Not all of us are lucky enough to have the IT budget of a mega-corporation to spend on our perimeter defenses. Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of every economy, and they need protection too, but what measures can you implement right now to protect you from the latest threats? Find out as we walk you through the importance of cybersecurity, and how to protect your business.
Why Is Cybersecurity So Important?
We’ve seen an unprecedented rise in cyber attacks over the several years, a trend that has only been accelerated by the rise of remote working. Hackers are waging a constant war against perimeter defenses of companies across the globe in an effort to access valuable data and financial information.
With the threat landscape evolving so quickly, malicious parties are exploiting naive and unprepared businesses that don’t fully understand how to protect themselves. This is why it’s so important to get educated to keep your assets safe.
Why Legacy Systems Can No Longer Cut It
Old network protection methods are fast becoming outdated. They were designed around employees all working on one central site, and perimeter defenses were geared towards targeted network attacks.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, vast swathes of office space now lie empty, and employees are connecting remotely. This requires a whole new way of thinking in relation to cybersecurity, one that’s based on protecting your network from wider threats across the internet, controlling staff access from wherever they’re based, and enacting a zero-trust policy.
Plus, clunky on-site security solutions are simply too expensive for small and medium-sized businesses to maintain. They have to find alternatives by default.
What Cybersecurity Solutions Are Available?
Antivirus on Individual Devices
Setting up antivirus on individual devices is a relatively inexpensive way to protect your network. This way, if one device was infected, the threat should remain isolated to that particular device, and not spread to the rest of your network. It’s a must-have solution and will be the first line of defense for many.
There are plenty of enterprise AV providers out there now that offer reasonable prices, and will charge based on the number of devices and licenses you need. You can shop around for different features too as many will include tools like webcam protection, anti-theft support, advanced anti-malware, cloud backups in the event of data loss, and user-friendly interfaces.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are one of the best ways to defend your network against cybercrime. We’re specifically referring to business VPNs here and not consumer options. The latter simply won’t offer enough protection for regular corporate use.
The best ones apply advanced encryption tools to ensure that your employee’s connections are completely private and secure, no matter what WiFi network they’re connecting to. In addition, business versions can keep detailed logs, provide access to secure applications and work seamlessly with your company firewall.
Cybersecurity Hygiene Factors
These are the cost-effective basics that every single business should implement and includes:
- Two-factor authentication – This is especially important if your employees are working remotely. If devices are lost or stolen they’ll be near impossible to crack with this in place
- Complex passwords – You’d be surprised at just how often this simple measure is overlooked. Always ensure enforced security protocols are in place with minimum complex character requirements with regular changes applied
- Keep systems updated – This means applying security patches as soon as they’re available. Many hacks are successful because they exploit vulnerabilities in existing systems. Make sure you have automatic updates applied where possible
- Access control – No staff member should have access to any systems they don’t need to fulfill their role. A strict access control policy is simple to implement, and won’t break the bank. You can audit user access to internal systems in order to easily and efficiently practice role-based access control. User access review audits can help you review all user access changes and permissions to help you meet compliance with internal access requirements while strengthening your cybersecurity measures.
- Data backups – Backing your data up to an off-site or cloud environment is vital these days. In the event you fall victim to a hack, you’ll have a clean version of your data to fall back on. With a prevalence of cloud providers, you should be able to find some inexpensive deals
Staff Awareness Training
Human error is by far the most common reason organizations fall victim to cyber-attacks. Whether it’s someone clicking on a malicious link, sending an email to the wrong person, or simply being careless when leaving devices lying around, it’s essential you train your staff on how to look after the company’s data.
This can be done using something as simple as a PowerPoint presentation, or regular emails to staff to remind them of their responsibilities, listing the types of attacks to look out for. This kind of staff awareness and training can be put together for next to nothing in terms of cost but could save you thousands in the long run if it prevents a cyber attack.