How can SMBs prepare for cybersecurity challenges?

| October 24, 2019

Cybersecurity has become one of the most important business factors for small and medium businesses. The ever-growing threats in the online world are not just focused on corporations and governments. As a matter of fact, 43% of all cyber-attacks online target small businesses. What’s more, 60% of companies that fall victim to such attacks fail within six months after the attack. This is a growing concern and SMBs have difficulties overcoming this challenge. 

One of the main reasons is the lack of funds for proper security measures. Another reason is confidence that originates from ignorance where business owners believe cybercriminals won’t even bother to attack their small company, especially since there’s bigger fish in the sea. That type of mindset is bound to get you into trouble and a data breach can cause serious harm that can be impossible to recover from. With that in mind, here’s how SMBs can prepare for cybersecurity challenges. 

Assess your network

The very first step towards overcoming any security challenge is to assess your strengths and weaknesses. You must analyze your own network and determine if there’s, indeed, a way for a cyber-attack to successfully breach your security. 

One of the ways SMBs can do this is by performing regular audits, as well as penetration testing. In other words, simulate a cyber-attack on your company to determine any vulnerability in the system. That way, even if there are any weaknesses, you can adequately fix them before an actual attack ever happens. 

Invest in better cybersecurity measures 

Nowadays, there are a lot of cybersecurity measures available to SMBs. Security software, such as anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-ransomware and so on should all be utilized effectively. That said, a lot of SMBs lack the resources or the knowledge to properly use such software. Fortunately, other solutions are also available in such cases. 

As an example, reliable cloud services also provide adequate protection when it comes to cybersecurity. SMBs that leverage cloud-computing can also subscribe for additional security measures. After all, the cloud was initially designed to store and encrypt any sensitive business data on remote data centers. Over the years, the technology behind the cloud has evolved and became more sophisticated so that it can provide more security to its users. 

Educate your employees

The majority of cyber-attacks are made possible due to an internal leak within the company. The fact of the matter is that 60% of data breaches were successful due to an internal weakness. Unaware employees easily fall for a phishing attack, thus opening a door for cybercriminals to explore. Regardless of how effective your security measures might be, chances are that hackers will intentionally target employees, in order to breach your defenses. 

That’s why it’s important to educate employees and implement strict company policies when it comes to handling sensitive data. For instance, teach employees how to spot a phishing scam and how to handle it. What’s more, educate them on why they should use strong passwords. Also, include company policies that will outline who has access to sensitive data and who can alter, change or use the data and under which circumstances is that made possible. 

Data backups

When it comes to cyber-attacks, SMB owners should be proactive and objective. There’s always a strong possibility that a cyber-attack will occur and that it will be successful. Therefore, one should have a recovery plan in place should such an attack ever happen. That’s why data backups are crucial for not just SMBs but any company in general. Data backups allow you to recover from an attack by restoring everything back to the state prior to the attack. 

No loss of data means no financial issues and it becomes easier to get back up. Data can be stored on-premises but on external hard drives and servers that are not connected to the network. That way, even if a breach should happen, sensitive data cannot be stolen. You can also consider storing data off-premises in a remote location or in the cloud if you employ such services. 

Preparing for cybersecurity challenges is not easy. SMBs usually lack the proper resources and funds to implement security measures that will ward off any attacks. However, it’s a lot more costly to deal with the consequences of a data breach than it is to invest in proper security measures.