For many small businesses, cybersecurity is often neglected. Whether because small business owners believe that there are bigger fish to fry for the cybercriminals, or because they simply don’t understand the risks inherent when running a business of any kind or size online, cybersecurity trends and threats are not treated with as much seriousness as they should be. Below are 4 cybersecurity measures your small business should be taking.
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Invest in a VPN
One of the simplest ways to instantly add another important component to your cybersecurity infrastructure is to invest in a VPN. A virtual private network helps encrypt your communication and obscure your IP address online so that any potential malicious actors have a much harder time intercepting your data.
There is a wide range of VPN services out there, with different price points and features. Some are more user-friendly than others, some allow for doubling up on your VPN, while others offer different combinations of privacy and security combinations. Cybersecurity best practices include always assuming your data is vulnerable and safeguarding it should include the use of a reputable VPN.
Implement Multifactor Identification
In the IT world, this would be filed under what is called “authentication,” which refers to the step or, ideally, steps that are involved in ensuring users in your system are a) permitted to be there in the first place and b) are authorized to make the kinds of data requests they are making.
Even the most well-prepared businesses, large and small, can be undone by the mistakes made by their employees, a critical misstep in small business cybersecurity. A good way to mitigate this risk is to ensure that you are using multifactor identification procedures on all major company networks and email services. Instead of requiring simply a password (for you or your employees), you can also require something like a phone number or a unique employee ID number.
Address the Mobile Threat
The combined effect of remote work and the Internet of Things means that mobile devices will constitute an increasing cybersecurity threat. Cybercriminals have been well aware of this for some time now, with mobile-based cybercrime consistently on the rise since 2012.
The more we use our phones and other mobile devices to connect to the internet, and especially to connect to work systems from outside the office, the more vulnerabilities we create. Small business owners should be talking to their employees about the risks involved when accessing work systems and data via mobile devices, in public, and on unsecured networks.
As previously mentioned, and pursuant to the above, a company’s cybersecurity is made immeasurably better or worse by how prepared and informed its employees are. With that in mind, small businesses should absolutely be educating employees on the dos and don’t of cybersecurity and some of the most common and most damaging cyberattacks to which a small business can be subjected.
There is a wide range of useful free literature available online that teaches data protection and privacy best practices. If small businesses equip employees with the skills and understanding to keep company data safe and secure, they have already taken the most important risk mitigation step.
You’re Never Too Small for Small Business Cybersecurity
Small businesses are often more vulnerable than large businesses when it comes to cybersecurity threats because they either don’t have the necessary technical features in place to keep them safe, or they are unaware of just how omnipresent the threats are this far into the digital era. But if they keep the above preemptive steps in mind, they can greatly reduce the risk that they or anyone in their business expose customer and company data.