As a small business owner, you have a lot to consider when it comes to technology. Unfortunately, cybersecurity probably isn’t something that’s squarely on your radar. But in today’s climate, it should be.
Identity and access management (IAM) ensures that the right people and job roles in your organization (identities) can access the tools they need to do their jobs. Identity management and access systems enable your organization to manage employee apps without logging into each app as an administrator.
Why Cybersecurity Matters in 2022
Rewind 10 or 15 years, and the vast majority of cyber attacks were aimed at large organizations, Fortune 500 companies, banks, and financial institutions. Hackers basically looked for the biggest targets they could find and then used all of their energy and resources to infiltrate them. Sometimes it worked, and a lot of times it didn’t.
While there are still cybercriminals that target big businesses, many hackers have wisened up to the fact that these large corporations invest heavily in cybersecurity with a view to preventing cyber attacks that may come their way. So, rather than shoot big and miss, today’s hackers look for easier targets – the low-hanging fruit, if you will. This leads them to small businesses.
Criminals know that small business owners don’t pay enough attention to cybersecurity. This makes it easy for them to infiltrate and steal valuable data and information without much effort.
Today, 43 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses. Just last year, there was a 424 percent increase in new small business cyber breaches. And the costs are high! Because of the expense, 60 percent of businesses are forced to shut down within six months of an attack.
3 Cybersecurity Tips
To stand any chance of fighting off cyber attacks and keeping your business protected, you must invest in cybersecurity. Here are several helpful tips:
- Use the Right Tech
It all starts with having the right technology. And while there’s no single piece of software that’s going to protect your entire business, there are a variety of unique solutions that you can layer together in a tech stack to blanket yourself with protection. Here are a few to consider:
- VPN. A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, allows you to mask your IP address when working on public WiFi or networks that could possibly be exposed. It’s good to use a VPN anytime you’re accessing sensitive information. And in today’s remote work environment, every employee should have their devices equipped with a VPN as a standard feature.
- Anti-virus protection and firewalls. While a VPN can keep you out of harm’s way in many situations, there’s always the threat of clicking a bad link or being exposed to a virus. Antivirus software and firewalls are designed to neutralize these threats before they compromise your device and/or files.
- Multi-factor authentication. Many hackers still prefer the classic method of compromising login details and using stolen or cracked passwords. You can make this a lot more difficult on cyber criminals by requiring multi-factor authentication (also known as two-factor authentication).
There are plenty of other applications and security solutions you’ll want to have in place, but this at least gives you an idea of some of the basics. If you use a VPN, anti-virus protection, firewalls, and multi-factor authentication, you’ll be a more difficult target than 90 percent of other small businesses.
- Hire a Managed IT Service
Unless you have the internal resources to manage all of your own IT, you should probably be outsourcing this aspect of your business to a local partner. If you’re in New York City, for example, find managed IT services in NYC. If you’re in Phoenix, look for a company in Phoenix, and so on.
A managed IT service streamlines all of the various components of your business-critical technology. This enhances your cybersecurity and sets you up for success.
- Invest in Your Employees
Finally, don’t forget about your human firewall. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. If your employees don’t have strong security fundamentals built into their daily habits, you will be compromised. This is where thorough and ongoing security training becomes extremely important.
For best results, you should have some security awareness training during the employee onboarding process. But make sure you’re also investing in regular quarterly training to keep your staff abreast with new developments and evolving threats.
Adding it All Up
Don’t underestimate the importance of protecting your business. Yes, you might be a small fish in a big pond. But today’s hackers are becoming much more skilled at finding and targeting tiny fishes. If you don’t have a plan to protect yourself, you will become a victim sooner rather than later.