Cybersecurity is a critical concern for businesses of all sizes, from budding startups to flourishing corporations. Even small businesses are not immune to the risks posed by cyber threats. Every year, cyberattacks cost small businesses billions of dollars, and the numbers continue to rise. 

However, we understand that as a small business owner, you may feel unsure about how to begin securing your company. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be complicated, implement a few cybersecurity tips for SMBs and take a step towards success. 

Train Your Employees About Cybersecurity

Did you know that 74% of all breaches happen because of human error or misuse?  

That’s why it’s crucial to educate your workforce about cybersecurity. Whether they are working remotely or on-site, educating them is necessary to reduce the risk of a costly attack. Teach your team to recognize red flags in incoming emails that indicate phishing attempts. Remind them to hover over links to preview the URL before clicking and to avoid downloading attachments from unknown sources. 

How To Spot Red Flags? 

  • Unknown sender? Strange greeting? Beware! Phishing alert 
  • Urgent tone? Threatening message? Don’t panic, it’s a scam 
  • Link looks weird? Attachment odd? Don’t click, don’t download 
  • Lots of typos? Bad grammar? Probably a fake email 

Carry Ongoing Security Awareness Training 

Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, so ongoing security awareness training is crucial. Regular refreshers can reinforce best practices, like strong password hygiene and spotting phishing attempts. Consider incorporating simulations like mock phishing emails to test employee knowledge and keep them sharp. By making cybersecurity awareness an ongoing conversation, you can create a culture of vigilance within your small business. 

Suggested Read: Top Cyber Security Threats for Small Businesses

Creating Strong Passwords for every account 

Encourage employees to use passwords that are long, complex, and unique for each account. Create a set of guidelines about setting strong passwords including rules about making them at least 12 characters long and mixing things up with uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider utilizing password management tools to generate and securely store passwords. Password managers help you create and store these unique passwords for all your accounts, keeping them safe and secure. 

Update Software Regularly 

Software updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.  Always ensure to update your operating systems, applications, and firmware regularly. Software updates are like patches for those weaknesses, making your defense stronger and harder to break through. These updates often fix security holes that hackers could exploit to get in and steal information or mess things up. So, updating regularly is like putting on a brand new, super-strong suit of armor every time – it makes it much harder for hackers to harm your business. 

Install Antivirus Software 

Viruses can infect your devices, steal information, or even slow them down. Just like you wouldn’t want a real virus in your office, you don’t want one in your computer. Antivirus software is your shield against these digital threats. It helps safeguard your systems from various cyber threats. It scans your devices for viruses and malware (like other bad programs) and gets rid of them before they can cause any trouble. 

Installing antivirus software is easy.  There are many reputable options available, so do some research to find one that fits your needs and budget.  Once it’s installed, it will usually run quietly in the background, keeping your computer safe and healthy. 

Back-Up Your Data 

Regularly back up your important data to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Set a typical practice of regularly duplicating critical files and information to secondary storage mediums, such as external hard drives or cloud-based platforms. It mitigates the risks associated with data loss due to unexpected events. In case of a cyber-attack or data breach, having backups ensures you can quickly recover without losing valuable information. 

Identifying suspicious links is critical in protecting your business against cyber threats. Focus on training employees to be cautious when clicking on links, especially in emails, instant messages, or social media posts. Always advise them to verify the legitimacy of URLs by checking for misspellings or unusual domain names. Also, ask them to hover over links to reveal their true destinations before clicking and refrain from accessing links from unfamiliar or unsolicited sources to assess the safety of links before opening them. 

Consider Managed Security Services 

Considering managed security services is a great step if you want your team to be free of complex security management. It significantly enhances your business’s cybersecurity posture as you get professional expertise and round-the-clock monitoring to detect and respond to cyber threats effectively. By outsourcing your security needs to a managed service provider, you gain access to advanced security technologies and specialized personnel without the burden of managing them in-house.  

The Benefits 

  • Access to advanced security technologies 
  • Round-the-clock monitoring and response 
  • Proactive threat detection and prevention 
  • Focus on core business activities 
  • Confidence in expert protection 

Employ Best Practices on Payment Cards 

Payment cards are a convenient way to conduct business transactions, but they also come with inherent security risks. Here are some best practices to keep your business and your customers’ information safe: 

  • Upgrade your payment terminals to accept EMV chip cards that offer enhanced security features compared to traditional magnetic stripe cards. 
  • Never store sensitive card information like CVV or full card numbers on your systems. 
  • For card-not-present transactions (phone or online orders), verify billing addresses and consider additional verification steps like CVV codes. 
  • Educate your employees about payment card security best practices, including identifying suspicious activity and proper handling of cardholder data. 

Automate Routine Tasks And Maintenance 

For any small business, automating routine tasks and maintenance helps save time and keep processes running smoothly. By automating multiple processes such as backups, software updates, security scans, and email filtering, you can focus on growing your business without worrying about day-to-day maintenance.  

Additionally, automating processes reduces labor costs associated with manual tasks and minimizes the need for additional resources wherein employees can dedicate more time to strategic initiatives, leading to increased productivity and innovation. Apart from streamlining compliance processes, ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements.  

How IT LAB Can Help  

Running a small business shouldn’t mean constant worry about cyberattacks. IT Lab’s Cybersecurity Services for SMBs provide a shield: we identify vulnerabilities, offer constant protection with advanced software, and dedicate a team for 24/7 monitoring and response. Contact IT LAB to stop managing security yourself! 

  • Over a decade of experience protecting businesses like yours 
  • Customized plans to fit your needs and budget 
  • Scalable solutions that grow with your business 

Contact us today and discuss how our managed cybersecurity services can protect your business from evolving cyber threats. 

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