You have a lot of responsibilities. You have to manage your finances, your employees, your customers, and your products or services. Unfortunately, cybersecurity often falls to the wayside in favor of more pressing concerns. Many small business owners wrongly assume that they are not a target for hackers, or that they don’t have the resources to protect themselves. However, the truth is that small businesses are at just as much risk of cyber attacks as larger corporations. In fact, small businesses are often an easier target for hackers who assume that they have weaker security defences.
As a small business owner, you might feel that you are not at risk of being hacked, or that cybersecurity is too expensive to implement for your company. Nevertheless, you might be making mistakes that make your business a target for hackers. Small businesses are vulnerable to hacking because they often lack the resources of larger enterprises to fortify their networks. However, with some affordable and straightforward measures, you can protect your business and your customers’ data. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes that small businesses make, and how to prevent them.
Small businesses often do not provide adequate resources or time to address cybersecurity. One common mistake is to assume that antivirus software is enough to protect their network. Anti-malware can detect and remove viruses, but it cannot protect you from other types of cyberattacks. To establish the most effective security measures, you should perform regular risk assessments, educate your employees on best practices, and use security software tools that suit your budget and business needs. The right set up does not need to be cumbersome or costly.
One of the important rules of cybersecurity is never to share passwords. It might seem harmless to use the same password for multiple business accounts and/or share it with your employees, but this practice can put your business at risk. By using the same password for multiple accounts, you increase the likelihood of a hacker accessing all your accounts once they have guessed the one password. The reality is that there is no such thing as a completely secure network or account and there is always a risk of someone attempting to gain access to your systems. You should use a strong password that is unique for each account and use features such as two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of security. If you are worried on how you will be able to remember all of these unique passwords that you need to use, consider using an online password manager to help you keep track of your usernames and passwords.
As someone who cares deeply about the safety and security of those around me, we advocate for the use of Multi-factor authentication, or MFA for short whenever possible. MFA is a powerful security process that adds an extra layer of protection beyond just a password. By requiring more than one method of authentication, MFA helps to verify the user’s identity for a login or other transaction. This personalized approach to security can be a game changer in today’s ever-growing technological landscape. Whether you’re using two-factor authentication (2FA) or three-factor authentication (3FA), MFA is an essential tool that ensures that your information is safe from those who would seek to do you harm. So, we highly recommend that if you do not have MFA set up on all online accounts, you should consider doing so.
Another common mistake that small businesses make is failing to keep their software up to date. Hackers locate and exploit vulnerabilities in out-of-date software to gain access to networks. When software is updated, it often includes security patches that address security vulnerabilities. Configure your systems to install software patches automatically or monitor for updates to ensure you stay on top of required updates.
Employees are often the weakest link in your network’s security. Even with the best security measures in place, they can unwittingly invite hackers in by clicking on phishing emails, downloading attachments from unknown sources, or using unsecured Wi-Fi networks. By providing your employees with regular security awareness training, they can learn to identify and avoid threats, which can protect the business from a security breach. You also might what to consider changing your company culture to include cybersecurity awareness and vigilance.
The rapid pace of technological advancements means that systems can often become obsolete quickly. If your business is still using an outdated operating system or hardware, it may be time to upgrade. Without updated technology, you may be unable to install critical software patches, leaving your business vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, old computers and equipment can themselves be a threat vector for hackers.
Keeping your small business secure may seem daunting, but in reality, it is not impossible. By following these simple cybersecurity practices, you can reduce the risk of hacking dramatically. Remember always to reassess your network’s security, stay up-to-date on the latest threats, and ensure that your employees understand best practices. Security awareness and education, paired with inexpensive but effective security software, will help keep your business protected from hackers. Adopt a proactive cybersecurity approach that is taken seriously, and you’ll achieve a solid security posture and avoid any cybersecurity mistakes.