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8 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Attacks

Small businesses underestimate cyber-attack protection believing in the false idea that cyber criminals only target large enterprises. In fact, the opposite is true. 

Employees from small businesses encounter 350% more social engineering attacks than employees from big enterprises. According to Symantec’s “Internet Security Threat Report,” 61 percent of all attacks were aimed at small businesses in the past year.

For large businesses, cyber-attacks pose a financial burden among other issues. However, for a small business, it might be a matter of survival as SMBs do not have the same financial assistance as large enterprises.

Let's understand how cyber attacks affect businesses and how to safeguard your company against cyber-attack threats.

How cyber attacks affect businesses

Cyber incidents harm your small business from all sides. A data breach can cost you up to $4.24 million in annual losses, reduce your reputation among customers, and attract heavy regulatory fines. 

Your company's intellectual property rights, trade secrets, and other business-critical data are also at risk in a cyber intrusion. 

At worst, cyber attacks might force you to close your business. It is estimated that 60% of small businesses close their business within six months after a cyber attack.

How to protect your business from cyber-attacks 

1. Set strong passwords and keep your systems up-to-date

Passwords are your first line of defense against any cyber attack threat. You should protect IT operations using hard-to-guess lengthy passwords of 12-15 characters. Change these passwords at spaced intervals of 1-3 months and you would have a strong password protection plan in place. 

Moreover, always prioritize security over convenience and use distinct passwords and usernames for different applications. We also recommend you use two-factor authentication. It ensures malicious users cannot hack into your system even if the login password is compromised. 

Another simple yet effective practice to proactively combat cyber incidents is to update anti-virus software and other applications in your company as soon as there's an available update.

2. Train your employees and maintain privileged access

Employee behavior can be the biggest threat to your cyber attack protection plan. It is estimated that 82% of data breaches involve the human element. Train your employees about the nuances of cybersecurity to avoid this cyber attack threat

Your cybersecurity training module should include methods to prevent phishing and social engineering attacks, tips to detect suspicious activities, security measures for using personal devices when connected to the company network, etc. 

Setting privileged access for your company database will also help you minimize human error. To set privileged access, create a permission hierarchy wherein employees can access only the data which is required for completing their assigned tasks. In short, no employee should have complete access to the entire database and no one should be permitted to install software on the company network without permission.

3. Hide your Wi-Fi network

First things first, your wi-fi should not be visible to others. To hide your wi-fi network, disable the Service Set Identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on your router. While you configure your wi-fi settings, replace the default administrator's password with a unique and strong password. 

To prevent malicious users from accessing your private network, you should install a strong firewall. Other measures like shutting your wi-fi when not in use and using encrypted passwords go a long way in securing your wireless network.

4. Create a clear and robust cybersecurity policy

You should have a well-defined security policy highlighting cybersecurity practices for privacy standards, IT security policy, bring your own device (BYOD) guidelines, etc.

The cybersecurity plan should act as a compass for your employees telling them exactly what needs to be done to combat cyber attack threats and minimize losses.

5. Backup your databases on the cloud

Storing your business-critical data in a secondary location ensures you could simply restore it to resume your business operations if your primary database is compromised. Your data backup should include physical backup and logical backup. The physical backup includes control files, log files, and archived redo logs. The logical backup consists of tables, procedures, views, functions, etc, that help you restructure your database while restoring data. 

You should back up data regularly, if possible. Once you create a backup, store it in offsite servers or move it to the cloud. Nonetheless, having a cloud-based backup not only provides secure storage but it also gives you more flexibility. For instance, cloud storage allows your employees to collaborate in real-time as everyone has shared access to resources.

6. Chart a business continuity plan (BCP)

Your company should have a business continuity plan that highlights how your business will continue to operate after a cyber incident. BCP includes data backup locations, contact information of emergency responders, strategies to run business operations, etc.

A BCP is incomplete without a disaster recovery plan. Backing up data ensures you have the necessary data available to run your business activities. How to restore backed-up data is determined by the disaster recovery plan. 

7. Only partner with reputed third-party vendors

Cybercriminals can crawl into your IT systems via third-party services that have weak cyber-attack protection. You can avoid this by using third-party risk management (TPRM) system that strictly assesses your associates' security policies.

8. Get a cybersecurity insurance

Cyber incidents pose a massive financial burden on your organization. Cybersecurity insurance aka cyber liability insurance provides you the required financial assistance to bear the costs of a cyber intrusion. 

There are two types of Cybersecurity insurance policies: 

  • First-party insurance: Pays for ransom, notifies customers about the incident, manages public relations, compensates for business interruption costs, etc.
  • Third-party insurance: Covers legal fees, lawsuits, regulatory fines, etc, when affected customers or third-party providers sue your business for not securing them against the cyber attack.

Bulletproof your IT system with MicroTech Cybersecurity services 

MicroTech has 50 years of experience in providing secure IT services to small and medium-sized businesses. We safeguard your IT systems 24/7 using our top-notch cybersecurity solutions including antivirus, OS crash protection, cloud-based backup, overall IT support, and much more. Schedule a call with our cybersecurity specialist to know more about our cybersecurity services.

The Ripple Effect of a Cyber Breach; Download the Infographic Now: