Skip to Main Content

Optimizing Cybersecurity for Your Small Business

In a previous article, we discussed How To Keep Your Digital Information Secure. This article will provide information on different aspects of cybersecurity, further helping your business keep its digital footprint secure.

Why Cybersecurity Matters

Cyberattacks cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars a year, and pose a threat for individuals and organizations. Small businesses are especially attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals (bad actors, foreign governments, etc.) want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses to adequately protect their digital systems for storing, accessing, and disseminating data and information.

Surveys have shown that a majority of small business owners feel their businesses are vulnerable to a cyberattack. Yet many small businesses cannot afford professional IT solutions, have limited time to devote to cybersecurity, and don’t know where to begin.

Start by learning about common cybersecurity best practices, understanding common threats, and dedicating resources to address and improve your cybersecurity.

US Small Business Administration

username password cybersecurity concept

Best Practices for Preventing Cyberattacks

Train Your Employees

Employees and their work-related communications are a leading cause of data breaches for small businesses because they are direct pathways into your systems. Training employees on basic internet usage best practices can go a long way in preventing cyberattacks.

Other training topics to cover include:

  • Spotting phishing emails
  • Using good internet browsing practices
  • Avoiding suspicious downloads
  • Enabling authentication tools (e.g., strong passwords, Multi-Factor Authentication, etc.)
  • Protecting sensitive vendor and customer information
computer keyboard locked with a chain

Secure, Protect, and Back Up Sensitive Data

  • Secure payment processing – Work with your banks or card processors to ensure you are using the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services. You may also have additional security obligations related to agreements with your bank or payment processor. Isolate payment systems from less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and casually browse the internet.
  • Control physical access – Prevent access or the use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops and mobile devices can be particularly easy targets for theft and can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel. Conduct access audits on a regular basis to ensure that former employees have been removed from your systems and have returned all company issued devices.
  • Back up your data – Regularly back up data on all of your computers. Forms of critical data include word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounting files. If possible, institute data backups to cloud storage on a weekly basis.
  • Control data access – Frequently audit the data and information you are housing in cloud storage repositories such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and Microsoft Services. Appoint administrators for cloud storage drive and collaboration tools and instruct them to monitor user permissions, giving employees access to only the information they need.

Developing an Effective Cybersecurity Plan For Your Business

Developing and implementing an all-encompassing cybersecurity plan for your business requires time and money; however, it can pay back tenfold. In addition, as technology continues to evolve, your business needs to evolve alongside it, preventing potentially detrimental damage caused by weak cybersecurity.

This entry was posted in Small Business News. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.