Preparing your business for future cyber threats means reflecting on the cyber events of 2022. These can provide valuable insights to help guide your strategy decisions and secure your operations in 2023 and beyond.
The ongoing digitization of society, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, behavioral changes due to the global pandemic, and political instability are key factors why cybercrime will cost $10.5 trillion by 2025.
For instance, technology companies are primary targets of intellectual property theft; while non-tech companies are of financial theft. Knowing this, technology companies must seriously strengthen their IP protection while non-tech enterprises must adopt stricter security regulations for money transactions.
The following tips can help your small business be ready for a cyberattack in 2023 and beyond.
Regular updating of your software and passwords
The unpleasant truth is that small businesses continue to undervalue the need for password security. Getting employees to practice better password hygiene remains the biggest obstacle. According to a 2019 study by Google, over 52% of users admit to reusing passwords and 13% admit that they are using one password across all accounts.
Regular password updates prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to sensitive data. Here are some good password hygiene:
- Use disposable emails – when you are asked to register and you know that it’s only for single use, you better use temporary emails such as Temp-Mail or Email on Deck. Here, you create an account without worrying much about using complicated passwords. Also, you avoid receiving endless unsolicited emails.
- Use passphrases – Four- or five-character character passwords are typically weak, which is why many people insist on 12-character passwords. The issue is that nobody likes having to remember lengthy, complex passwords. Password phrases come in handy here.
- Two-factor Authentication – minimizes the chances of being hacked by requiring the user, after entering the password, to authenticate using a text, email, biometric, token, or an authenticator app.
Regular backup of your data
As the cloud is becoming more popular for business survival, so are regular data back-ups. The cloud enables businesses, even the small and young ones (startups), to put up content for worldwide access and to generate a good number of followers. The cloud includes cloud hosting which basically means putting your content on another person’s computer. However, the cloud can be subject to “cloud bursts” such as outages, shutdowns, cybersecurity attacks, or even lightning strikes. One blogger who built her website for almost a decade, lost her website when the hosting provider shut down in November 2022.
Without regular backup, your data is vulnerable to “cloud bursts”, loss, or theft which are extremely harmful to your company. Your data may be promptly restored when a catastrophic event thanks to routine backups. It lessens the impact of a cyber assault and lowers the chance of long-term business disruptions. Regular data backups can also assist you in staying compliant with data privacy laws. Therefore, in order to safeguard your business, you must have a reliable data backup strategy.
Robust anti-virus software
Cyberattacks on small business IT systems soared to unprecedented levels when hybrid work began to rise, hence the need for robust anti-virus software. As more employees worked in coffee shops and airports and used public WiFis, company systems were suddenly exposed to the public, increasing the chance of encountering opportunistic cybercriminals that exploit vulnerabilities. The top dangers of using public wifi include:
- lacking encryption for file sharing;
- weak security may expose the company to snooping; and
- some may connect to “rogue networks” designed to implant malware into your system.
Small businesses are easy targets of cybercriminals because they might not have the same resources as larger firms. However, this does not imply that SME owners should take their cyber security for granted but to be proactive in taking action to safeguard their companies from any online dangers.
A reliable layer of defense can be provided by robust antivirus software. But it must be carefully chosen because you may only end up spending more than you need. Before making an investment, consider getting an expert IT security assessment.
Disaster recovery plan
The cybersecurity strategy of a small organization must include disaster recovery. Cyber attacks are more common than ever and can have severe effects on a small organization, including the theft of confidential information, downtime, and financial loss. These risks can be reduced, and a solid disaster recovery strategy can guarantee that the company is ready for an attack. A risk assessment to detect potential threats, regular backups of important data, and testing processes to confirm the disaster recovery plan’s effectiveness should all be part of this plan. To guarantee that their disaster recovery plan remains effective in the face of evolving threats and technologies, companies should also periodically evaluate and update it. Small firms can safeguard themselves by spending money on an extensive catastrophe recovery strategy.
Take control of your business’s cybersecurity and schedule a meeting with us today to discuss how to prepare your small business against a cyber