Though having high-quality antivirus software is a must for any small business, there are other basic steps you can take to protect your company’s data. These methods do not require the vigilant service of an in-house IT department to implement. Many of them you can start implementing as early as today.
This post will explore some preventative measures you can take now to keep your business’s data safe and secure.
1) DUAL-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Dual-Factor Authentication, often abbreviated as 2FA, is a security protocol that is becoming more standard by the day. Basically, instead of single-factor authentication, like a password, 2FA adds another layer of security.
What this second layer looks like differs based on the preferences of the user. Sometimes it is biometric, like a face or fingerprint scan. Other times, it can be an additional password or an answer to a rotating series of personal questions directed at an individual.
You need to start implementing 2FA for you and your employees ASAP. Biometric data is one of the most difficult for hackers to steal and use to get into your network. It doesn’t matter which factor comes first. For example, if you have an iPhone, you may have noticed after using the face-scan feature that you are prompted to enter your 6-digit password. This is an example of a randomly triggered 2FA login.
Some programs utilize timed passwords that are refreshed periodically as the second factor. When a person logs in with their regular username and password, they are then directed to the timed password, which is only visible on a person’s phone or another connected device. Google Authenticator is an example of this.
2) CYBERSECURITY EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The old saying that knowledge is the best defense certainly holds true here. You must regularly educate yourself and your team on the latest cybersecurity threats. Cybercrime attacks are exploding, and digital security experts are constantly evolving their strategies to protect against the alarming number of hacks, data breaches, and other cybercrimes happening daily.
The digital arms race between hackers and digital security experts has been escalating exponentially in recent years, and, unfortunately, small businesses are often collateral damage.
Here are some alarming statistics:
- 70% of small businesses have had employee passwords stolen or lost
- Over a 12 month period, 63% of small businesses in the US experienced at least one data breach.
- 85% of managed IT service providers report that ransomware is the greatest threat to their small business clients.
- Phishing is still the number one way malware infects a network.
These are all evident reasons why you and your employees need to hold regular cybersecurity meetings and develop an SOP for cybersecurity within your organization ASAP.
3) INVEST IN REGULAR IT CHECKUPS
IT security companies offer many services that help business owners gauge the quality of their cybersecurity. Different kinds of audits are available, but most involve the IT company trying to hack into the client’s network. These simulated hacks help uncover weak points in a business’s digital security.
IT technicians will use phishing schemes to try to trick employees into downloading malware. This offers an excellent training opportunity for employees to encounter malware and learn how to handle it safely.
When should you reach out to an IT cybersecurity agency?
You should reach out if you are upgrading systems or switching networks. Businesses in transition are more vulnerable to cybercrime. You should also reach out if you have recently expanded your network, taken on more employees, or when other comparable changes occur.
The 2020 pandemic forced many employees to work from home, and some businesses are keeping a limited capacity office indefinitely. Having employees access your business’s network remotely from potential unsecured internet connections is a considerable risk. If your company plans to keep some employees at home, it is good to contact an IT security company.
4) USE BUSINESS-CLASS WI-FI
If you aren’t using business-class wi-fi, then you are putting your business at risk needlessly. Business-grade broadband has many benefits over a home broadband connection, including traffic priority, higher speeds, and better customer service. Not surprisingly, business broadband is also much more secure than home broadband.
The enhanced security features of business broadband make it worth the higher price. Switching to business broadband will help to reduce the risk of your business becoming a victim of cybercrime.
5) USE BUSINESS-CLASS ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE
Regardless of whether or not your team operates on macOS or Windows, you’ll need high-quality antivirus software. If you have been neglecting the responsibility of properly securing your network, data, and communications, then now is the time to invest in a proper business-grade antivirus software package.
Free antivirus software will absolutely not cut it. You’ll want to pay for a package that gives you a VPN connection, a safe browser to conduct payments on, cross-platform protection, and has superior customer support. Business Tech Weekly has published an article breaking down the pros and cons of different business-grade antivirus packages. It is a must-read for serious business owners who want to prioritize cybersecurity.
CYBERCRIME IS ON THE RISE! DON’T BECOME A STATISTIC.
This post has outlined five steps you can take to get your network, communications, and data secure. Cybercrime is projected to explode in the 2020s, and businesses that do not take the appropriate measures will become victims in the ever-escalating cyberwar.