According to a recent survey, nearly half of all businesses (46%) reported a breach of their IT systems or a cyber attack over a period of 12 months. These incidences can have a significant impact on the survivability of a business. Not only do you lose time and resources fixing the damage done to the website and systems, but there is also a potential loss of customers and not to mention the damage done to your reputation. If a hacker manages to get their hands on essential business data, the consequences can be even more far-reaching.
The advent of the internet and resulting connectivity have made it possible for more people to go the entrepreneurial way, paving the way for more businesses, higher greater productivity, and significant profitability. Unfortunately, all this connectivity has also led to greater vulnerability to cyber attacks. Security spending has skyrocketed as companies try to make sense of these recent disruptions.
The good news here is that it doesn’t take much to protect your business from cyber attacks. Small businesses across the globe are now looking for more affordable and novel ways to improve their online security.and it’s about time.
Understand That Cyber security Applies To Everyone
The threat is very real… and for most businesses it is imminent. Time and again, we’ve all heard news of wide-scale data breaches. Small business owners pacify themselves with the fact their company isn’t on anyone’s radar and too small to be at risk just yet.
Cyber criminals who are looking to access your office network don’t care how big it is. They are only looking for a vulnerability to exploit and make their way in. And all it takes is one unsecured device to give them access to your entire IT eco sphere. According to research, more than 43% of all 2015 cyber attacks were targeted at small businesses. This number has only risen with time. It’s even more troubling that only 14% of small enterprises trust their cyber security systems to be effective in case of a breach.
Now that we have established that cyber security is just as much a small-and-medium-sized business problem, it’s time to explore ways of addressing it adequately.
Business data is vulnerable, and cyber security is the only way of ensuring that your business continues to operate optimally despite the threats surrounding it. For starters, make sure to implement IT best practices to stay ahead of risk and mitigate disasters quickly and effectively.
Cyber Security Practices Your Business Should Be Following
Small & large organizations and even mega-conglomerates have started putting in place cyber security solutions. These usually include encrypting data, authenticating users and authorizing access for all employees and stakeholders, to safeguard business data, workstations, device as well as the overall network environment. But that’s just the beginning.
Here is a quick list of the most crucial cyber security practices all businesses should follow:
Powerful encryption can prevent unwanted viewing or use of your data. If your information is stored online on a shared network or if it is being sent over the internet, make sure it’s encrypted. It is a quick and virtually free method of protecting private information from malicious intent of a hacker. You can also have entire workstations and data backups encrypted to ensure maximum protection.
Passwords and authentication
When data is encrypted, only the persons with the correct password can get access to it. Authentication is how you control the spread of those passwords and keys. In reality, authentication can take many forms including simple username/pass code combinations, tokens, and some other techniques. Your website or server can employ certificates to recognize trustworthy third parties. So your business can easily tell if a user or client is really who they are claiming to be, and what level of access they need to your systems.
Consider Cloud for Data Backups
Data stored locally, i.e., on machines and servers in your office, is a sitting duck. It is inherently insecure. There is a risk of permanent loss in case the physical location is damaged or worse, stolen. That is why cyber security experts suggest cloud storage and backup services for the decentralization of data on encrypted servers and give you complete peace of mind with several points of redundancy.
Have the Education-First Attitude
Employees are often-times responsible for lost, stolen or leaked days. They could be compromising the security unknowingly, and some expert training can help fix this issue stat. Start with training the employees to optimally use the systems they are assigned, make sure they learn about its functionality as well as essential security practices. This approach can help identify the trouble-spots, the need for access and authorization while also reducing the risk of data breach and outside access.
Seek Quality Advice
Your business can benefit from some expert advice as well. An outside set of eyes is better poised to access cyber security technology. A professional cyber security consultation can audit your security needs, suggest improvements and implement them efficiently.
The Last Word: The Time to Take Action is NOW!
Business owners and managers often make the mistake of thinking that they could never be the target of a data breach. They wrongfully believe that if a hacker hasn’t victimized their business until now, it is unlikely that they’ll ever have to deal with a cyber attack. But what they fail to realize that most of the times the first attack, is also the most damaging. And while it spurs businesses into action getting their security considerations in order, it takes a long while to get things back to the way they were and resume business as usual.
If you fail to take action, you run the risk of losing your entire business data in a single attack, and that could include important customer info as well, and that means having your clients lose all confidence in your services. Ignoring the cyber security needs of your business can be a slippery slope, one that no responsible business manager should attempt. It is time to take precautions, get a risk assessment and get a reliable cyber crime expert on your side.
Must read – Interesting articles on cyber security
Author Bio: Jenny Harrison is a passionate tech and business blogger. She loves to engage with readers who are seeking technology and business and marketing related information on the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community. Currently she is associated with Cyber security consulting company Mars Technology. Follow her on twitter @MJennyHarrison for more updates.