If you own a small or medium-sized business, it’s always tempting to think that hackers and other malicious individuals are not interested in exploiting your business. After all, with plenty of other big companies worldwide, why would a group of hackers want to target yours?
Unfortunately, small businesses tend to be easier targets because they generally don’t have the most robust cybersecurity infrastructure to protect the business. While big businesses are still hackers’ prime targets, it takes more effort to get through to them than small businesses.
Without the budget and knowledge, it might seem impossible to protect small and medium businesses from malware attacks, phishing scams, and data breaches. However, companies can do several impactful things to protect their company’s online security and employees from digital attacks. While cybersecurity sounds expensive and complicated, for some of us, it can simply be a case of swapping out common passwords for a stronger more complex one – simple, right?
Below, we share other easy changes that companies can do to protect their companies and their employees.
1. Basic cybersecurity training
One of the best ways to protect your employees from cyber attacks is to provide basic cybersecurity training. There are multiple ways that companies can implement a training program. For example, they could enroll their employees in a privacy and security course online that covers basics such as creating strong passwords and how to manage sensitive information. The course should also include tips for recognizing suspicious phishing emails and messages.
If you have the budget for it, consider hiring a third-party company to help facilitate a training course for you. It’ll make the experience more fun for your employees, too.
2. Implement multi-factor authentication
Did you know that almost 80 percent of data breaches happen because of poor password management? Passwords are one of the most valuable types of information for hackers. Often, many of us reuse passwords because it’s just a lot easier to do than creating new passwords. Unfortunately, these commonly used passwords also make it easy for hackers to access multiple accounts simultaneously.
Consider signing your company up for a password manager to make generating and storing passwords easier. Not only is a password manager a more secure way of storing passwords, but most password managers also have a generating feature that helps create stronger credentials.
Another thing you can do is implement multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires you to input another credential as part of the login process. These credentials could include unique codes sent via email or text message or biometrics like fingerprint or facial scanning.
3. Keep all software updated
Software updates are essential to protecting your devices and, in turn, your company. Consider the amount of software you use daily and how connected they are to different parts of your business. As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Software updates generally protect your devices from malware, bugs, and other vulnerabilities that could lead to issues. If you fail to keep these software updates up to date, you’re increasing the likelihood of your devices being exploited.
If you struggle to remember to update your software, you could set reminders in your calendar to do so. Fortunately, most types of software can run automatic updates, so you no longer have to remember to update them manually.
4. Secure your Wi-Fi connection and company router
In addition to using MFA to secure accounts, it’s also worth looking into securing all internet connections, like your Wi-Fi, for example, since employees are likely to use it often. To secure your Wi-Fi connection, start by using the strongest protocols possible, like WPA3 or WPA2. Next, change the default names and passwords on your company’s routers. Most routers are named after their manufacturing model and have a standard password.
Finally, secure your Wi-Fi connection with a strong password. It might be tempting to change the password of our Wi-Fi every once in a while, but this could cause more issues if your employees can’t keep up with each change.
Instead, you might want to improve your Wi-Fi router’s different security settings to protect your company better.
5. Enable firewall protocols for better protection
For the uninitiated, firewalls are software that monitors the types of data being received and distributed to and from a server. Firewall software essentially scans incoming data to ensure that they’re safe for its recipient, preventing malicious software from getting through.
There are different types of firewalls: hardware, software, or cloud firewalls. All routers have basic hardware and software firewall protocols that you can enable. Depending on the model, some routers might have more robust firewall protocols than others. Many operating systems, like Apple and Windows, have their own firewalls to protect users further.
Enabling firewall protection protects devices from malware attacks and also helps defend against common attacks such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, backdoor attacks, and data breaches. Hackers generally run these types of attacks on businesses. If victorious, these attacks can do a lot of damage, such as ruining the company’s reputation and leading to significant amounts of financial losses.
Protecting your business doesn’t always have to be difficult and, if done correctly, doesn’t cost you significant amounts of money. Following the steps above should allow you to sufficiently protect your business from common digital attacks.