How to Keep Your Small Business Safe from Cybersecurity Threats: Seven Cybersecurity Strategies for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you know that protecting your company's data is crucial. However, with limited resources, it can be difficult to know where to start. The good news is there are steps that every small business can take to reduce exposure and improve protection. Vigilance is, of course, always the first step. A commitment to best practices and a 24/7 approach is essential. After all, hackers never sleep.
Further, as data breaches and cyber-attacks make headlines with increasing frequency, it's no surprise that businesses are starting to invest more in cybersecurity insurance. However, what may be surprising is just how much rates have increased, and how difficult it is to find coverage. In this blog post, we'll look at some of the reasons why cybersecurity insurance is becoming more expensive and harder to acquire. But first, let's look at three primary reasons why cybersecurity insurance is becoming increasingly more difficult to purchase.
The Cost of Cybercrime is Rising!
One of the main reasons why cybersecurity insurance is becoming more expensive is because the costs associated with cybercrime are on the rise. Demand for insurance protection is also on the rise, according to the US Government Accounting Office 2021 report, which also cites lower coverage trends and greater difficulty in meeting the requirements for insurance policy compliance. Looking back over the past few years, a report from Juniper Research found that the cost of data breaches will reach $2.1 trillion by 2019, up from $600 billion in 2017. With numbers like these, it's no wonder that insurers are starting to rethink their policies.
Our motto: Adopt best practices and policies and deploy latest generation technology to minimize risk and maximize protection. Meeting and proving the insurance provider’s cybersecurity insurance requirements and compliance has its own challenges and vigilance. We can help you with both priorities.
More Regulatory Pressure to Improve Cybersecurity
Another factor that is driving up the cost of cybersecurity insurance is increased regulatory pressure on businesses to improve their cybersecurity practices. In particular, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union has put businesses on notice that they need to take steps to protect customer data or face major financial penalties. As a result, many businesses are starting to see cybersecurity insurance as a necessity rather than a luxury.
Less Capacity for Insurers to Cover Losses
One final reason why cybersecurity insurance rates are rising is that there is less capacity for insurers to cover losses. This is due to several factors, including an increase in the number and size of data breaches, as well as the fact that many existing policies have low limits and exclusions for certain types of losses. As a result, insurers are forced to either raise rates or withdraw from the market altogether. Cybersecurity insurance may be out of reach for your company, yet your IT strategy and policies can still provide maximum protection and minimize risk.
Here are seven key strategies that your small business can adopt to improve cybersecurity protection:
1. Educate your employees about cybersecurity threats and best practices.
Your employees are your first line of defense against cybersecurity attacks. By educating them about the latest threats and teaching them best practices, you can help reduce the risk of a successful attack. Consider implementing a monitoring program for end-user training and automated rapid response to breaches. Also, avoid opening unknown emails or clicking on links, and be aware of social engineering scams. Vigilance on social media, when accessed from a corporate device such as a remote worker system or company cell phone, will also minimize risk. Cyber-creeps, as we call them, are getting smarter and sneakier every day.
2. Keep your OS and application software up to date.
Old software can be a hacker's gateway to your system. Exploiting flaws in outdated software is one of the easiest ways for hackers to get access to your system. You may help close any potential holes in your defenses by keeping all of your programs up to date.
3. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
Strong passwords are essential for keeping your accounts safe. In addition, using two-factor authentication can add an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a code from a smartphone app, before allowing access to an account.
4. Encrypt all sensitive data.
Encrypting data helps protect it from being accessed by unauthorized individuals. This is especially important for sensitive data, such as customer credit card information or employee Social Security numbers.
5. Implement a comprehensive backup solution.
It's true now more than ever; in today's business world, data is everything. Companies like yours rely on data to make critical business decisions, track metrics and progress, and assess business and network performance. However, data assets can be very difficult to protect in today's IT world. Small businesses, in particular, may not have the resources or expertise to effectively secure their data. Cloud services can provide a cost-effective and convenient solution for small businesses wanting to protect their data. Cloud providers offer a variety of security features, including encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection. In addition, cloud services are constantly evolving to stay ahead of the latest threats. By entrusting their data to a cloud service provider, small businesses can rest assured that their data is safe from harm.
In the event of a ransomware attack or other type of data loss, having a comprehensive backup solution in place can help you quickly recover lost data and get your business back up and running.
6. Invest in the best IT security tools and services.
You have many options and the choices can be dizzying. There are many different security tools and services available that can help small businesses improve their cybersecurity posture. Some examples include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and malware protection software. By investing in these tools, small businesses can better protect their systems and data from attacks.
7. Work with a proven cybersecurity professional.
Working with a cybersecurity professional can be a valuable investment for small businesses. Cybersecurity professionals can help you identify potential vulnerabilities in your system and recommend steps to mitigate them. They can also provide guidance to help make the best possible decisions.
Bonus Strategy: Monitor activity on your network 24/7.
Monitoring your network for suspicious activity can help you identify potential threats early and take steps to mitigate them before they cause damage to your systems or data breach occurrences. In order to effectively monitor your network, you need to have a system in place that can quickly and accurately identify any malicious or unauthorized activity. Aside from performance monitoring for optimization, this system should include security monitoring and an ever-vigilant mindset by all employees and the leadership team:
- Protection of your systems from unauthorized access
- Intrusion detection software to detect any suspicious activity on your network
- A malware protection solution to protect your systems from malware attacks
By implementing these security measures, you can help protect your business from cybercrime and ensure the safety of your data.
Businesses today are under more pressure than ever before to protect themselves against cyberattacks and data breaches. As a result, the cost of cybersecurity insurance is rising rapidly. While this may be a cause for concern for businesses, it's important to remember that investing in comprehensive coverage can help mitigate the financial impact of a successful attack. Don't let limited resources hold you back from protecting your small business from cybersecurity threats. There are many things you can do to improve your defenses without breaking the bank. By adopting these seven strategies, you can help improve your cybersecurity protection and create a more secure environment for your small business.
We are here for you, but this is a process that starts with you. Let's get your business protected.
CTS Services, Inc., is a full-service IT support company that specializes in cybersecurity protection for small businesses in all industries. Call us at 508-528-7720 or visit www.ctsservices.com to request a free 28-point network evaluation and technology review.
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.