You’ve read the headlines. You’re aware that cyberattacks and their varied destructive powers are becoming increasingly rampant. Perhaps you even understand that, as a business owner, you’ve got a red, hot target on your back.
But let’s be frank – you’ve got bills to pay, staff to support, clients to please, and partnerships to develop. Cybersecurity doesn’t drive growth, nor does it bring in a profit. So, why make it one of your top priorities?
Small businesses are hot targets
Here’s something to think about: 58 percent of cyberattacks launched in 2018 targeted businesses with less than 250 employees. More than half. Almost three out of five.
Small- and medium-sized businesses are favored by attackers. Why? Because they are data-rich, but, unlike larger organizations, lack robust security measures. In short, small businesses are easy targets. They are vulnerable.
Cyberattacks can prove fatal
We’ve established that your business is a target. But what would happen if, say, you did suffer a malware infection or security breach? Here are some of the possibilities:
- You close your doors for good. Around 60 percent of small businesses shut down less than six months following a cyberattack.
- You suffer significant downtime. This impacts your reputation, client satisfaction, and turnover.
- Your clients and customers no longer trust your business. You’ve put their data at risk.
- You lose some or all of your data. This might include financial records, customer information, marketing assets, login information, employee contracts, and more.
- You give your competitors an opportunity to take over.
With these factors in mind, it’s time to shift the way you think about cybersecurity. Security measures don’t directly drive a profit – in fact, they are an investment. But they protect your business, your credibility, your capacity to earn money.
And that’s something worth prioritizing.
Getting started with cybersecurity
Developing a cybersecurity strategy doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive – especially if you decide to work with an IT services provider. Here are a few ways you can get started.
Establish your defenses
Everyday habits are critical in protecting your company against cyber threats.
- Use strong, unique passwords. This sounds simple enough, but choosing long, random passwords is key to any risk mitigation strategy.
- Encrypt your data. To make sense of encrypted information, a key is required. In the event your network is infiltrated, without the key, your business data would be worthless to the hacker.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) for remote access. If you or your team work on-the-go, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, such as the network at your local coffee shop or in the airport. Public networks aren’t secure.
- Invest in staff training. Educate your employees on the cybersecurity basics: for example, how to identify phishing emails, what to do if their device becomes infected with ransomware, and how to share login credentials safely.
Prepare for the worst-case scenario
Hackers are not stupid, and their means of gaining access to business networks are becoming more sophisticated. Even with security measures in place, a breach is possible. Don’t let a cyber attack be a death sentence – plan for the worst.
A disaster recovery plan is a formalized document that outlines the step-by-step process you and your staff should follow after a breach to ensure business continuity. The plan should include things like how to recover lost data, operations to prioritize, critical login information, team member roles, and more.