When was the last time you checked a piece of news about small business being hacked?

Small business owners often think that they are not under the hackers’ radar. But this is not true. Small businesses are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals.

In fact, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, according to Verizon’ Data Breach Investigation Report 2019.

So small business owners cannot take cybersecurity lightly, and they should learn more and invest in better digital security.

In today’s post, I’m going to discuss the six best cybersecurity practices that you must follow to be digitally safe.

Without further ado, let’s discuss:

1- Train Your Employees

Needless to say, your employees are the biggest source of vulnerability if you don’t train them in cybersecurity best practices.

Just imagine the risk of your employee leaving work phone/laptop/tablet unattended in a public place. It can do a significant damage to your business.

So you should educate your employees on cybersecurity.

Here are some tips:

  • Clearly communicate the impact of a cyber incident on your business
  • Make cybersecurity everyone’s responsibility
  • Have regular cybersecurity sessions in your office
  • Train your employees on how to respond to a cyberattack

Remember, your employees are the strongest line of defense against cyberattacks. So you should make them better prepared.

2- Keep Your Software Up-to-date

Small businesses should always keep their software applications up-to-date because doing so is critical for cybersecurity.

Hackers and cybercriminals keep on looking for software vulnerabilities to take control of data, steal important data, or encrypt your files to demand money.

Software updates fix the security holes to keep hackers at bay. You should not only update the software applications installed in your office but also ensure that your remote employees keep their software applications up-to-date.

So the next time, whenever you see a software update reminder, never click on remind me later.

3- Secure Remote Access

Telecommuting is on the rise because it has changed the way we work.

As a small business owner, you might be having employees working remotely. You should make sure that data and systems remain safe for those accessing it remotely.

Without securing remote access, you cannot boost the cybersecurity for your business.

Followings are some remote access security measures you can implement to make remote access secure:

  • Use a strong firewall and security software
  • Review server logs to monitor remote access for any unusual activity
  • Limit remote access to the minimum functions required
  • Restrict remote access to unauthorized users
  • Use at least two-tier authentication

Remote access can expose your small business to many cybersecurity risks if you don’t proactively secure it.

4- Create Backup Files of Critical Business Data

Cyberattacks might happen even if you follow cybersecurity best practices. So you should create backup files for critical business data.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends,

Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.

Here are some tips on data backup for small businesses:

  • Store backup data on the cloud
  • Check the backup regularly to ensure it is working properly
  • Keep the backup encrypted and protected
  • Make sure your data backup strategy is up-to-date

Small businesses with a good data backup strategy face a weak blow from cyberattacks as comprated to those without data backup.

5- Purchase Cyber Insurance

It goes without saying that you need to follow cybersecurity best practices to stay safe.

However, cybercriminals are keeping up with the latest tools and software applications small businesses use to strengthen cyber defense.

So it is imperative that you should buy cyber insurance to protect your business against losses resulting from a cyberattack.

Typical first-parry cyber insurance provides coverage for a data breach (like theft of personal or business information), cyber-attacks on your data held by vendors, cyberattacks happening anywhere in the world that might affect your digital infrastructure, etc.

And the third-party coverage offers compensation to individuals affected by a data breach, expenses arising from claim and settlement, cost of litigation, etc.

You can get more information about cyber insurance on the website of the Federal Trade Commission.

6- Invest in Cybersecurity

You put aside a marketing budget to grow your business. In the same way, you should invest in cybersecurity.

A cyberattack can put an end to your growth. 60% of small businesses fail within the six months of a cyberattack according to the estimation of the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance.

Small businesses have more digital assets than individuals but have less security than large companies. Therefore, hackers love to target small business owners.

So you should buy the latest antivirus and other cybersecurity tools to fight cyberattacks. Having your digital infrastructure checked by a cybersecurity expert for any security loophole regularly is a good practice to rule out any vulnerability.

Final thoughts:

Every small business needs cybersecurity in today’s time when hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses.

The above six cybersecurity best practices will strengthen your defense against hackers. Also, you should keep on checking resources on cybersecurity for small businesses to stay updated on the topic.

What about you? Do you want to share any other cybersecurity best practice? Please leave it in the comment section. I’d love to know about it.