Data breaches and other network intrusions are rampant. In 2019, cybersecurity breaches were already up more than 11% by the month of April. Specific, large-scale cybercrimes for 2019 include Capital One, State Farm Insurance, Dunkin Donuts, Oregon DHS and multiple Yahoo data breaches.
Many small business owners see these types of cybersecurity services concerns and feel daunted and overwhelmed. By learning about the basic threats businesses of all sizes face, the task of bolstering cybersecurity becomes less staggering.
The Top 5 Cybersecurity Solutions to Safeguard Small Businesses
The most common threats small businesses face include data breaches and reputational, phishing, and ransomware attacks. With the never-ending onslaught of threats and risks, cybersecurity firms have developed a wide array of solutions to protect small businesses from a variety of cybercrimes. By adding vital cybersecurity best practices into the mix, small businesses can take some measure of security into their own hands.
Cybersecurity specialist, Marius Nel with 360 Smart Networks in Atlanta shares five essential cybersecurity solutions to consider:
#1 Use a Firewall
A firewall is a set of programs that work together as the first line of defense against cyberattacks and other intrusions. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), small businesses should set up a firewall to serve as a blockade between the business computing network and data and the hackers who want access to it all. Considering the prevalence of remote telecommuting access today, it is also important to ensure that employees working from home use a system protected by a reliable firewall.
A firewall is a vital part of a small business security system. It protects your network against cyber vulnerabilities and threats, controlling network traffic according to security parameters you set. There are different types of firewalls that businesses can use to protect their data and network including hardware and software firewalls.
Network firewalls mitigate or stop unauthorized access to private networks connected to intranets and the internet. They sit on a network’s front line, which serves as a communications liaison between devices. Moreover, a network firewall keeps unauthorized users, viruses, worms, hackers, and other malicious programs from accessing the protected network.
#2 Create, Distribute and Implement Documented Policies and Procedures
It is easy for small business leaders to allow a word-of-mouth strategy of creating, sharing and implementing policies and procedures instrumental in cybersecurity. Such an approach may work in the early days for a startup, but as an organization grows, it is vital to design something more concrete, share it with everyone, implement it and demand compliance.
Key matters to include in cybersecurity policies and procedures include:
- Acceptable technology usage for using company assets
- Access control levels for employees
- Change management
- Information security
- Incident response
#3 Employee Education and Ongoing Training
In small business settings, employees often perform a variety of functions beyond their core job descriptions. Such a business climate makes it vital that all employees accessing the network receive education and training about the organization’s network cybersecurity approach to best practices. Hackers become wise to best practices, so it is important for IT leaders to continually update protocols and inform employees when doing so. Providing training sessions and written documents, which employees must sign to agree that they understand, it is easier to keep everyone on the same page in cybersecurity efforts.
#4 Set Guidelines for Mobile Device Usage
Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have become vital tools in our mobile computing age, but they do create certain and significant cybersecurity challenges. When key employees work include a business trip and need access to files while on-the-go, they must access the corporate network, which creates risk. Here are a few requirements business leaders should make to safeguard data during transmission to and from staff mobile devices:
- Password-protect mobile devices
- Encrypt data
- Install security apps
#5 Back-Up Data and Secure File Sharing
Backing up data is an age-old strategy for ensuring its protection. Key data to back up includes:
- Financial files
- Accounts payable and receivable files
Today, more companies than ever are storing data in the cloud, which does come with its own built-in safeguards agreed upon between clients and cloud service providers. Indeed, cloud technology is a popular data backup, storage, and file sharing solution.
Small businesses have several data sources, including remote locations in which employees exchange data and share files with clients. Hence, having an enterprise secure file sharing solution is a great way to centralize file sharing management to improve data security and overall operational efficiency.
Small businesses can implement a managed file transfer (MFT) solution to control how employees and other stakeholders can access and share data. An enterprise secure file sharing solution makes data exchange more secure and reliable through encrypted file transfer, safeguarding personal and proprietary data at rest or in transit.
Small Business Owner Can Keep Data and Networking Assets Safe with These Strategies and More
The chances are strong that most businesses—even small businesses—will experience an attempted data breach or some cybersecurity intrusion, but it is not a foregone conclusion that small businesses will lose data or their industry reputation. With strong cybersecurity protection strategies, most businesses can either stop hackers in their tracks or minimize the damage.