Cybersecurity on a shoestring budget: Cost-effective strategies for small businesses

Cybersecurity on a shoestring budget: Cost-effective strategies for small businesses

Nowadays, not even the smallest business in New Jersey is safe from cybercriminals. In fact, these hackers may prefer targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) because they know these companies don’t have huge budgets to spend on cybersecurity.

Fortunately, SMBs can safeguard their digital assets without breaking the bank. The trick is to adopt cost-effective solutions that won’t sacrifice essential security measures. Here are four main strategies you should consider.

Strategy 1: Prioritize employee education

To circumvent traditional security measures, cybercriminals often use social engineering scams to trick employees into divulging sensitive information. These scams involve manipulating individuals into performing actions that could compromise security. It’s therefore important for your staff to be trained on how to identify and avoid phishing scams and be critical of everything they see online.

Fortunately, planning, conducting, and implementing regular cybersecurity training is fairly inexpensive when you partner with Online Computers. We provide specialized security training services that cover everything from detailed seminars to hands-on phishing simulations, ensuring your employees are fully prepared for any threat.

Strategy 2: Foster a culture of cybersecurity

Every employee must be aware of their responsibility to protect the company’s digital assets. That’s why your security training sessions should instill simple habits such as the following:

  • Setting unique 16-character passwords (or passphrases) to reduce the risk of hackers guessing their way into company accounts
  • Enabling multi-factor authentication so the company’s security doesn’t solely hinge on employees’ passwords
  • Installing software updates as soon as they become available
  • Avoiding unsecured public Wi-Fi as cybercriminals may be monitoring these networks
  • Backing up data in multiple locations, including the cloud

Strategy 3: Leverage free or low-cost tools and services

Embracing free or low-cost security tools is like getting top-notch protection without draining your wallet. However, avoid using pirated or hacked versions of software. Pirated copies often contain viruses and miners, while hacked versions don’t contain fixes and patch updates.

Here are some free and low-cost cybersecurity tools you can explore:

  • For antivirus protection, there are freebies like Microsoft Defender or Avast that do a solid job safeguarding your devices.
  • For firewalls, you can opt for open-source software like Cisco Secure Firewall to provide robust network protection.
  • For password management, try free tools like LastPass or Bitwarden.
  • For data backup, look for free or affordable solutions like OneDrive to protect your data.

Additionally, government-backed resources like the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offer valuable advice, training, and even free tools like the Malware Analysis Sandbox. These solutions are like having a security team at your fingertips, ensuring your defenses are strong without blowing your budget.

Strategy 4: Outsource security services

Another inexpensive option is to hire cybersecurity experts. Managed service providers (MSPs) like Online Computers can monitor threats and respond swiftly to incidents, saving you time and resources. What’s more, MSPs don’t just offer security services; they can also help in setting up and managing your IT systems. More importantly, MSPs offer security services and solutions that can scale with your company’s growing network and data. This means that as your business expands, the security measures provided by MSPs can adapt and evolve to meet the increasing demands and complexities of your IT infrastructure

Note, however, that there are pros and cons to outsourcing your IT to an MSP, so study your options carefully. Better yet, why not give our IT experts at Online Computers a call to discuss your needs? If you partner with us, your cybersecurity will be in capable hands. Contact us today so we can create tailored solutions for you.

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