10 Smart Cybersecurity Tips For Small Businesses – A Checklist


Every business needs to emphasize its cybersecurity. Cyberattacks have become increasingly common with more bad actors out there trying to target businesses of all sizes. There are several things you can do to strengthen your defenses against a cyberattack. Here are some of the best ways to enhance your defenses against a cyberattack without spending too much.

1. Keep Everything Updated

One of the most important things you need to do daily would be to keep everything fully updated. You need to keep everything updated from your operating system (OS) to the individual software you have on your computer or device. A lot of people assume their devices automatically update. Sometimes, you need to manually do it. It’s always a good idea to have auto-update turned on, but you still want to check manually from time to time.

There are a lot of things that you will need to update manually anyways. Some of these things may include your router’s firmware, cloud security camera applications, and more. A software update is critical because it includes security patches. Security patches are essential to protecting against cyber issues. When you don’t patch everything, not only is the device itself vulnerable, but anything on the network becomes vulnerable with it. This is especially true if it’s something as critical to your network as your router.

2. Train Everyone

You are only as strong as your weakest link. This is true with cybersecurity. CNBC did a study and it found that employee negligence was the primary cause for the majority of data breaches within a company. As many as 47% of businesses ended up pointing towards human error as the primary reason for a data breach being successful. Because of this, it’s imperative to conduct regular training for your employees. You need to train them what to do and what to avoid doing to best protect the business and everyone in it.

3. Strong Passwords and Two-Factor

One of the main vulnerabilities is having a weak password. Passwords are inherently vulnerable. After all, it can be nearly impossible to remember a strong password. As a result, a lot of people end up falling into the trap of using their children’s names, pets’ names, and various other things that can be socially engineered. A strong password should have a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Likewise, everyone’s account should use a unique password. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to use unique passwords while still remembering them. This is why it’s necessary to use a password manager. A password manager can take the difficulty out of using unique passwords for all of your accounts. You can easily generate a nearly impossible password to brute force and you don’t even need to memorize it. Every business should be using two-factor authentication now too. This ensures that the right person is accessing the account because they will need another form of authentication whether it be a device, phone number, or app.

4. Risk Assessments

A risk assessment is something that every business needs to conduct. While you might assume it’s relegated to larger businesses, that’s certainly not the case. Every business small, medium, and large should be incorporating risk assessments into their cybersecurity practices. Incorporating XDR will help to detect threats before they happen.

A risk assessment is something you see a lot of larger organizations doing regularly. Every business needs to figure out what its biggest vulnerabilities are. You need to look at things and envision some “what if” scenarios. You want to figure out where you are most vulnerable and what’s the most likely way you could be attacked. This is especially true if you are storing data in the cloud. If you are leveraging a cloud provider, you could always lean on your cloud storage provider to help perform a comprehensive risk assessment. They can help you identify the different ways you can improve your cybersecurity.

5. Utilize a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a must for any business. A VPN is especially important when you are having employees work from home. What makes a VPN so crucial? A VPN enables an employee to effectively tap into the company’s internal network from afar. They can do so from their home or while they are traveling or even at a public WiFi hotspot. However, it allows them to do so securely. This is essential for any employee that works remotely because they need to access corporate servers.

A VPN can also help to mitigate the impact of a cyberattack. How does it do this? Well, a VPN can effectively encrypt the data that’s tunneled through it. Because of this, it can serve as an even greater measure of security when it comes to working anywhere. The data is always encrypted to ensure that the employee cannot be subjected to a man-in-the-middle attack.

6. Routinely Back Up Files

You need to be backing up files as often as possible. While backing up your files may seem like an old-school method for protecting your data, it’s mandatory. It’s highly relevant even in the digital age where seemingly everyone is using cloud storage providers. A lot of small businesses are still evaluating the decision of whether or not to trust Microsoft’s Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services when it comes to their data according to the National Cybersecurity Alliance. Having backed-up data offline is always a good idea because it can help minimize the risk of losing all of your data at once. It can also help to provide you with good cost savings over the long haul.

7. Install Antivirus Software

It’s generally a good idea to install and use reputable antivirus software on your systems. There are more viruses than ever before. This is especially true if you are using devices that run Windows operating system. You want to ensure you have a reputable antivirus solution installed on every machine on your network. This includes both corporate-owned machines and devices and personal devices that access the same network or that hold sensitive company data. You need to ensure that the antivirus software is routinely updated too.

8. Secure The Wi-Fi and Internet

Every business needs to do things to secure its internet. If you have a WiFi network, you will need to ensure that you do what it takes to secure it. Firstly, you want to change the default admin name and password. This is one of the main ways a lot of bad actors break into networks. You wouldn’t believe how many leave this as the default name and password that comes with the router. Ideally, you want to change the WiFi name to something that is generic and that doesn’t say the business name in it to limit the chances of hacking.

From there, you want to ensure that you are using the strongest encryption that your router supports. For a lot of consumer-grade routers, that means WPA2. However, newer routers are introducing WPA3. This is the strongest encryption you can choose per the Wi-Fi Alliance. You also want to ensure that only secured and updated devices are allowed to access the network. A compromised device can cause big problems.

9. Use Best Practices

Every business relies on its card processors and banks to ensure that there are anti-fraud measures in place and that they are being adhered to. Not only do you want to ensure that you are handling your customer’s payment information with utmost security, but you also want to ensure that you are setting protocol standards as high as possible. This means using the strongest level of encryption at WPA3. Retailers are not allowed to process any sort of payment data using older protocols such as Wired Equivalent Privacy.

10. Limit Physical Access

You need to keep your premises safe too. Try to keep any unauthorized people aware of your company’s devices. Any access to these devices can compromise your security. A good way to ensure that unauthorized access doesn’t occur is by having every employee use password or biometric protection. Also, you can enable GPS-tracking and remote recovery to all of the devices that your company uses in case it gets stolen or lost.


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