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  • Practical Guide to Cybersecurity for Small Business

    November 15, 2022

    The internet allows small businesses, like yours, to get more customers and expand. But, the downside of your business using the internet is the risk of cyber attack. It is essential that you have all the right protection in place. What you need to protect your business when using the internet is “cybersecurity”. 

    Everyday more businesses (including small businesses) are having their digital systems targeted. The impact of a cyber attack can be devasting. You want to know that your small business is protected, and you can keep it operating.

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    This small business cybersecurity guide will tell you what you need to do to protect your business. 

    Staff Training – First Line of Defence

    The way that most cyber attacks occur – is via a staff member making a simple mistake. They happen to click on a link or download malicious software. So the way you can resolve this is for all of your staff to know how to be cybersecure. Your staff will then be your best defence against any cyber attack. 

    Make sure you train all your staff on how cyber attacks occur and what they can do to prevent them. This training should cover all your business’s cybersecurity policies and procedures

    Your cybersecurity policies and procedures should include:

    • Creation of a strong password 
    • Guidelines for internet connection
    • How to keep mobile devices secure.

    It is important your staff know how to identify and escalate any suspicious online activity. 

    Train staff on what can go wrong with cybersecurity

    Role-playing exercises are great as a staff training tool. During these exercises, you can present your employees with real-life scenarios. This way your employees will be aware and ready if a cybersecurity event happens. You need to practice these scenarios and that way your team will be aware and ready for any threat of fraud.

    Manage Your Team’s Passwords

    Password protection is essential

    Your business needs to include clear policies on passwords for your staff to follow. The policies will cover key information such as: 

    • The number and types of characters to use,
    • How often to change a password (every 3 months at least) and
    • How to store passwords.

    Multi-Factor Authentification

    Another security option that your staff can be trained to use is multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA is a security measure that uses two or more ways of identification to allow access to a system. It can include a combination of two or more identification steps. Usually, it includes a password and an authenticator app. This extra authentication helps to protect unauthorised access. 

    Password Management Tools

    You can also put in place a password management tool for staff, to protect your business from cyberattack. These tools are cost-effective and easy for employees to use. When used alongside antivirus software these tools help you manage and protect sensitive data. 

    Create Separate User Accounts 

    You want to control who can access your business computer systems. To do this you need to make sure each employee has a separate user account. This will mean they have their own account, access, and permissions. A separate user account helps prevent unauthorised access, especially on laptops – which are easily lost or stolen. 

    Administrative rights should only be given to those staff who need and are trusted with a higher level of access. It is not recommended that you give access to every employee. It is also best that employees do not install or download any software without permission. Your team only needs access to the information that allows them to complete their job. 

    Keep track of who has access to which IT systems. Put in place a procedure to remove or transfer access when a team member leaves. You don’t want them to still have access once they no longer work for you.

    Manage Your Team’s Passwords

    Tighten Up Your IT Protections 

    Keep Your IT Systems Updated

    Another way you can improve cybersecurity is to make sure your networks, sensitive data, and connections are all secure. The best way to do this is to have all your business software and operating systems updated with the latest security.  Your staff should install updates as soon as they are available, or your system should do it for them. 

    Once your business systems have had an update on any of these items, you should run an antivirus software scan. That way you will have the greatest protection from viruses, online threats, and malware. 

    Install A Firewall

    It’s critical to protect your network. Another key part of cybersecurity for your business is to have firewall protection in place. A firewall is a network security device that will both monitor and filter traffic that comes in and out of your network. 

    If you do not have a firewall available on your operating system, you should install one. The next key step with a firewall is to ensure you turn it on. Also, if you allow your staff to work from home, you want to ensure they are using a firewall on their home network.

    Backups

    The best way to protect the data for your organisation is to backup regularly. The data you want to backup includes:

    • Databases
    • Financial information, accounts payable, accounts receivable
    • Business critical information such as customer data
    • All documents.

    You need to automate your business data backups, so you don’t rely on your memory or a team member. If you cannot set up an automatic backup schedule, put a reminder system in place. Make sure you backup your data at least once a week.  Also, it is important to ensure that your data is backed up offsite. You can backup data to either the cloud or to a secondary business location.

    And no, if you store it in the cloud, it isn’t automatically backed up. Plan for what you would happen if access to that cloud service failed.

    Wi-Fi Security

    Your business Wi-Fi network requires its own security measures. This includes making sure it is hidden, secured, and encrypted. Also make sure that the router or wireless access point does not broadcast the name of your router and also password protect it.

    Tighten Up Your IT Protections 

    Make Sure All Portable Devices Are Secure 

    Your small business most likely uses mobile devices as they are essential for some day to day business functions. While mobile devices provide convenience, they do have some security challenges. For this reason, your organisation needs to have guidelines for mobile devices. 

    Most of your staff’s mobile devices will contain confidential information. So, those employees that use mobile devices must:

    1. Password protect them
    2. Install security apps
    3. Encrypt the data. 

    This will prevent your business information from being stolen when using a public network or if your staff member loses their device.

    And, if they do lose a device, make sure you have a way to disable the device remotely so that no one can access the data. For example, Microsoft provides BitLocker Drive Encryption as default on its Windows devices. Make sure you know how to use it. And that you’ve kept the login details secure yet available. You can then re-enable the device, if it is found.

    Prepare an Incident Response Plan

    Your small business requires an Incident Response Plan so you know what to do should you have a cyberattack. The Plan should include details for your business’ incident response before, during, and after an incident. Even if the event turns out to be a false alarm, it is important to follow this Plan. 

    The Plan will detail the roles and responsibilities for the action to follow. Also ensure you review the Incident Response Plan on a regular basis as well as after a breach. 

    Cybersecurity is now an essential part of day-to-day operations, especially for small business. The security of information and systems should be priority for your small business. This practical guide outlines how you can keep your business information secure and your business operating. 

    Your Cybersecurity Solution

    In addition to all these actions your small business can take, it is also essential that you have an experienced and reputable IT manager. An IT Manager can ensure that all small business cybersecurity needs are in place. Another great option is to outsource your technical IT support. That way you can access years of experience from IT specialists across a range of service areas. At Tech Seek, we can help you with a wide variety of support services including cybersecurity. A great place to start is to book your free IT audit, and we will check your cybersecurity status.