Fox Business reports that now, more than ever, small businesses have to remain vigilant in protecting themselves against cybersecurity threats. Symantec, a leading cybersecurity firm, says cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small businesses because they view them as easy targets, and this risk is leading many businesses to the precipice of bankruptcy.
In 2015, 43% of all global cyber-attacks were committed against small businesses with less than 250 employees.
So what can small businesses do to protect themselves against the threat?
- Create a Culture of Security
Cybersecurity isn’t something that should be exclusively the concern of business owners or managers. It should become a deeply instilled part of your business culture so that employees are not just trained on topics and how to protect against threats, but they should understand that it’s an inherent part of their job as well. Educate your employees, create policies that reinforce cybersecurity, and make sure the right practices are put in place and maintained.
- Develop a Strategy
It’s difficult to protect your small business adequately against any threat, including the one that comes with cybercrime, without having a thorough plan in place. Small business owners should realize that cyberattacks aren’t disorganized, random events. They’re well-planned out events based on data, tools and a high level of knowledge. The only way to combat this level of organization is to also have your own clearly defined strategy of protection.
- Employee Training
All employees should be trained on the general topics surrounding cyber and IT security, such as how to recognize a phishing attack, and the guidelines for using social media at work. Small business owners might consider taking this training a step further, at least with some employees, and having one or two of them be trained on more advanced issues. For example, you might invest in a CEH certification class for your go-to employee or team of employees that work most with IT-related issues. A CEH certification is a Certified Ethical Hacker, and it offers hands-on training on scanning, testing, hacking and securing systems.
- Don’t Neglect Mobile Threats
Increasingly small businesses are embracing bring-your-own-device policies where employees use their mobile phones and tablets for business and personal purposes. This can leave business data up-for-grabs by cybercriminals. When you’re creating and implementing your cybersecurity strategy, don’t leave out the mobile devices. You should also have a plan in place for wiping devices when an employee is leaving your business.
- Consider Internal Threats
It’s not just external cybercriminals that are a threat to your small business. According to the IBM 2015 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, of all cyberattacks, 31.5% are from ill-intending insiders, and 23.5% are from employees or insiders who are inadvertently making a slip-up. When you’re deciding on security protection and developing a strategy, it’s essential you consider inside threats as well as external issues.
These are just five of the simplest ways small businesses can become proactive in safeguarding their small business.