Small businesses are just as big a target for cyberattacks as enterprises and corporations. What security practices should they have in place?
In 2023, the need for cybersecurity is as strong as ever – in fact, most experts agree that cybersecurity should be on every business’ top priority list; if cyber threats are constantly evolving, so too should businesses’ security strategies. We talked with a number of IT companies with experience working with small businesses – all of them had suggestions for the types of security measures and practices that organisations should be implementing. Some examples of these measures include:
The first line of defence for any business’ network is their firewall – this is why it is such an essential technology to be using. The firewall helps to manage web traffic passing in and out of a business’ network. Firewalls are typically configured to guard networks from external threats, but more and more businesses are also utilizing internal firewalls to add additional protection in the event of a threat breaching the network perimeter. Firewalls are usually installed on servers, but Cloud Firewalls are also available to businesses.
Written Cybersecurity Policies
Cybersecurity is so important for businesses that they must not rely on word of mouth to enforce protocols and practices. Every businesses should have an official, documented set of policies that staff can refer to. There are many sources for training, checklists, and toolkits to help small businesses establish a robust set of cybersecurity policies.
Staff Security Training
Following on from the previous point, staff training can be the difference between a secure organisation and an organisation in chaos. All the technology in the world cannot safe a business from something as simple as human error (and there are many high profile examples of such incidents). A company we spoke with that provides IT support for Schools confirmed that cybersecurity education and training is a service they offer to clients.
Mobile Device Management
As businesses become increasingly comfortable with the use of mobile devices (i.e. smartphones, or tablets), the need for robust mobile device management becomes increasingly important. Many businesses enact ‘BYOD’ policies (bring your own device) to save many and offer staff more convenience. However, storing and sharing company data on a personal device should not be permitted without mobile device management solutions in place.
Strong Password Practice
A frequently overlooked security risk in business is password practice – and yet, ironically, it is one of the easiest ways to reinforce an organisation’s cybersecurity. A company we spoke with that provides IT support Croydon and London businesses have relied on for years stated that strong password practice should be among the most fundamental defences a business has. They recommended the use of password management software to make it easier to generate and keep track of multiple strong, unique passwords.
In the event of a major security breach, it is reassuring to know that you have a full backup of the organisation’s data in place. Some cyber threats are designed around locking companies out of their own data, and holding it ransom. Other times, a cyber attack is simply designed to corrupt and destroy data at random. Nowadays, thanks to cloud computing and storage, data backups are easier than ever to schedule – and can be done as often as every hour.
In terms of securing entry points into an organisation’s network, one of the best (and easiest to implement) options is multi-factor authentication. By requiring more than just a set of credentials to gain access to a device or account (typically a one-time passcode sent via SMS, phone call, or a dedicated app), it becomes considerably harder for anyone other than the authentic accountholder to gain access. An IT provider we spoke to who happens to be an Office 365 company (i.e. their infrastructure is based on the Microsoft Cloud), stated that many business productivity suites include MFA