Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses
As a small business, you’ve got a target on your back. Like wolves preying on the weak member of a herd, cyber criminals go after small businesses because they’re often vulnerable. Just because you’re small, it doesn’t mean you can’t defend yourself, though. In this guide, we'll break down 10 cyber security best practices for small businesses that you can use to protect yourself from cyber-attacks.
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Why small businesses need to follow cyber security best practices
Cyber-attacks can be devastating for small businesses with consequences ranging from lost revenue to reputational damage. Following cyber security best practices will ensure you’re doing everything possible to protect yourself.
In our guide, Cyber Security Best Practices for Small Businesses, we’ve compiled 10 of the most important things your business should be doing to defend itself.
What cyber security threats do small businesses face?
Small businesses are faced with an ever-evolving list of cyber security threats, ranging from phishing attacks to malware. When it comes to defending yourself, being aware of these threats is a great place to start.
Phishing is a technique used by cyber criminals to try and trick people into downloading malware, clicking bad links, or giving away confidential data. You’ve probably received dodgy texts or emails like this yourself, and whilst some can be easy to detect, the messages are becoming more and more advanced.
Cyber criminals are now targeting specific individuals or businesses in what’s known as spear phishing attacks. This targeted approach, combined with the ability to fake sender information on emails or texts, has made it much harder for people to detect these attacks.
Malware and ransomware attacks
Malware (or malicious software) is a type of program that cyber criminals will try and trick you into installing. Once installed, it can be used to steal or delete your data, take control of your devices, and generally wreak havoc on your IT network.
Over the last ten years, one type of malware has become particularly well known because of its devastating impact on victims – ransomware. In a ransomware attack, cyber criminals will encrypt all the data on your network, essentially locking you out of your own IT system. Once you’re locked out, the criminals will demand you pay a ransom in exchange for being given back access.
There have been several high-profile ransomware attacks in recent years, including one on the NHS that caused huge disruption and cost an estimated £92m . Whilst the NHS eventually regained access to its systems, many businesses haven’t been so lucky.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, employees can pose a huge threat to your business’s cyber security. From clicking links in phishing emails to stealing sensitive data, there’s a long list of potential risks you should be aware of. Even with the best cyber security systems in the world, your business will still be vulnerable if your employees aren’t taken into account.
Brute force attacks
Brute force attacks are a technique used by cyber criminals to gain access to a business or individual’s system. Using specialised programs, cyber criminals can try billions of combinations of usernames and passwords until they find one that works. Some of the most advanced brute force attack programs can try up to 1 billion combinations per second.
Since GDPR was announced, data security has become a hot topic. To cyber criminals, personal data is a valuable resource, and they’ll do anything they can to get access to it. The consequences of a data breach are severe. According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24m.
How do I protect my business from cyber security threats?
Whilst making sure your business follows the advice in Cyber Security Best Practices for Small Businesses is a great starting point, nothing compares to having an IT expert manage your cyber security. The techniques used by cyber criminals are constantly evolving, which means best practices have to adapt as well. Keeping track of these changes whilst also trying to run a business is hard.
At Electric IT, we manage cyber security on behalf of our clients, ensuring they always follow best practice and equipping them with industry-leading cyber security software. If you’d like the peace of mind of knowing your business is being protected by a cyber security expert, check out our cyber security & anti-virus service.
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