Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) rely on information technology as much as any large enterprise, but they usually don’t have the luxury of being able to afford a robust cybersecurity program.
Here’s what SMBs need to know about their unique vulnerabilities (and how to start fixing them).
Why are SMBs at risk?
In many cases, bad actors are after one thing: money. So why don’t they solely target large enterprises? Big organizations rake in a lot of revenue, but that also means they can afford highly sophisticated cybersecurity measures. Small and medium-sized business, on the other hand, tend to have weaker security. This makes them frequent targets for bad actors that want an easy payout or are searching for sensitive information that will help them break into the networks of larger organizations.
No matter the motivation, cyber attacks against SMBs are on the rise, with some of today’s most common threats including phishing attacks, ransomware, credential stuffing, and unpatched systems. Thankfully, there are steps small and medium-sized businesses can take to shore up their cybersecurity.
INCIDENT RESPONSE PLAN
For SMBs, a data breach could mean closing down business for good. To minimize the those chances, you need a game plan for rapidly responding to and eliminating cyber attacks.
An incident response program involves defining how exactly you’ll respond to an attack, including who will be the decision-makers, what tactics you’ll use to detect, contain, and eradicate the attack, and the steps you’ll follow to recover. Having clear policies and procedures in place help you respond to threats faster and more effectively, even if you don’t have the resources for highly sophisticated security measures.
A DATA BACKUP STRATEGY
Ransomware and other cyber attacks are a question of when, not if, which means a secure data backup strategy is critical to protect yourself from data loss and downtime. Follow these tips when developing yours:
- Back up data off-site or, even better, in the cloud
- Don’t rely on a single storage location
- If you set up automated backups, make sure to check them regularly for any failures
- Don’t leave any programs open during a backup or the information won’t be saved
Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a simple yet significant step towards a stronger security posture. With an MFA system in place, employees must verify their identity using something they know (a password or PIN number) and something they have (a code sent to their mobile device). This added layer of security makes it much more difficult for bad actors to find and exploit your business’s passwords.
END POINT PROTECTION
Just as you’d lock up a physical work space at the end of the day, you need to protect your business’s digital points of access. For many SMBs, this often means implementing a suite of basic security tools like encryption and antivirus software, which will allow you to start strengthening the barrier between cyber threats and your critical assets.
Best practices to follow
KEEP EVERYTHING UPDATED
Outdated machines create weaknesses that bad actors can exploit. A simple way of mitigating your risk of attack is to ensure you’re regularly patching vulnerabilities and updating your security software, web browsers, and operating systems.
INVEST IN EMPLOYEE TRAINING
The vast majority of attacks are a result of human error, so training your employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as how to create strong passwords and identify phishing emails, is critical to protecting your business. Tip: Your training program should be ongoing so your workforce is always up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats.
SMBs often don’t have the resources to build or manage an in-house IT team that can keep up with their unique security needs. Bringing in an external team of cybersecurity experts gives SMB owners business-critical IT tools, expertise, and support at the right cost.
An Industry-Leading Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)
An award-winning MSSP, AccountabilIT provides enterprise-level cybersecurity capabilities scaled to fit the needs of any small or medium-sized business—and we do it with the highest levels of customer service. Learn more about why SMBs trust our right-sized, customer-driven solutions.