Cybersecurity should be a concern for every business, large or small. We often hear in the news about multinational online security hacks, but we aren’t exposed to the breaches happening regularly to small businesses. Small businesses are at equal risk of online security threats to large organizations, with about 20 percent of all small to medium sized businesses having been targeted by cybercrimes according to a report last year from Microsoft.
Why do cyber-criminals target small businesses?
Small businesses often underestimate their risk level, with 82 percent of small business owners saying they’re not targets for attacks, because they don’t have anything worth stealing. Small business owners may think that they are not big or important enough to merit a cyber attack, but it that naive reasoning that makes them more vulnerable and desirable to cyber criminals. Whether it is due to naivete, ignorance or lack of resources, small businesses often do not have the means to ensure effective cyber-security. This makes them easy targets. Small companies are often a hacker’s favorite target, as they have more valuable digital assets than an individual, but little more security than an individual too.
6 cybersecurity solutions
Every business has different needs and there is no one-size-fits-all security solution. A risk assessment can help individual businesses find the best protection for their needs.
- Antivirus is the go-to first step in online security. An efficient antivirus program can detect and immobilize threats such as viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware and other types of malware.
- Firewalls add another layer of protection by preventing an unauthorized user from accessing a digital device or network. Some computer operating systems include a built-in firewall, and additional firewalls can be added to routers and servers.
- To protect against a loss or breach in data, regular data backups should be performed. This way, any lost or compromised information can be recovered as it was stored at more than one location.
- Encryption software can help protect sensitive and confidential information such as client records, financial statements and employee details. Even if a cyberattack bypasses firewall security, encrypted data is useless if it cannot be decrypted.
- Another basic but often underestimated security measure is an effective password protection solution. Password security software is available to reduce the likelihood of password cracking, and other methods such as two-step authentication and practical password habits are also effective.
- Insurance is something small businesses probably consider for their premises and physical assets, but it is also a sound investment to insure against cybersecurity threats. A general liability policy may not help recover losses from a data breach, so a separate policy covering cybersecurity is recommended. Cyberinsurance companies offer tailor-made coverage for small businesses that meets their budgets and risk-exposure levels.
As well as implementing several, if not all, of the above security solutions, there are a number of ways that a small business can practice more security-conscious operations. Education and awareness among owners and employees will lower the risk levels, as will the implementation of formal security policies in the workplace. Vigilance, caution and effective security measures can help protect small businesses from cybersecurity threats. For more information about cybersecurity for small businesses, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.