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The Beginners Guide to Cyber Security for Small Businesses

If you fall into the bracket of being a small business owner, being able to protect your digital assets is not just good practice but also vital in order to protect and grow your business. It goes without saying but many small businesses are targeted by cybercriminals. These cybercriminals often identify smaller businesses as lacking in proven cyber security defenses when compared to other larger organisations, making them more likely to be more vulnerable to different forms of attack.  

In our latest blog article, we will provide you with a beginner's guide to cyber security for small businesses. 

So, what are the biggest cyber security threats to small businesses right now? 

Dated Software 

Not updating or patching up software can leave small businesses open to attack by cybercriminals. 

No Employee Training 

A lack of any form of cyber security awareness training for employees can mean that more risks are taken when it comes to opening up malicious links or downloading heavily bugged attachments. 

Poor Password Choices 

The use of inappropriate password practices in the business such as weak passwords or using the same password across all of your accounts can make it easier for cybercriminals to access your systems as well as potentially sensitive data. 

Lack of Knowledge in Cyber Security 

In order to put together an effective cyber security strategy for a business, you need people that know what they are talking about. Usually, small businesses can’t afford to bring these specialists in to develop their cyber security strategy, therefore potentially cut corners leading them to become more susceptible to cyber-attacks. 

So, what can you do to improve the overall cyber security in your business? 

Enforce Password Policies Across Your Business 

By choosing to put into place rules around strong passwords, regular changes as well as any other security related best practices, small businesses are able to try and mitigate the risks around password-related cyberattacks, keep sensitive data secure and showcase to their partners and customers how committed the business is to protecting their data. 

The best approach to take around passwords is to create a strong password that is over 12 characters long and contains a combination of both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers as well as symbols. The harder a password is to break, the less likely a full-on cyber-attack will succeed. 

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) 

You will find that MFA as it’s known is a security measure that requires at least two forms of proof around an individual’s identity to enable them to be able to access their work accounts. In most cases, it usually consists of a combination of the following: 

  • A biometric such as a fingerprint or retina scan. 
  • A token given via a smartcard, physical token or authenticator app. 
  • A normal password, PIN or secret question along with a secret answer. 

It is of the utmost importance to make sure that you get MFA implemented as soon as you can. This will give your business an extra layer of security. 

Train your Employees around Cyber Awareness Communications 

It is vital that you educate your employees about the latest cyber security best practices to equip them with the knowledge and expertise to be able to spot and take action against any form of cyber-attack or threat. This will help to significantly reduce the risk of data breaches happening, cyber-attacks taking place as well as any other form of cyber security incident. The truth is investing in your future by educating employees and promoting a security-first culture will enable small businesses to dramatically improve their cyber security standing. 

Make sure Identity and Access Management Practices (IAM) are in place 

Before the use of remote working became a proper thing, company resources used to be fully protected behind a firewall. However, this has dramatically changed as most employees need fast & secure access no matter whether they are working on-site or at home. This is where the use of IAM can help resolve this problem. 

For those that don’t know, IAM is a great tool for small businesses in order to limit the chances of cyber-attacks occurring as it gives you complete control over which users have access, improves authentication and gives a better understanding of user activities. You are able to restrict both sensitive data and functions to only certain people that need to use them. 

In Summary 

In an age where technology is king, small businesses could scrimp on their cyber security efforts. However, being proactive in safeguarding your digital assets can help to ensure that your business doesn’t have to deal with the fallout if a cyber-attack succeeds. By taking into account the level of risk, training your employees, investing in the right tools and keeping a watchful eye on any strange or dodgy behaviour, you can help to reduce any potential weaknesses and help to ensure that your business will be around for many years to come.  

Next Steps? 

Advantage are a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider who can deliver a whole host of different cyber security related services for your business. As well as this, we are also able to get your business Cyber Security certified. To find out more please reach out to our team of experts now for more information. 

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