Cybersecurity will continue to be a major priority for small businesses in this new year, and we consistently urge our clients to be vigilant about network security throughout the year.
As the threat of cybercrime continues to grow, small business owners must take active steps to protect their networks from potential damage. With malicious actors constantly attempting to steal information or disrupt operations, it is important for businesses to implement secure strategies that will keep their data and networks safe.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the security measures that all small businesses should be aware of and how they can quickly put these protection strategies in place. By taking the proper measures to address cybersecurity threats and protecting your business from potential risks, you are investing in the security of the company, its data, and its customers. Cybersecurity is a continuous process that requires regular maintenance to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
Three important strategies must be adopted, and they may very well impact your cybersecurity insurance. In this area, we always point to the insurance policy requirements and work to recommend and deploy the optimal IT security solution to meet those requirements, which will require proof of deployment should a disaster strike.
According to a recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, the top three cybersecurity threats are web application attacks, phishing, and ransomware. The National Cyber Security Alliance also lists these threats in their 2018 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-sized Businesses report. Of course, other threats persist, including cloud security, data breaches, storage, and more.
Although many insider threats are unintentional, they still pose a grave risk to an organization's safety. In fact, close to 95% of cybersecurity breaches have been attributed to human errors! With their unparalleled access and knowledge of an organization’s data and resources, it is easy to understand why Chief Security Officers, CEOs and IT Directors prioritize the minimization of these potential dangers when developing their corporate security plans. It is essential that the C-suite also embrace the truth that cybersecurity awareness and, as we say at CTS Services, cyber-vigilance begins at the top. Any awareness training programs are only as good as the senior management support and follow recommended best practices.
As mentioned above, small business owners should be wary of three of the most vulnerable cybersecurity threats: phishing attacks, ransomware, and data breaches. Phishing attacks involve sending emails or other forms of communication to try and get personal information from unsuspecting people. Ransomware acts as a virus that encrypts a user's files and demands a ransom in order to unlock them. And lastly, data breaches occur when sensitive data is illegally accessed and stolen from computers or networks. All these threats can have a significant financial impact on small businesses if not addressed properly.
Companies that fail to implement the security measures discussed above are at an increased risk of data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage. Hackers can easily bypass weak or outdated security protocols and gain access to valuable information such as customer data and payment information. Additionally, any disruption of services resulting from successful cyberattacks can lead to a loss of productivity and customers. Furthermore, inadequate cybersecurity practices can also lead to legal ramifications such as fines issued by regulatory bodies.
At CTS Services, we stress the point that small business owners should take a proactive approach to protect their networks from the three aforementioned cybersecurity threats. Your IT department should take the following steps to implement the security recommendations mentioned above, and we are here to help implement any aspect of your security protection plans:
1. Regularly conduct malware scans on all systems and applications. This is accomplished by using anti-virus and anti-spyware software to detect any malicious software on your device or network. This can be automated and scheduled using managed services tools
2. Regularly update security software and patches. To actively manage this, look into setting up a patch management program to ensure all systems are kept up-to-date.
3. Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for secure access. This adds an extra layer of security by making it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your systems. To implement MFA as a security measure, you must use two or more mechanisms (e.g. email, SMS/text, physical token) to verify a user’s identity.
4. Educate employees on identifying suspicious emails to prevent accidental or malicious access to your company network. Cybersecurity awareness training is implemented to teach employees how to spot and avoid suspicious emails/attachments and other potential threats. Ideally, when properly implemented it should include exercises and real-world scenarios that test the knowledge of employees.
5. Develop a clear incident response plan that outlines how to respond to any breach or attack attempts. If a threat is detected, it’s important to have an emergency response plan in place so that appropriate action can be taken quickly. This includes isolating any infected systems and communicating with relevant stakeholders, such as customers, to assess the impact and inform them of the situation.
6. Invest in data backup solutions such as cloud storage or an offsite backup system for essential files and documents. It's important to test your backup solutions regularly to ensure that it is properly working and restorable if needed.
7. Utilize managed IT and cloud computing services offered by third-party vendors for added protection of data assets, as well as round-the-clock monitoring of system activity for potential threats or anomalies. Utilize a secure firewall and encryption technology to ensure that data is kept safe from unauthorized access.
By implementing these security measures, small businesses can create a secure environment for their employees and customers while minimizing the risks associated with cyber threats. IT management should also stay abreast of emerging trends in cybersecurity so that they can better identify potential threats before they become an issue. Of course, we can advise on this and help put the best-managed services tools in place to keep your business safe and secure.
At CTS Services, we understand the importance of secure networks for small businesses and are committed to helping them protect their data from cyber threats. We provide our clients with a range of services designed to keep their networks safe, secure and up-to-date in terms of security protocols. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you protect your business from today’s cybersecurity threats.
Visit www.ctsservices.com or call us at 508-528-7720 to schedule a technology review or to explore how we can help you improve the integrity of your network and protect your company assets.
Our blog posts are written by several members of our team. Please contact us if a particular post or topic is of further interest. We're here to help keep your business up and running.