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Cybersecurity best practices every small business should know

Cybersecurity should be a top concern for small companies whether you do business primarily in the UK or in other countries as well. Even though news headlines usually focus on data breaches that happen to large companies and government organisations, it’s the small business that’s even more at risk. Why? Hackers are counting on small businesses to spend less on their cybersecurity budget and have weaker security than larger companies.

Cybersecurity best practices every small business should know

Here are some of the best practices for cybersecurity that can benefit the small business owner, as told by Varonis.

Awareness ideas and tips

Cybersecurity starts with awareness. Understanding that your business is vulnerable and recognising what the risks are is your first step in boosting your security plan to keep your business and data safe.

No matter how many employees you have, use these awareness ideas and tips to build a culture of security for your small business:

  • Talk to your employees about security to help them understand that even small businesses are at risk. Let them know cybersecurity affects them both at work and at home.
  • When hiring new employees, make security awareness part of the onboarding and training process.
  • Regularly hold training seminars for all employees. Include a training plan that everyone can access. Update this plan when needed.
  • Educate your employees about GDPR rules and regulations regarding user data.
  • Bring in the cybersecurity experts to build even more security awareness.
  • Provide your employees with the latest information about scams and viruses.
  • Distribute clear and concise reminders about staying security-aware.
  • Reward your employees when they alert you and your IT team about the suspicious activity as an incentive for all employees to be aware and alert.
  • Set an example. As a business owner and leader, it’s up to you to follow best practices for security.

Tips for basic security

As a small business, you can’t afford to cut corners when it comes to cybersecurity. There are safety measures you can take to improve your security strategy, from securing your Wi-Fi network to installing anti-virus software on all devices.

Implement these basic tips for security to protect your business from cybercrime:

  • When not in use, have your employees lock up their devices. Set services to time out when not being used and have devices set to auto-lock when idle.
  • Maintain a policy for unique passwords for multiple sites that your employees use. A password manager can help to generate complex passwords.
  • Multi-factor authentication can boost password security.
  • To avoid data being compromised, encrypt all data.
  • As part of your security strategy, do a daily backup of data.
  • Be cautious about using external devices such as flash drives and smartphones, which can infect computers.

Tips for internet safety

Not only does your business rely on technology, but it also relies on doing business online. This means that you and your employees are at risk every day as you communicate with customers and clients and download documents and data. Any online activity makes you a potential target for cybercrime and data breaches.

Follow these tips to increase your internet safety:

  • When possible, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your network and data.
  • Have employees verify with you or a manager before doing any online financial transactions. The same goes for any informational transactions that contain sensitive data.
  • Online business banking should always be done on company devices that have a secure Wi-Fi connection.
  • Cybercriminals are paying attention to what your employees are posting on social media – talk to your employees about social media safety.
  • Practice email safety – make sure everyone is aware of phishing scams and other email threats.

Considerations for SME Owners

As a small business owner, it’s up to you to establish security protocols that will keep your business and data safe from cybercrime. Make cybersecurity a priority and implement practices for all employees to follow to minimize your risk and address vulnerabilities.

Here are just a few security considerations that can improve security for your business:

  • Provide your IT team with additional training so they’re up to date with security practices and aware of new threats.
  • Establish network security for password expiry so your employees need to update regularly. This way stale accounts will become inaccessible.
  • When an employee leaves your business, immediately remove their credentials and access.
  • Delete stale data you’re no longer using – sensitive data is at risk if you experience a security breach.
  • Always update software with the latest patches.
  • Grant access to files and folders only to those employees who require that information to do their job.

A cyberattack or data breach can quickly damage your small business both financially and when it comes to your reputation, from which you may never be able to recover. As a small business owner, using the basic tips listed here can improve your cybersecurity strategy and strengthen your defences against cybercrime. Check out the visual guide by Varonis below:

More on cybersecurity and cyber insurance.

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