A Target on Your Back? Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses
Believe it or not, small businesses are targeted more often than larger companies by cyber-thieves. According to a Netwrix Research Lab’s 2023 report, of all the organizations that suffered a cyberattack in the past twelve months, 43% of those data breaches involved small businesses. Oakland Solutions has curated a list of cybersecurity tips just for those small business owners wondering if they have any vulnerabilities that might make them an easy target.
Top ten cybersecurity tips for small businesses.
Outdated Technology & Software
We get it; updating software can be a hassle. But running outdated software is as good as an invitation to hackers. When software vendors release updates, they often include crucial security patches. These patches fix vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Keep everything up to date to ensure your digital assets are secure.
Weak passwords are easy to bypass. At Oakland Solutions, we suggest creating strong and unique passwords for all accounts and devices. Use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Password managers can be a lifesaver for generating and storing complex passwords securely.
As a small business owner, you can’t expect your employees to do this naturally. Provide them with
requirements for creating passwords. You can also set up software to force strong password creation.
Picture this: a cybercriminal sitting in a parked car. He’s snooping on your business's unsecured Wi-Fi network. Unsecured Wi-Fi can be a gateway for hackers to intercept sensitive data. A firewall is the first level of protection; it's a barrier or gatekeeper between your computer and another network like the internet.
It's also crucial to ensure your Wi-Fi is password-protected. Make sure your router uses WPA2 or WPA3 encryption for an added layer of security. For critical business tasks consider a virtual private network (VPN). It can shield your data from prying eyes.
Lack of Employee Cyber Training
Your employees can be your business's strongest line of defense, or its weakest link. Employee error is the cause of approximately 88% of all data breaches.
Without proper cybersecurity training, your staff might unknowingly fall victim to phishing scams, or inadvertently expose sensitive information. Regularly educate your team about cybersecurity best practices, such as:
· Recognizing phishing emails
· Avoiding suspicious websites
· Using secure file-sharing methods
No Data Backups or Disaster Recovery Plan
Imagine waking up to find your business's data gone, vanished into the digital abyss. Without backups, this nightmare can become a reality. Data loss can be due to hardware failures or ransomware attacks, as well as many other unforeseen disasters.
Embrace the 3-2-1 rule. Have at least three copies of your data, stored on two different media types. With one copy stored securely offsite. Regularly test your backups to ensure they are functional and reliable.
In the event of such a disaster, it's critical to have a disaster recovery plan in place. This plan helps an organization resolve data loss and recover system functionality so that it can perform in the aftermath of an incident.
No Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Using only a password to protect your accounts is asking for trouble. It’s like having nothing but a screen door at the entrance of your business.
Adding MFA provides an extra layer of protection. It requires users to provide extra authentication factors. Such as a one-time code or passkey. This makes it much harder for cyber attackers to breach your accounts.
Disregarding Mobile Security.
Mobile devices have become office workhorses. But they can pose a myriad of security risks. Ensure that all company-issued devices have passcodes or biometric locks enabled. Consider implementing mobile device management (MDM) solutions. These will enable you to enforce security policies, as well as remotely wipe data and ensure devices stay up to date.
Shadow IT refers to the use of unauthorized applications within your business. It might seem harmless when employees use convenient tools they find online. But these unvetted applications can pose serious security risks. Put in place a clear policy for the use of software and services within your business. Regularly audit your systems to uncover any shadow IT lurking under cover.
Do You Need IT Support for Your Small Business?
At Oakland Solutions LLC, we make sure to keep up-to-date on the latest security threats and their solutions. Give us a call today to schedule a cybersecurity assessment. If you're in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb counties we're here to help.
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.