Eight ways to secure your small business

Eight ways to secure your small business

Attacks are growing on small businesses

While the news media captures security breaches and ransomware attacks on large businesses regularly, attacks on the small businesses space are growing at a fast pace as well. According to a 2020 report from Fundera, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. And unfortunately the trend is increasing, as there was a 424% increase in SMB cyber breaches last year.

Best practices to secure your small business

1. Use a business class router and network based security technology

Business class wireless routers utilize a mix of technologies to prevent intruder access to your local network.  Unlike consumer grade wireless routers, business class routers will use a more hardened technology that will keep out bad actors trying to break into your networks.  And with today's cyber threats, the best business class routers should include a cloud-based URL filtering system.  Cloud-based systems can “filter” URL traffic and identify and block URL threats that usually occur undetected, helping prevent phishing threats and malware attacks. 

2. Educate your employees on cyber risks and what your security policies are to combat them

Consistent among security surveys is the need for employee education about the threats that employees can expect to see and the company security policies to combat them.  This may seem obvious but since over 50% of SMB security breaches were due to employee negligence, according to Ponemon Institute, this effort is critical to reducing your security vulnerabilities.

To accomplish this, document your security policies and provide security training for your employees.  Since the great majority of security violations are from social engineering and phishing attacks, a clear policy needs to be made about the steps and actions regarding any type of communication that requires the use of confidential login information. 

3. Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor, or also known as 2-factor authentication, is a method of providing a confirming action to the login of secure websites, in addition to a username and password.  This is where you login using the typical username and password but the system also requires an additional one-time unique code for verification.  The code can be texted to your phone, generated by an app on your phone, or generated by a piece of hardware (like a USB key or token).  While this approach can seem tiresome or overkill at times, it is a solid way to avoid security breaches both on your end and even on the end of the vendor.  Even if t your password has been guessed, stolen, or hacked, to log into your account will require the additional unique code for verification, something the hacker wouldn’t have.  It's definitely worth the extra effort.

4. Plan for mobile devices and BYOD (bring your own device)

With many businesses allowing BYOD, it is essential that companies have a documented BYOD policy that focuses on security precautions.  BYOD risk has now expanded from just phones to tablets, watches, and IOT devices.

One of the easiest actions to secure BYOD is to make sure employees keep their devices current. Keeping the device firmware up to date will ensure these devices have the latest security patches, which will help prevent breaches.  

5. Secure WiFi networks

It may seem obvious, but securing your wireless networks is critical.  Using a strong password and changing it on a regular basis is fundamental.  Make a schedule of regular password updates.  Keep your WiFi network devices current with the latest firmware.  Another approach to further secure WiFi is to use a hidden network SSID to help prevent outside WiFi snooping.  

6.Develop a work-from-home security policy

Employees who work from home pose a greater security risk than those working in the office due to the unknown security of their environment. Unrestricted family web access can bring significant risk of malware infection.  Utilize your corporate VPN connections and leverage cloud-based threat monitoring systems for your best cyber defense.  If your business has deployed cloud-based security monitoring, it will be available to other connections to your network through the VPN.

7. Have backup strategies and contingency plans

Maintaining an effective backup strategy requires documented steps and a regular backup schedule.  Using automated cloud-based backup solutions as well as a manual backup to a non networked device, like an external drive, is an excellent method to ensure your data integrity. This combination of non-networked and cloud-based data backups are solid assurances that you can recover your business data if you are attacked.

In combating today's threat matrix, a proper backup strategy will be just as important as any other security policy to ensure the ongoing viability of your business data.

8. What to do if you have been compromised by ransomware

With the significant increase of security threats, it is better to assume that it is not “if” your company will be attacked, but “when.”  Given this new reality, defining the steps of recovery in a step-by-step procedure will be critical to the timely restoration of your business systems and records.  Having the proper means to restore computers, servers and mobile devices in advance will save critical time during this recovery period.  You can assume that all computers will need to be restored to factory settings.  Servers also will need to be restored to the same.  And mobile devices may also need to be reset.  If you know the process to do these tasks, it will take time, but the task is not insurmountable.  And having your data backed up will allow you to restore your business to the state of the last backup.  It’s also a good practice to have a rehearsal with employees so if the worst happens, your staff will be familiar with the steps to recovery.

Cybersecurity protection from Okyo Garde

Following best practices to minimize your security vulnerability is important, but not all methods are foolproof and there’s plenty of opportunity for people to still make mistakes. If you protect your network with a comprehensive cybersecurity solution, you likely won’t need to resort to the backup plans and remediation methods mentioned earlier, because threats will be stopped before they ever compromise your network.

You can protect your home or business network with powerful, advanced, and automated 360-degree cybersecurity. Okyo Garde by Palo Alto Networks can protect your WiFi network from cyberattacks, including malware and phishing. Okyo Garde is built on industry-leading threat intelligence technology by Palo Alto networks that is trusted by 96% of Fortune 100 companies for their enterprise cybersecurity.

Between following best practices to create a culture of cybersecurity awareness and using a solution like Okyo Garde, you can stay ahead of cybersecurity attacks and secure your home or small business from outside threats. To learn more about Okyo Garde, visit www.Okyo.com

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information to help keep you protected. Our products may not secure you against every type of cyberthreat, crime, or fraud. Our goal is to increase awareness and raise attention to cyber safety. If you choose to use Okyo Garde, please review the complete terms during purchase and setup.

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