Cybercrime losses are continually increasing, either in cost or in number of accounts affected. In 2013, the global average cost of cybercrime was at $7.2 million. Five years later, it increased to $11.7 million. In 2018, three of the top 10 largest data breaches of all time happened, affecting around 750 million accounts.
Despite numerous articles spelling out what businesses can do to prevent such attacks, many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) still fall victim to criminals who exploit their lack of security preparedness. Cybersecurity is essential since SMBs have integrated technologies. Systems integration is great for business growth, but it also means giving criminals access to almost everything in case they breach your system.
Whether you have the money to spend for cybersecurity or not, there are still a lot of measures you can take to protect your system from hackers. Let’s start with ones that will not put a huge dent on your budget, then move on to things you need to spend on to keep you safe from cyberattacks.
Here is a checklist of what you can implement immediately, and what you can prepare for in the near future.
For immediate implementation
❐ Be aware of cybercrimes
Knowledge is power, and knowing the latest tricks of cybercriminals will help you protect yourself against them. Always expect that your business is a target for an attack. Ask yourself: What data do you have that is attractive to hackers? How do you protect your data? What are your protection strategies and plans?
❐ Know the potential threats you face
Aside from cybercriminals hacking into your system, your data is also vulnerable to other threats, like natural disasters. Your own employees may also commit an error that will expose your data to outsiders (for example, sending sensitive information to the wrong recipients or allowing strangers access to your data). Knowing such threats will allow you to create better security strategies and plans.
❐ Monitor your employees
Your employees are your company’s greatest assets, but they can also be your greatest security risk. They have varying degrees of accessibility to sensitive data and are privy to your operations. Such knowledge can be used against your company. Keep your employees sufficiently motivated and loyal to the company. Train them on how to use passwords properly and how to identify and avoid potential phishing scams. Keep them informed about the latest security vulnerabilities.
❐ Have a strong sign-off policy for your employees
When your employees resign, they should return all laptops, mobile devices, and other company-issued technology, and immediately revoke all their access privileges to your company data.
❐ Do not ignore patches
Patches are regular updates to your software and hardware systems. You receive them for a reason; they are meant to update, fix, or improve a computer program, including fixing bugs that render your system vulnerable to hacking. Make sure to always update your software.
Cybersecurity you should spend on
❐ Partner with a third party for your cybersecurity
It is economically more efficient to partner with a managed services provider (MSP), like Online Computers, for your cybersecurity and other IT needs. Our experts can provide your business a comprehensive, integrated security solution to keep your business protected at all times. And you can get all that for a flat monthly fee, which you can budget ahead of time.
❐ Use two-factor (or multifactor) authentication
Once hackers correctly guess or steal your password, it’s easy for them to access your device. Enabling two- or multifactor authentication adds a layer of protection. The identity of the user is confirmed using a combination of two or multiple factors. An example of two-factor authentication is using your user-generated password plus a one-time password (OTP) received through a device (e.g., smartphone) that only the user owns.
❐ Conduct regular audits on your cybersecurity
Have cybersecurity experts perform regular audits to make sure your security system is always in tip-top shape.
❐ Insure your company against cybercrime
Invest in a good cyber insurance policy. If you do experience a cyber breach, then you’re covered.
Whether you like it or not, your SMB can be the next target of a cyberattack. Protect yourself by partnering with Online Computers. If your business in Hanover, Morristown, or Madison is in need of cybersecurity, tech support, or consulting, call us.
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