Our Checklist for Improving Cybersecurity for Small Businesses
Hackers are turning their attention to small businesses—61% of small businesses have experienced a cybersecurity attack in the last year. Upgrade your small business’s IT security with this cybersecurity checklist!
Small Businesses Are Under Attack
Hackers see small businesses as easy targets because most of them don’t have the proper security systems to prevent and respond to cyberattacks. Data breaches cost small businesses an average of $3 million each incident. With financial damages that severe, it’s no surprise that 60% of small businesses close their doors within 6 months of a cyberattack.
Our Small Business IT Security Checklist
Small business owners are at risk. If you want to improve cybersecurity for your small business, follow our cybersecurity checklist!
Establish a Strong Password Policy
Passwords are the first line of defense against cyberattacks. A unique password is critical to protecting your business. Make sure that your password:
- Has more than 12 characters
- Features a variety of numbers, symbols, and capital letters
- Doesn’t include common words, phrases, or personal information
- Is significantly different from your other passwords
- Is changed at least every 180 days
Multi-factor authentication is an additional security measure that keeps user accounts secure. Multi-factor authentication requires users to verify their identity on their mobile device before they’re allowed to log in. These systems are easy to implement and a huge hurdle for hackers. We encourage unique passwords as the first step for anyone looking to beef up cybersecurity for their small business.
Limit User Access
Limiting who can access what greatly reduces your security risk. Limiting access is effective because it also limits hacker access when they breach that user account. Limiting access also protects your company from internal threats. While it’s unpleasant to think about, many attacks come internally—IBM estimates that 60% of all cyberattacks are carried out by insiders. Protect your company from all threats by limiting user access.
Secure Your Wi-Fi and Avoid Unsecured Networks
Never connect company devices to unsecured or public Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi networks are a huge security risk—hackers have a much easier time accessing your device when they can join your network. Make sure to separate Wi-Fi services between you and your customers. Cyberattacks have a higher chance of success if your internal team uses the public Wi-Fi designed for customers.
Make sure that your Wi-Fi network is password protected and encrypted. WPA2 systems offer better security. Finally, turning off your Wi-Fi outside of business hours will block threats when your business is closed. Boost the cybersecurity of your small business and secure your Wi-Fi network.
Backup Your Data
Your data could be wiped during a cyberattack. While larger businesses usually have the capability to recover from a total wipe, this decimates smaller businesses. Increase the cybersecurity of your small business by regularly backing up data.
Follow the industry-accepted 3-2-1 backup strategy:
- Keep three copies of all your data
- Use two different storage types
- Keep one copy offsite
Regardless of where you store your backup data, confirm that your data is on separate networks. Backups can even be set up on schedules that automate your security solutions.
Train Employees on Security Protocols
Approximately 88% of data breaches are caused by employee mistakes. The most elaborate cybersecurity plan in the world won’t help you if your employees don’t follow it. Make sure that your employees follow every new policy.
Increase the cybersecurity of your small business by making your employees adaptable. Keep your staff in line with cybersecurity best practices by:
- Setting up training courses
- Testing them periodically
- Requiring signatures that confirm they’ll follow new policy
Address Email Security
Tightening email security may be the most important step of this cybersecurity checklist—over 90% of cyberattacks enter organizations through email. There are two ways to improve your email security:
- Technical: This includes the use of security measures like encryption, antivirus software, and spam filters.
- Personal: This involves training of your employees on how to recognize and avoid phishing scams, potential ransomware attacks, and other common scams. To learn more about how to secure your business’s email system, read our recent blogs.
Keep Your Software and Operating System Current
Did you know that software updates have a huge impact on your security? Software updates are designed to prevent hackers from accessing your software. Most modern devices have options that let you automatically install security patches and software updates. While updates can feel inconvenient, a data breach that shuts down your business is worse. Staying on top of software updates is the simplest way to improve cybersecurity for your small business.
Restrict Web Traffic
Restricting your employee’s web traffic is a preventative method of increasing your small business IT security. Set up a list of approved sites and block traffic to websites outside of that list. Limiting web traffic is a great way of minimizing exposure to dangerous cyberattacks. It also has the added bonus of minimizing distractions.
Perform a Risk Assessment
An IT security risk assessment is the best way of determining the quality of your security. An IT risk assessment answers questions like:
- What are your most valuable assets?
- What are your business’s biggest security risks?
- What vulnerabilities are causing those security risks?
- What can your business do to improve?
A security risk assessment helps you protect your business, but it’s best left in the hands of professionals. That’s why you should:
Partner With Virtual-Q To Improve Cybersecurity for Your Small Business
Virtual-Q offers cybersecurity services for businesses of all sizes across many industries. Whether you need a risk assessment or are interested in compliance, we can help! We have a 95% customer satisfaction rating and are committed to high-quality service and IT solutions. Keep your business safe by contacting Virtual-Q today!
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