No matter the size, today’s businesses have never been more exposed to the perils of the connected world. Nobody is spared, not even startups and SMBs. Cybercrime is on the continual rise, growing more clever and surprisingly picky with every new attack.
According to multiple reports, it’s the smallest targets that have it the worst.
SMBs account for the majority of data breaches – a whopping 58% – because they are less likely to have a robust security system in place. And while certain attacks are like fleabites to big corporations, no business big or small can survive a massive data breach without major losses.
The consequences are always dire, both financially and otherwise.
Businesses that allow for their customer or employee data to be leaked lose not only millions of dollars but also another crucial thing – the public’s trust. But preventing all this doesn’t require a strenuous effort or expensive investments. So you need to ask yourself: is your company doing enough to ensure cybersecurity?
Do you have a strong security policy?
Developing a strong security policy and implementing it consistently across the company might take some time, but it’s the first and most crucial step towards success. And while you’re making these changes, start building a security-focused workplace culture as well.
We’ll talk more about this later, but for now, you should know that every industry has its own security compliance requirements about IT infrastructures and services. Find out what this entails for your industry and make sure your company is compliant. This will help provide your policy with a solid framework.
Also, if your company has employees, customers, or users from the EU, then you need to be GDPR compliant as well. This will essentially change the way you use the information you hold on people, but it will also make you more secure, reliable, and trustworthy.
Are your networks and devices secure?
And if you think that they are, how can you tell?
A secure business network must be password-protected, of course. But this is not just any password. You need a complicated, random combination of more than ten letters, numbers, and symbols that nobody would be able to guess, and no system would be able to crack. And you need one of these for each device.
Additionally, your devices must be protected with the latest versions of anti-malware and firewall software. Every software must be updated regularly to fix system bugs and weak spots. Your IT team should be checking all company computers at least once a month.
Top-to-bottom security audits are recommended on an annual basis, but that’s not all. If you keep an in-house data server, you should keep it in a “locked cage” accessible only to personnel with security clearance. Network access rights should be different for all users.
Is your company data encrypted?
A secure network should keep your company data safe from both external and internal attacks, but on the off-chance that a data breach does occur, you should have a second line of defense behind it. That’s why you should keep your business data encrypted. Even if your data gets stolen, the thieves won’t be able to read it.
Along with data encryption, smart businesses are using system back-ups and VPNs. The first ensures that you’re not vulnerable to ransom attacks, while the second encrypts your online data. If your employees spend a lot of time online, you should consider providing them with a VPN.
How efficient is your employee training?
Unfortunately, the best security tools and protocols won’t be able to help your company if its staff is untrained and reckless. A reported 74% of companies feel vulnerable to insider threats. Intentionally or not, a company’s employees can be a huge security risk.
Employees should, therefore, be educated on security protocols throughout onboarding and training. Security should also be taught continuously because cybersecurity threats and solutions are always changing. Still, a few of these skills are considered essential.
For instance, employees should learn how to use their private devices from the business network without jeopardizing anyone’s safety. They should also be tested for social engineering so that they can notice phishing emails and avoid fraudulent websites.
How well do you know your partners?
You’re never alone in business. Even if your company doesn’t have any strategic partners, it certainly has an IT vendor or a cloud service provider. The need to protect employee and customer data, as well as business records and documents, must always be put in a broader context.
Your company probably won’t be able to avoid sharing some of this data. Therefore, your security policy should include risk management for these scenarios as well. Vet all your partners against malicious intent and demand security audits from them.
No matter how big or small, an unprotected business makes an easy target. This renders the “it won’t happen to me” mindset incredibly dangerous. Let it go and adopt a different approach.
Whether you’re a company CEO, a team manager, or an ambitious employee, you can achieve maximum security if you start with your own device.