The time is now for small businesses to prioritize cybersecurity

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Cybersecurity is no longer a luxury for small businesses. It is a necessity. It is a necessity for business growth. It is a necessity for establishing a trustworthy and reliable reputation. It is a necessity for innovation. It is a necessity for protecting business assets. And mostly, it is a necessity for security. The reality is that if your business hasn’t established a cybersecurity culture and implemented cybersecurity best practices, it is in danger. Even as you read this, sophisticated cybercrime rings around the world are attempting to hack into businesses’ private information, so if your business isn’t cyber secure, it could be the next hacking victim.

Sorry, not sorry

While that reality might be disturbing, it’s true and someone had to tell you. The statistics bear this out:

– There are over 350,000 new types of malware detected every day.

– The total number of malware programs out there is nearing 980 million.

– Over seven billion malware attacks have been reported this year.

– Four companies fall victim to a ransomware attack every 60 seconds.

– There is a cyber attack every 39 seconds.

– The economic cost of cybercrime in the US is between $57 billion to $109 billion.

And don’t for a minute think that being a small business affords you any kind of protection. Small businesses have the same attack vectors as large businesses and hackers view them as highly valuable targets.  63% of SMBs reported experiencing a data breach in the past 12 months and 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. In terms of financial damage, the average global cost of a data breach for SMBs is $3.9 million, a sum too big for most small businesses to absorb. Point made? Then let’s look at the good news.

The good news

The good news is that it’s not difficult to prioritize your business’ cybersecurity.  There is something that all small businesses can do to protect themselves. Not only are the technology and resources for defending your business readily available, but they’re also powerfully effective and don’t require a huge investment. 

Staying safe from cyber threats

The first step towards cybersecurity starts with small business virus protection. Install an endpoint antivirus solution that allows you to manage the security of your company devices and data from a single dashboard, so that no endpoints are left unprotected. The endpoint solution should offer important privacy protection features such as camera and microphone protection to stop hackers from spying on business meetings, anti-tracking protection so employee browsing cannot be tracked, anti-ransomware and anti-phishing protection, protection from unwanted software, protection from malicious URLs, links and attachments, and more.

Next, always keep your software and operating system up to date. Updates often include critical software security patches to holes that leave your data and devices exposed to cyber attacks. If you don’t install the updates, you make it easier for hackers to gain access to your devices. For businesses, the best way to ensure that software is up to date on all business systems is to use an endpoint antivirus solution. With endpoint solutions, you can uniformly install updates on all your business systems, so you don’t have to rely on employees who might forget to do updates or just not want to bother with them.

Cultivating a business culture that emphasizes cybersecurity awareness is another critical security measure. By training employees about company security protocols and by increasing their cybersecurity awareness, you are investing in your employees and making your business less likely to be victimized by a cyber attack. 

Businesses should also implement and enforce strict password policies. At a minimum, passwords should be required to be at least 10 characters long, use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, and they should never be shared or reused. 

Virtual private networks (VPN) help enhance security too. They are inexpensive and hide your IP address so your employees can browse anonymously. VPNs also secure and encrypt your online connections, which better protects your data from hackers.

Finally, access to data and systems should be limited to only those employees who need the access to do their jobs. By limiting access to only those employees who need it, you minimize the potential for compromise. Another benefit of endpoint security solutions is that they can also help control access.

Embracing cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has become a powerful business enabler that can accelerate growth and expansion. It can grant greater trustworthiness, enhance other business’ confidence about entering into partnerships with your business, protect critical business assets, and promote innovation by protecting data and resources. It is also crucial to a business’ resilience, defense and security. Cybersecurity is not a luxury. The time for small businesses to prioritize their cybersecurity is now.