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Small Business Cybersecurity Guide: Tips from Top Consultants

small business cybersecurity guide

Looking to Secure Your Small Business from Hackers, but Don’t Know Where to Focus Your Investment? Here’s Our Top Suggestions.

If you’ve been putting off cybersecurity investments for your small company, the time to invest is now. There’s never been a more important time to address your small business cybersecurity. Consider these facts:

According to the US National Cybersecurity Alliance, cyberattacks against small businesses were up 454% in 2021. Even worse, small businesses have fewer resources to bounce back after a breach. More than 60 percent of small companies have to shutter their doors after a serious cyberattack. So, how can a small business with a limited budget get the cybersecurity they need?

Fortunately, managed service providers like Iconic IT and Integris have built their business around small business cybersecurity consulting. Let this small business cybersecurity guide be your checklist as consider security upgrades.

Shopping for cybersecurity services can be daunting. The good news is, keeping your company safe doesn’t have to bust your budget. There are many advanced, enterprise-grade cybersecurity tools out there that can be purchased on a scalable, per-user basis. While every business needs a customized plan, we generally recommend you start with these areas, first. Here’s our key list:

Multi-factor authentication

Cyber Risk Insurance

Virtual Private Networks

Staff Cybersecurity Training

Bring Your Own Device Policies

24/7 Security Monitoring

Cloud Based Backup

Voice Network Protections

Let’s explore these in more depth.

Small Business Cybersecurity Guide: Have You Addressed These Key Issues at Your Company?

Whether you run a mid-sized business, or a small, mom-and-pop company, you need a cybersecurity strategy. And every company’s plan will look different, depending on their needs. The difference will all boil down the the quality of the small business cybersecurity consulting you receive. A good consultant—usually a managed service IT provider—can help you understand where your greatest vulnerabilities lie in your systems.

With that said, there are certain areas every company should fortify. Here’s some of our top picks.

1. Multi-factor authentication

If your company relies on a single password to for signing in, you could be putting your company at risk. Passwords are easy to guess, easy to purchase on the dark web, and easy to steal. So, it’s important to have a password system that requires more than one signin. “Multi-factor” authentication requires a written password along with a secondary form of authentication, like a fingerprint. More commonly, it may ask for an additional sign on through a security app like Duo. You may even want to look into a biometric or passwordless signin system. Want to know more? Check out our guide on multi-factor authentication.

2. Cyber Risk Insurance

For many small businesses, the cost of a data breach could be enough to close their business.

Imagine a hack that cost you all your customer’s financial data, or exposed medical or banking information…Cyber Risk Insurance can mitigate many of those losses, paying you back for the business losses associated with cyber attacks. For most small busineses, this type of policy can cost a few thousand dollars a year. But it could save you millions.

However, it is important to notes that insurers have gotten very selective about the businesses they will cover. You will be required to have an array of cybersecurity tools and crisis management policies to qualify for coverage. We don’t sell cyber liability insurance directly. However, we work with you and your insurer to ensure you have the systems to qualify for coverage. This type of insurance is crucial, and should be part of any organization’s small business cybersecurity checklist.

3. Virtual Private Networks

A virtual private network is a critical piece of cybersecurity infrastructure. It should be part of your small business cybersecurity plan, whether you have remote workers, or not. What is a VPN? Put simply, it is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that protects your connection to and from a computer or network. Think of it this way: when your employee logs into their company computer and connects to the VPN, it creates an encrypted “tunnel” of access. Hackers cannot view the transmission data. Your employee’s original IP address is not visible, either. It’s as if you’ve plugged your computer directly into your company’s network, even if you’re very far away. VPNs are getting more sophisticated every day, allowing for employees to work from anywhere. If you don’t have one, the time to get it is now.

4. Staff Cybersecurity Training

DId you know that the majority of corporate cyber attacks originate from employees clicking on a bad link? Companies are being inundated right now with phishing campaigns designed to trick employees into clicking on malware infested links. Your employees may be your biggest threat. But does your small business cybersecurity plan include regular cybersecurity training and testing for your employees? As a managed service IT provider, we can set you up with many easy-to-administrate, off-the-shelf services that can teach your employees what they need to know. Here’s how.

5. Bring Your Own Device Policies

Most businesses now allow their employees to work on their personal cell phones and tablets. While this can save you money, it comes with a host of risks. It is difficult to monitor the cybersecurity environment on these devices. If you allow employees to use their own devices, there’s a host of issues you really need to address. We recommend addressing those in a bring your own device policy. We have a comprehensive guide on what to consider, before you write your policy, and some recent blogs on the subject, too. Check it out!

6. 24/7 Security Monitoring

Many small businesses hire an IT firm only for break/fix needs. If you’re doing this, you’re missing a key part of your small business cybersecurity strategy: continuous monitoring. The good news is, you don’t have to hire staff to watch your systems around the clock. Managed IT providers can offer you fully staffed enterprise grade, 24/7 monitoring systems. And best of all, they are available at a price that’s scalable for your business.

7. Cloud-Based Backup

If your secondary backup resides on your own servers, you could be putting your company’s data at risk. If there’s a natural disaster, or an attack on your servers, you will have lost everything. Disaster recovery plans are crucial in today’s business environment. Cloud based backup systems should, in most cases, be an integral part of your cybersecurity plan. The type of backup you’ll need will depend on the types of data you handle. Here’s where to learn more.

8. Protections for your VoIP Phone Systems

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems offer businesses a host of advantages and features. But because they’re carried on the internet, they’re just as vulnerable as your other online data. Through your phone systems, they can hitch a ride into your network, overall. Hackers can use it to listen in on calls, make charges on your accounts, impersonate executive text messages, and steal valuable business information. If you have a VoIP system, it should have stringent cybersecurity protections built in. Here’s our latest thinking about cybersecurity for VoIP systems, and what you need to do ensure your systems are properly protected.

Do You Need Small Business Cybersecurity Consulting? We Can Help!

If you’re in one of our services areas, we’d love to help you shore up your cybersecurity defenses. Contact us today for a free cybersecurity risk assessment and check out our downloadable cybersecurity checklist. We’d love to help!

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