The importance of cybersecurity for small businesses

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03 Oct 2023

The importance of cybersecurity for small businesses

In today's digital world, safeguarding your business's online assets is crucial. While big corporations are the ones that make the news when they suffer cyberattacks, small business can also be targetted. The good news is that once you understand why cybersecurity is important for your business, you will be better able to protect this. In this article, we explore why cybersecurity is a must for small businesses and how you can get started.

Why is cybersecurity important for small businesses?

It might surprise you, but many cybercriminals target small businesses. Why? Because small businesses often lack the strong cybersecurity measures that larger corporations have in place. That vulnerability can lead to things such as a data breach or other cyber crimes, which can financially harm and damage the reputation of a business.

As well as that, while modern technology has enabled us to access business data from anywhere, it has also created new ways for cybercriminals to attack. Think about the apps and tools employees use to make their jobs easier. Some apps may seem useful, such as PDF or image conversion tools, but if they're not officially approved, they're known as 'Shadow IT' because they could be doorways for cybercriminals to enter.

And don't forget about the rise of smart devices. Every new gadget, including Bluetooth speakers or smart fridges, bring with it a potential point for cyber crime.

What are the 5 reasons why cybersecurity is important now more than ever?

  1. Protection from financial losses: Last year alone, the global average cost of a data breach was USD 4.45 million, a 15% increase over 3 years. Behind these figures are not just direct costs, but also loss of trust, reputation, and loyal customers.

  2. More devices, more targets: With billions of connected devices out there, each one could be a potential target. Keeping them safe is essential for a secure network.

  3. Clever cyber criminals: The modern hacker isn’t just a solo mischief-maker. They have forums, networks, and tools, making it easier for them to find weaknesses.

  4. Faster detection: On average, it takes nearly 287 days to detect and contain a data breach. A solid cybersecurity strategy can reduce this time, helping businesses bounce back faster.

  5. Building trust: When customers know you care about their data's security, it builds trust. They'll be more likely to support a business they believe protects their personal information.

How can cybersecurity protect your business? (16 ways)

'Cybersecurity' might sound overly technical to some business owners, so let’s simplify it by breaking it down into a list of 16 actions you can take:

  1. Educate and train your staff: Make sure all employees are aware of common cyber threats like phishing. Regular training can help them recognise potential threats.

  2. Use strong passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Encourage the use of complex passwords and change them regularly. MFA adds an extra layer of security.

  3. Keep software updated: This includes operating systems, applications, and antivirus programs.

  4. Backup data regularly: Backing up all data, either in the cloud or on an external hard drive, helps in case of ransomware attacks or data losses.

  5. Set up a firewall: A firewall can help screen out hackers, viruses, and other malicious activities. Some operating systems come with a built-in firewall, so ensure it's activated.

  6. Secure Wi-Fi networks: Make your Wi-Fi network is secure, encrypted, and hidden – don't broadcast your network name to your neighbourhood.

  7. Limit access: Use access controls to only allow trusted individuals to access sensitive business information, and do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems.

  8. Regular Security Assessments: Regularly assess your security measures. Consider outsourcing vulnerability assessments and penetration testing.

  9. Mobile device management: If your employees use mobile devices for work,

  10. Use encryption: Encrypt sensitive business data, especially when transmitting it across networks.

  11. Secure physical access: Lock rooms and cabinets where sensitive hardware or data might be stored to prevent unauthorised staff from accessing them, and lock your computer screen with a password before leaving it unattended.

  12. Regularly monitor and audit: Keep and regularly review logs of network activity. Investigate anomalies immediately.

  13. Have incident response and disaster recovery plans: This helps your business respond quickly when a cyber incident occurs, minimising damage and recovery time.

  14. Stay updated on the latest threats: Cyber threats are always evolving. Join relevant online forums, subscribe to cybersecurity news sources, or partner with IT security firms to stay informed.

  15. Use secure payment systems: Work with secure, well-established payment systems, and continually validate and assess their security. Beware of potential payment scams and educate employees about them.

  16. Work with reputed vendors: Make sure that third-party vendors also follow best practices in cybersecurity.

To conclude, cybersecurity for small businesses is not just a necessity; it’s an investment in the future of your business. As you make your way through the above list of actions, you're not just guarding against potential threats, but you're also building trust with your customers.

Struggling with setting up your cybersecurity strategy? Get 1-2-1 support by speaking to one of our V-Hub Digital Advisors. Read more on the cybersecurity for your business here.

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