Are you eager to set up a small business or take your existing one online? Before you kick start your digital transformation journey, there are a few things you need to know. First, cybercrime is increasing rapidly, with attackers targeting small businesses more than ever before. Second, over 43% of cyberattacks are geared towards small businesses, which is why you need a security plan even before you start one.
So, why are cybercriminals targeting small businesses? That’s because they know for a fact that small and mid-sized businesses seldom focus on cybersecurity. Instead, they are more worried about generating profits while operating on a budget. If that sounds like you, then know that not having the necessary security measures in place can get you entangled in lawsuits. Therefore, you need to have the proper security measures in place before you start. For this reason, we bring you nine techniques that can help improve your organization’s cybersecurity without spending a lot of money.
#1. Keep Your Emails Safe
These days, most business communication — proposals, project reports, circulars, etc. — is exchanged over emails, and cybercriminals are fully aware of it. They know how easy it is to get someone to click on a link via email — a reason why 94% of malware is delivered via email. Therefore, you need to be very careful with the emails and use email filters and encryption.
An email filter is a tool that allows you to set predefined rules to screen emails and block those which do not make it through the set parameters. For the encryption part, you can always install an SSL certificate on the mail server. A SAN SSL certificate is an ideal choice. It is a unique type of SSL that lets you encrypt multiple domains, IPs, and mail servers.
#2. Train your Employees
Your employees should know what it takes to keep the network secure because without them being cautious, there’s no way a security plan would work. This would require a comprehensive security policy circulated to all your employees and mandatory cybersecurity training sessions. You could also invite speakers and conduct workshops to educate them on how their actions could threaten the entire business.
#3. Secure Your Business Website
Your business website is the entry point through which customer data flows, and therefore, it is important to keep it well-guarded. So, make sure to have DDoS protection, firewall, and malware removal tools installed on your site.
Most importantly, use encryption to encrypt the in-transit communications that transpire on your site, and this is something that a standard SSL cert can do. Of course, you will need a premium SSL, and they don’t come cheap, but if you are on a tight budget, you could always try out the GeoTrust Wildcard SSL. It is moderately priced, comes from a reliable brand, and does the job perfectly well.
#4. Limit Access to Customer Data
Businesses thrive on customer data such as personal, demographic, and behavioural information that can be reused to generate more business. This includes buying behaviour, interaction with the website, financial data, personal data, etc., which the business is obligated to protect. The easiest way to do this is through clear segregation of data which paves the way for limiting access and minimizing the possibilities of insider threats.
#5. Set Strong Password Rules
Over 81% of security breaches are caused by weak passwords, which compelling users can easily avoid setting secure passwords. As a business owner, you can do this by setting strong password rules to prevent hackers from cracking it with brute-force software. Also, setting unique rules will stop users from reusing their passwords which brings along the risk of being a victim of password spraying attacks.
#6. Use Multifactor Authentication
You can level up your security by requiring users to use multi-factor authentication for logins from new devices or when there is a deviation from regular behaviour. The best way to do it is by asking for one memory-based password, and another time-based OTP sent to the user’s registered phone or email.
#7. Keep your Applications Updated
Businesses use a ton of applications to perform their daily tasks, including operating systems, website CMS, customer ticket management, business intelligence apps, etc. However, they tend to forget to install security patches that developers release in the form of updates. This poor security practice is the reason for close to 60% of all cyberattacks that occur.
#8. Regularly Back-up your Data
Do you know that 40% of ransomware victims ended up paying the ransom to regain access to their system? After all, businesses thrive on data, and not having it can hurt order fulfilment and damage the business’s reputation in no time. However, you can prevent this through regular backups that are moved off-site.
#9. Consider A Managed SOC
A Security Operations Center (SOC) is a unit within an organization that is solely dedicated to protecting the IT infrastructure of that particular company. We know this might not be possible for small businesses because hiring a single cybersecurity professional costs $120,708 US dollars. So, a team and tools could very well cost a couple of million dollars annually. However, if you are a small business that cannot shoulder these costs, you can outsource it to a managed SOC service provider. These are external firms that manage your security needs remotely, which works out to be much cheaper than setting up an in-house SOC.
Technology and connectivity have transformed businesses forever and brought operational convenience, ease of data storage and retrieval, and access to a global clientele. However, the data stored on devices connected to the internet or the communication exchanged electronically is never safe.
There is always a possibility of someone stealing your data or controlling it and blocking you out. The only way to prevent this is through meticulous planning and implementation of security measures. This is where installing the perfect kind of SSL certificate comes into play. If you intend to expand your business in the future, we suggest buying a cheap wildcard SSL certificate. With this single cert, you can secure your chosen main domain and multiple first-level subdomains under it. Therefore, we have discussed nine security measures touted by those who have dedicated themselves to keeping businesses secure.