What steps should small businesses be taking in 2023 to improve the cybersecurity of their organisation?
In today’s digital age, where even small businesses have data that is valuable to cyber criminals, the risk of cyber threat is no longer something that only big businesses and governments need to worry about. Small businesses need to be highly vigilant with their cybersecurity. According to one company that we spoke with – who provides IT support for Charities and other small businesses – the combination of fewer resources, and a false sense of security can often leave small businesses wide open for cyberattack. There are lots of different kinds of valuable data that cybercriminals can get from small businesses – from customer information, to company financial details, and even intellectual property. So, what kinds of security practices and solutions should small businesses be putting in place?
Staff Best Practices
The first thing to look at (and one of the most important) is enforcing security best practices among organisational staff. This is because even the most stringent security systems can be foiled by simple human error (or negligence). Some examples of staff best practices that should be enforced include:
- Password Management – the tendency to use simple passwords, and to reuse passwords, persists to this day, and it is one of the biggest security risks a business contends with. Ensuring every company account and device has a unique and strong password is essential. Nowadays, password management software can help businesses maintain good password practices.
- Safe Browsing – the internet can be a risky place for a business. From phishing schemes to malicious adverts (malvertising), and social engineering attacks, a business needs to be clear on the online risks. This is why staff should be trained in safe browsing practices.
- No Unauthorised BYOD – many small businesses allow their staff to bring their own device to use at work. However, when staff keep company data on a personal device that they take to with them, there is a risk of that data leaking out (or even being stolen). Therefore, BYOD policies should be backed up with strong device management policies.
Business Network Protection
With a business’ staff all on the same page about security best practices, small businesses should also make sure that their network security is up to scratch. Network security has been a particular issue in the last few years, when businesses whose network was designed for on-premise work suddenly had to stretch their perimeter to meet staff working from home. According to a company we spoke with that provides IT support Guildford businesses have been using for years, there are several essential network security measures that small businesses should implement.
- Firewalls – this likely comes as no surprise to most businesses, but firewalls are an absolute necessity. As they are responsible for managing web traffic in and out of a company’s network, it is especially important for businesses with a remote workforce. Using both external and internal firewalls can boost a business pre- and post-breach security. For businesses without a premise, there are also cloud-based firewalls that can be implemented.
- Cloud Environments – When it comes to remote businesses – and considering that hybrid and remote working is considered to be the future of business, they are worth acknowledging – it is essential to be using a business-appropriate cloud environment. This could be as simple of using cloud storage, and as complex as having a full cloud-based infrastructure. We spoke with a provider of business IT support London companies have been working with for over a decade, and they pointed out that the cloud can help business mitigate the amount of company data that is being sent unsecured over the internet (which can represent a major security risk).