Many growing businesses focus more on aggressive marketing and getting people talking about their brands and less on cybersecurity. They tend to believe that the companies that are in the radar of cybercriminals are the fortune 500 giants with loads of assets. This is not the case, as hackers actually target startups. Many SMEs run on obsolete systems or free questionable software that leaves them vulnerable to all sorts of cyber attacks. Hacking such a business for a tech-savvy criminal would be a walk in the park.
Every young business applying technology in any area of their operations should utilize these seven steps to help beef up their cybersecurity:
- Buy an SSL certificate for your business site
Your website is the first weak link for your business, and to protect it, you need to purchase an SSL certificate. This technology is built to encrypt all data transferred between your visitor’s browser and the servers hosting your site, thus eliminating the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks. It is crucial to have a HTTPS site to not only protect your business site but your site visitor’s information like username, passwords, credit card details and more as well.
There are types of certificates available in market. If you have more domains to manage then buy SAN SSL Certificate. This single certificate allows you to protect up to 250 different domain names and sub domains on a single server.
- Train your employees on cybersecurity measures
Employees who have little or no training n cybersecurity measures and risks are the first weak link in your business. It is especially critical to teach them at least the basics on how to use the technology in your business responsibly to avoid data breaches and hacks. For instance, they should log out of every work station and never leave any unattended in the presence of visitors or unauthorized personnel. They should also watch out for any peculiarities and sound the alarm in case of any. You can have booklets and pamphlets with ready information and a reliable response protocol in case of a breach for them.
- Ensure that the emails you receive are secure
Emails are a channel used by cybercriminals to launch phishing and data theft attacks. Phishing attacks are used by criminals to obtain your login credentials, which can cause severe, irreparable damage to the information on your computers and the cloud. You need to buy software that verifies the source and security of your emails before you open any attachments.
- Conduct spontaneous cybersecurity sweeps
While many threats tend to come from outsiders, the attacks that have the most severe impacts often come from the inside. Your staff, former employees, business visitors, your clients, and other stakeholders can all pose a serious threat to your cybersecurity. The best way to unearth a culprit before any significant damage is to carry out several spontaneous security threats in every department and computer.
Everyone n your business should have a restricted level of access that lets them access only the information that they need. Limit access to sensitive business information such as clients’ details and contracts. If you have a social media marketing plan, be careful with what you post about your business online. Many people are watching you on social media, some of whom may use your social media pages to lodge an attack. Again, since many employees like to take work home, have a stringent policy on what data can be transferred to personal devices.
- Protect your business data and computers
There are many ways that you can use to protect your business information and computers, starting with strong, unrepeated passwords. Your passwords should consist of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols, not your first pet’s name or birthday. Consider using foolproof encryption to protect sensitive data that hackers often look for, like client information for identity theft. Again, invest in reliable antivirus software for all your PCs. For your servers, consider using multi-factor authentication, which would require users to input multiple credentials before they can access them.
Another highly recommended way to protect your business data is to duplicate and backup every piece of critical information and your business site. These copies need to be safely stored in the cloud or a separate storage device away from your office. This ensures that in the case of a security event that corrupts or wipes your hard drives, you can count on backed-up data to regain your information and take your site back online.
- Update your systems and software often
Today’s hackers are often looking for the least apparent vulnerabilities to maneuver their way into your business data. Thankfully, software developers often make improvements to their software to boost their security as threats evolve and become more complex. To take advantage of these security improvements, you need to update your PCs, internet browsers and antivirus databases often.
Over 60% of young businesses that endured a cybersecurity breach went down; the damage caused by a hack is often irreparable and makes clients leave due to lack of trust. To keep your business cyber-secure, you need to remain alert and learn from other businesses’ past mistakes.