Over the years, the number of cybersecurity threats has increased in small firms. From 2019-2021, a spike in data breaching has been noticed in certain companies. Primarily, small-scale businesses pose a high risk of cyberattacks. And, researchers addressed many reasons behind that. Small-size organisations tend to neglect to deploy effective data security measures. As a result, these companies face severe business losses.
After a cyber-attack, small companies find it difficult to retrieve lost data. And, for this reason, it becomes essential to follow a cybersecurity plan. But, before that, you should first know which security threat can disrupt business operations. From 2020-2021, 65% of organisations have lost their essential data to phishing attacks. Though preventing this cyberattack is easy, identifying phishing scams can be difficult. Even 60% of small firms faced malware attacks in 2021.
Every 11 seconds, one or another small company comes across a ransomware attack. Do you know why the number of cybercrimes is increasing day by day in these companies? Because of using easy-to-decode passwords and IP addresses. So, every entrepreneur should use strong passwords to prevent potential cybercrimes. That’s not all!
There are a few cybersecurity practices you need to follow to gain the customer’s trust. Do you know which data security protocols protect your business? No! Here we have compiled a list of cybersecurity strategies that you need to implement in 2021:
1. Switch to Two-Factor Authentication
You must have heard about this data security measure, right? And, now, it’s time to implement it in your small firm. With two-factor authentication, 57% of companies are trying to protect their client data from hackers. Moreover, small businesses can safeguard their employee’s sensitive data with 2FA. Gone are the days when entrepreneurs used passwords to keep their devices safe. But, that’s not enough to prevent a data breach in small firms. You have to choose a smart cybersecurity solution.
Two-factor authentication added an extra layer of protection to the business accounts. This data security measure sends a code to the user’s smartphone if someone tries to access the data. It will be helpful to minimise the data vulnerabilities of a small-scale enterprise. More than 47,000 organisations have prevented cyber-attacks after enforcing two-factor authentication. Renowned companies like Amazon, Facebook and Dropbox use 2FA. So, contact an expert, remove the SSL error and enhance the company’s security now.
2. Get a Reliable Anti-Malware Software
Well, 80% of small-scale companies don’t understand the importance of anti-malware programs. And, as a result, these enterprises lose their important business data and reputation. To generate more revenue and to protect business, use this mechanism. But, sometimes, it becomes cumbersome to detect a malware attack.
Small companies lack adequate knowledge about the signs of a malware/virus attack. But, there are a few clear indications that allow the employees to know that malware has infected the device. Do you want to know what those are? If the computer or laptop is flooded with random popups, then it’s because of malware.
Additionally, you might notice that the browser is directing to a malicious site, even when you haven’t searched for those unfamiliar websites. Are you getting warning messages from an app that you haven’t downloaded? Then, probably after the malware attack, it has been installed on the device.
Don’t tap on this app’s messages to fix the problem. Instead of that, uninstall the unknown application and get anti-malware software. And, there are plenty of cloud-based anti-malware programs for small-scale enterprises.
Here is the list of the anti-malware programs which provide endpoint protection :
3. Focus on Regular Data Backup
Needless to say, you can prevent data loss scenarios by backing up the essential data. Though, 90% of small scale companies opt for data backup. But, among them, 41% of organisations back up their business data daily. And, for which, these enterprises experienced an unwanted downtime the previous year. Therefore, every small-scale business holder should implement an effective data backup strategy.
While developing the businesses’ data backup solution, emphasise RPO and RTO. Have you heard about these two elements before? No! RPO is the estimated time gap between the two data backups. And, RPO is the time the data backup process takes in the data restoration. Make sure to minimise both the RPO and RTO time, if you don’t want to lose the business data.
Choose a smart storage solution to keep the data safe from online hackers. It’s recommended to go with cloud backup to protect company-related information. Additionally, some cloud services offer unlimited storage space. Cloud companies follow robust data security measures for better data protection. Switch to SSDs from HDDs for storing a considerable amount of data.
Nowadays, the latest SSDs come with a storage capacity of 100TB. Moreover, this data storage solution is reliable and can withstand cyberattacks. Keep the essential data like music files or videos in at least two different storage mediums.
4. Look for Software Updates
When was the last time you updated the device’s software? Is that a month ago? Opt for an immediate software update in such an instance. Because software updates play a pivotal role in enhancing the device’s security. And, for better cybersecurity, every small business needs to keep its system up-to-date. Moreover, Windows or macOS added advanced security features with every update.
Many small companies have prevented the invasion of hackers with those security solutions. Also, you can encrypt sensitive information like — login credentials or bank details. Keep the cybersecurity threats aside by enabling the “Auto-update” software option.
Along with these, software updates improve the device’s performance. It helps the employees to avoid random system crashes or freezing issues. So, check if there is any update available for the current software. However, based on the OS, the “Software Update” will be located in different sections.
The Mac users need to go to the “System Preferences” section to update the software. Whereas, Windows users must first tap on “Settings” and then on “Update & Security”. Did you get the “Windows Update” option? If any update is available, it will be shown here.
