platform that allows companies to manage their information security needs.