It’s not just the big businesses that are hacked, smaller ones too are targeted by cybercriminals.

Well, while big companies would have the resources to survive even multiple big data breaches, smaller ones might get shattered with just one small breach. The losses incurred due to a data breach (financial loss, loss in customer trust etc) plus the fines and fees imposed following a breach can together cause a small business to be wiped out. The damage to reputation caused by a breach might be too big for a small business to recover.

Thus, it becomes important that small businesses master the art of preventing cyberattacks from happening, as far as it’s practically possible. Similarly, it’s also important that small business learn how to recover quickly from a data breach. Here’s are some tips that could help small businesses combat cyberattacks:

Bear in mind that you could be targeted anytime…

There is sometimes a false sense of security among small businesses, arising from the thought that they are too small to attract the attention of cybercriminals. The fact is that just as there are big and small businesses, there are hackers of all kinds. The average hacker would eye small businesses as well. Many recent reports point out that more than half of all cyberattack victims are small businesses; the recent years have seen a rise in the number of attacks targeting SMBs (Small and Medium-Sized Businesses). The average hacker would prefer targeting a small business rather than a big one because he knows it very well that it would most probably be easier to break into the network of the smaller business organization. Hence, recognize that you could very well be a target for a devastating cyberattack.

Follow security practices diligently

Once you recognize that your small business could be targeted by hackers anytime, the next thing that needs to be done is to take steps to prevent it from happening. You should start thinking of having in place a system that could help in preventing cyberattacks and also help in dealing with the consequences of an attack, as quickly and effectively as is practically possible. Yes, ensure that you follow all security practices diligently.

As part of following security practices, have all security software installed. Never compromise on the quality of security software installed; remember, a small amount of callousness could lead to the ruin of your business. Make sure you update your firewall and all your security software from time to time. You should also implement a very effective password policy and have in place a security monitoring policy. Make it a point to conduct penetration tests regularly. Ensure that every single device that is connected to your network, including personal mobile devices of employees, is secured properly.

In addition to all this, have an effective incident response plan in place so that you can recover and take care of things in the eventuality of a security incident.

Educate and train your employees

You might have all security practices and tools in place, you might have an incident response plan as well…but still your data wouldn’t be totally protected. Hackers know it very well that it’s best to target the human element within an organization to gain access to the organizational network. That phishing scams continue to be the favorite of hackers across the globe is proof enough for this. Many big organizations too get hacked because of simple errors unknowingly committed by their employees. Hence, understand that your employees are the most vulnerable part of your business network and hence start educating them on all aspects of cybersecurity. In addition, make it a point to continuously train them to stay vigilant and follow best security practices. They need to be trained to stay vigilant of phishing scams and should also be trained to keep all software and systems updated. You should also train your employees on how to tackle a security incident if it happens.

Seek professional help, if needed…

Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving area; hence, never hesitate to seek professional help, if needed. You could either have a full-fledged IT department in charge of security or else partner with a security firm if your budget allows that. It would indeed be wise to set apart a budget for cybersecurity because it’s one of the foundations of stability for any business today.

Remember, breaches happen everywhere and in all industries today. Cyber incidents are among the most common of things today. Hence, if you are running a business, small or big, it’s always good to be on the guard. Stay protected, stay in business!

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