Have you already thought about how to protect your small business from cyber threats? It is worth starting as early as possible. Small businesses are more vulnerable to breaches and hacks than larger ones, simply because they’re often unprepared for the attack.
Review the BSG tips on cybersecurity for business:
Encrypt backup data
Encrypting Backup Data is used to give you personal control over sensitive information. The information is securely stored on all your devices, from your smartphone to your computer.
Note: You must remember your encryption password, as your data can not be accessed without it.
Data encryption not only protects your system from cyberattacks but can also increase the trust of your customers.
Most customers claim that they do not purchase on sites that do not have an SSL certificate.
*SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is a standard security protocol. It helps protect sensitive data that is transferred between the server and the browser by using encryption. Thus, it is challenging for cybercriminals to gain access to this data and somehow modify it.
When a site uses an SSL certificate, customers can easily make financial transactions there and trust the site. So, this is beneficial for small businesses’ Internet security.
Businesses need regular backups. Never keep passwords and encryption keys together – eliminate potential security risks.
Remember, encrypted backups are a valuable tool to protect your data from security attacks and reputation losses. Still, it is always up to you to choose: the risk of being hacked or the opportunity to prevent data breaches and security incidents.
Train your employees on cyber security awareness
Most of your employees are likely to know very little about cybersecurity, but you can train them. When considering steps to protect the security of your business, remember that one of the main threats is not technological, but biological.
More than 90% of all cyber attacks start with spear-phishing attacks on your employees, who inadvertently open emails and receive malware on their devices.
Every employee needs to know:
- How to protect passwords and rules of how to create them;
- How to use MFA and how it decreases an attack surface;
- How to treat business information at home and work;
- How to recognize the most frequent information security threats and create an actionable plan.
Ask your trustworthy security service provider for security awareness training.
Limit employee access to all data & information
Keep track of the level of access that employees have to your data – limit redundant access to prevent data breaches. The fewer people have free access to valuable data, the lower the risk of human error that is most often the cause of information security threats.
Just don’t give employees more access than they need for what they do at work. If an employee leaves or moves to another position, remove his access and passwords to minimize security threats.
A pinch of access prevention can amount to a ton of protection when it comes to limiting the influence of a disgruntled former employee.
Use multifactor authentication
Multifactor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security technology that requires a mix of authentication methods from independent credentials – Google Authenticator, security keys, email, SMS. For example, using a password together with a code sent to your smartphone for self-authentication, etc.
But even if you use multifactor authentication, it is certainly not 100% protection against hackers. In this case, they will have to spend much more effort, or perhaps, move to an easier victim.
There are different types of MFA; their effectiveness slightly differs depending on how they are used. Physical security keys are considered one of the most powerful forms of MFA. For example, you can purchase a security key Yubico. This MFA method will allow you to associate your account with the key, and no one will be able to log in there until the key is in the device.
If it is not possible to use this tool, then apply another way of MFA – for example, programs such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator, etc. Such applications are more reliable than just SMS to a smartphone with a code.
Perform a regular risk assessment
Risk assessment is an essential part of any small business security plan. Analyze all potential threats regularly to identify possible gaps in the security system of your company. Identifying possible threats will help you plan how to plug any of them.
As part of the risk assessment research, check all your data:
- How the data is stored, and who has access.
- How people with different access levels can bypass it and who might potentially want to do it. Determine the possible course of events and the level of risk if breaches do occur.
After completing your threat identification analysis, define your security strategy. Remember to regularly review and adjust the strategy to ensure more intensive data protection and following up on your security awareness program.
Keep software and operating systems updated
Some people neglect to update the operating system and other software they use in business. Don’t be one of them.
Even if you have automatic updates on all applications and software, check manually for updates. Anything can happen – from an error to the fact that you run out of memory on your hard disk, and there is no space left to download patches.
Each update of your software is more secure than the previous version. The developers in each version fix bugs and loopholes that hackers could exploit, so stay tuned.
Install firewall software
Firewall software also helps protect your business; it can thwart intruders and keep employees browsing dangerous websites. We advise you to install and continuously update firewalls on all devices of your employees.
