Why Cybersecurity Should Be One of Your Top Priorities

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.

Work with a managed IT services provider. They can perform a risk assessment, identify vulnerabilities, and help you prepare what’s known as a disaster recovery plan.

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.