5. Enhance the Email Security
Nowadays, remote employees are connecting with their clients via emails. And, this has paved the way for cybercriminals to access important business data. More than 90% of cyberattacks on companies occur after clicking on malicious emails. This has led to the implementation of effective security measures in email applications. Focus on email encryption while making a cybersecurity plan. Use multi-factor authentication to restrict the mail access of unauthorised users. In this security solution, both the receiver and sender need a passcode to open files.
Secure the office network to detect the organisation’s unwanted data security threats. To reduce the phishing email attacks, filter the emails that you no longer require. Remove the suspicious emails to keep the small businesses’ data safe and secured. Train the employees not to open any email attachments that come from an unknown source.
Sometimes, the cyber attackers might make the email look like it is from a legitimate source. Don’t fall into the trap; instead, educate your employees to identify the suspicious emails. Opt for using a secure email server to avoid phishing attacks. Start using a cloud-based email platform to restrict the chances of data breaches. Conduct office meetings and send emails without fretting over cybersecurity threats.
6. Strengthen the Internet Security
In remote working, most employees of small businesses use unsecured Wi-Fi networks. And, an unprotected internet connection is more prone to cybersecurity breaches. Change the default Wi-Fi password for enhancing web security. Don’t keep the password as “12456”; hackers can easily guess that. Instead of that, add characters, numbers and letters to make the password unique. Use stringent internet security policies in your organisation to overcome the potential risks.
Do you know how to hide the Wi-Fi network name? Then, consider doing that immediately with relevant assistance. Because, once the hackers get the network name, they can assume the password. Restrict the Wi-Fi network access by changing the MAC addresses. And, if your clients use the Wi-Fi, create a “Guest account” for them. Don’t keep the same password in this network account. Set a different password so that the clients can’t access the main Wi-Fi network.
7. Secure the Payment Gateways
Unsecured payment gateways are another prime reason for small business failure. Because hackers use phishing to gain access to the client’s credit card information. Now, if the customers face data security issues, they won’t further purchase any product. As a result, it will negatively impact the conversion rate and site traffic. Therefore, choose a reliable payment gateway for online small businesses. A secure payment method ensures the customer’s data is protected from online hackers.
Consult with an expert to get the best security measures for the payment gateways. And, for a safe online payment transaction, consider using data encryption. It reduces the possibility to gain access to the user’s credit/debit card credentials. Renew the SSL to prevent criminals from reading the customer’s sensitive data.
You can also deploy the Secure Electronic Transaction Method. It blocks the unauthorised persons from modifying the user’s payment details. Many companies have equipped “Tokenization” to prevent data exploitation. Usually, this security method generates unspecified characters which replace the credit card number.
And, for cybercriminals, it becomes difficult to trace this one-time “token”. Because the credit card number can’t be decoded without the description key. So, choose a cybersecurity solution and protect the small business from hackers.
8. Consider using a Firewall
Small business owners think that a significant investment is required to secure the network. But, that’s a misconception which many new entrepreneurs believe in. Install a firewall, and it’s one of the best data security solutions. With a firewall, you can prevent cybercriminals from accessing the office network. Use a firewall that comes with efficient virus-scanning capabilities.
It will be beneficial in elevating virus infection from office devices. You will even get an instant alert if malware tries to break into the laptop/PC. You can also opt for using an internal firewall for high-end data protection.
Why are Cybersecurity Threats Increasing in Small Businesses?
Within 12 months, almost 28% of small companies have witnessed data breaching incidents. After the cyberattack, 37% of them were unable to access the important business files. Even some of these companies suffered from a financial loss. And, 10% among them had to shut down the company for losing the essential client information. To avoid cybersecurity risks, it becomes imperative to use data protection tools.
Usually, a lack of employee training exposes the risk of data breaching. Even collecting data from small companies is easier compared to large corporations. These enterprises don’t emphasise securing networks or websites. Moreover, small businesses neglect to follow strict data security mechanisms.
It makes these companies more vulnerable to data security threats. There are small businesses that are associated with international companies. Sometimes, the hackers try to get to those companies by targeting small enterprises.
Over the years, hackers have improved their data breaching techniques. These days, cybercriminals are misusing AI to gain access to user’s confidential data. And, for these reasons, it has become important to use a next-generation cybersecurity solution. So, secure the remote office by taking immediate action.
How Cyberattacks Impact Small-Scale Businesses?
Dealing with cybercriminals can be challenging for small business owners. Most entrepreneurs have linked their business sites with social media platforms. Over the years, cybercriminals have hacked millions of Facebook business accounts. And, 20% of the business faced reputational damage after a cyberattack.
Usually, small companies struggle to drive the targeted audience to their business platform. And, after a cyberattack, it will become more difficult to gain the customer’s trust. You will face hindrances to make the business profitable again. Contact an expert and make a cybersecurity risk management plan. Operate the business without getting any cybersecurity threats.
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