Don’t forget off-site employees, even if you use a CSP (cloud service provider) or a VPN (a virtual private network). If you want to provide a more significant level of protection, you can install IDPS (intrusion detection/prevention system).
Take care of networks security & endpoint protection
Think not only about protecting the internal system but also about networks security and endpoint protection. Use these router best practices for secure wireless networking:
- Change the administrative password on new devices
- Set the router to use WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA-2), with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for encryption
- Don’t use WEP (Wired-Equivalent Privacy)
- Set the wireless access point so that it does not broadcast its SSID (service set identifier).
If you are going to give wireless internet access to your customers, then separate it from your business network.
Set up web & email filters to recognize phishing
Small business security threats abound, from phishing to ransomware, but web and email filters can help. Use them to prevent potential attacks.
This will help not to clog your mail with spam and will deter hackers.
Warn employees about visiting unsafe sites, such as social media or pornographic ones. You can even create a “black list” for them because just one employee needs to see such a website to unintentionally download malware onto the entire company’s system.
Choose a secure cloud – protect data and eliminate risks.
Using cloud storage will increase your level of security, but do not trust it with absolutely all data. Send the archived data to the server, but those that you constantly use – to the cloud.
To choose the proper cloud storage, study all the possibilities that will open before you buy the premium version. Reliable options are Azure, AWS, and GCE. The main thing is to remember to use strong, unique passwords and store them in a password manager.
Do not think security is not a priority for small business
Don’t believe the stereotypes that hackers aren’t interested in your small businesses, and there is no need to worry about security.
Try to learn as much as possible about cybersecurity before you start securing your systems, and, indeed, don’t wait for a data breach. There are many more sources for studying cybersecurity now than before, so you should only highlight the most reliable of them.
Even at a basic level, you can already understand how protected your data and accounts are and whether it is easy to compromise them. To do this, pay attention to how to view and decipher high-level network logs.
Learn to create appropriate firewall rules. It is definitely won’t save you from an advanced security attack, but a well-designed network can solve many of the essential weaknesses that cause security breaches.
*Note: Review the documentation of your cloud service provider while using.
- Firewall rules in Google Cloud
- Cloudflare Firewall Rules
- AWS Network Firewall
- Windows Defender Firewall
- and many others.
Partner with a security consulting firm
Small business owners always have a massive list of things to do, but security is now at the top of priority due to the pandemic.
Not every company can afford a full-time cybersecurity specialist. In that case, there is a need to choose a trusted security service provider with proven expertise and an excellent success score similar to your needs projects. The security of your business should be outsourced to professionals – a security consulting firm or Virtual CISO.
Apply for a quote or free security consultation.
Start with the BSG free Security Health Check
Lack of money for cybersecurity is one of the most common struggles startups, and small businesses face. That is why we decided to launch a free service – Free Security Health Check!
If you are a Ukrainian startup or small business, we would like to help you succeed by providing a free consulting day with BSG experts and identify your organization’s security strengths and security vulnerabilities.
We help startups prepare for future security challenges by conducting a Threat Modeling session and performing an Application Pentest of the MVP.
Investing in security in the early stages is unprofitable. But it is usually too late to redo everything if they started to think about customer’s data protection or security compliance.
The solution to this problem lies on the surface: we must exclude one variable from this equation – money. We let Ukrainian startups spend one day in the company of our software security experts. What can we do in just one day? At least:
- A threat modeling session of the most critical use cases
- Interviews with key developers
- Security test of a prototype or MVP
- Health Check.
As a result, the team gets an unbiased picture of their application security readiness and the security maturity of their product.
- To avoid having to re-engineer the product before entering a regulated market.
- To have an answer to security-related questions of potential investors.
- To properly evaluate the product’s threats, test the team’s aptness to counter them, and plan for future security investments.
We hope, we can help creative developers encounter fewer pitfalls on their way to success.
* Note: The service is free of charge for companies with Ukrainian registration.
Don’t underestimate cyber security threats, no matter the size of your company, even you are a startup or small business. Follow the recommendations above and, with a high chance of probability, hackers will skip your business.
And if you are out of your budget, don’t forget to make the first step on the way to business protection – apply for our Free Security Health Check service by Berezha Security Group or ask for a security consultation.
Take care & stay safe.