Keeping your organization safe from cyberattacks is becoming an ever more challenging feate in this age of internet connectivity, viruses and talented and innovative hackers. This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses as they typically don’t have budgets, personnel, knowledge or other resources necessary to defend themselves from these attacks.
Or don’t they? If you are an SMB, there are a number of ways you can protect your organization that don’t require a huge staff or budget. Here a six of them.
Educate your staff
It was once said “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” Businesses die too for lack of knowledge – knowledge of how to identify social engineering scheme. Network users receive emails with an enticing link, click the link and open the network to all manner of evil, often some form of ransomware. This kind of malware encrypts all the data on the network, locking users out until a ransom is paid. Sometimes after its paid, the key is still never delivered, leaving the business without all of its billing, client, business and other records, crippling the business.
According to this CNET article, ransomware shuts down one of every five businesses it strikes. The same article said as many as one-third of small to medium-sized businesses were hit by ransomware in 2016, largely due to network users falling for phishing schemes.
The moral is: educate your users on how to identify potentially dangerous emails and to refrain from clicking their links or downloading their attachments.
Increase awareness of potential threats
While educating your users does increase their awareness of threats arriving to their inboxes everyday, it's also good to have systems in place that monitor your network for any kind of security alerts. That way, if something does make a breach, you or your IT specialists are aware of the issue right way so they can identify the source and to begin damage any damage control if possible.
If you install a software agent on your network like we use with our clients, the agent will watch for any security issue and will send alerts if an issue arises.
Being aware of the problem is half the battle. If you can address that, you may be well on your way to solving the problem and preventing it in the future.
Related reading: Prevention is key to enhancing your business's cybersecurity
Keep your software up to date
Malicious actors are always coming up with new ways to exploit weaknesses in networks. Much of what they exploit are security holes in operating systems and other software. The good news though is just as fast as these security holes are manipulated and discovered, the software companies are making patches to seal them. Those patches require constant updating. That’s why you should always update your software and why we recommend you to restart your computer daily so it can obtain and install those updates, making your system less susceptible to cybersecurity threats.
Related reading: Microsoft to end Windows 7 support in less than one year
Implement two-factor authentication
Two-factor authorization requires network users logging on to your network to provide verification they are who they say they are. For example, let’s say they log in to a workstation, a dialogue box appears on their phone requiring them to accept the login attempt. This makes it much more difficult for an uninvited network guest to gain access to your network infrastructure.
Back up your data
Even with all of the protections and measures discussed up to this point, bad stuff still happens and sometimes bad people still make it into your cyber infrastructure. As good as they are, these security measures are all like doors, locks on doors and security systems on houses — they hugely increase your security, but if someone really wants to get in to your house, they’ll find a way in. So it is with networks.
That’s why you have a back-up data recovery (BDR) system and business continuity service in place. With these in place, no matter the destruction caused, even in the case of “acts of God,” fire, weather or other disaster events, your business can pick up where it left off and continue business almost as if nothing ever happened.
It’s like having a house broken into, the interior ransacked and all of your valuables stolen, But instead it almost doesn’t matter because you have an exact replica of your house, just as it was before the break-in, drop in the space of your damaged house and its business as usual. The beauty is, while you can’t really do that with houses, you can do that with business data and network functionality.
Shred your business documents
Up until now, we’ve been discussing cybersecurity, but here we’ll talk about security for your physical business documents. You probably have your records in file cabinets under lock and key. That’s great, but if you haven’t already thought about it, how do you dispose of documents bearing sensitive data — you know, like employee records with social security and health information, or perhaps privileged client information?
Never simply throw away documents bearing personal or private information. Always shred it. This ensures that you private information stays private and never falls into the hands of your competition or of identity thieves.
The security threats discussed above are not going to end anytime soon and sadly will only likely increase in frequency and severity. That’s why it’s so important to protect your business now.
As we discussed above, implementing these strategies doesn’t require the staff or budget of large organizations, they may only require a helping hand. RK Black is a provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses is that helping hand, here to help organizations such as yours.
What’s more, every one of the solutions mentioned above we can help you implement with our Managed IT Services offering and our mobile shredding services. If you would like any information on how to secure your business data as described above let us know. We’d be glad to help in any way we can.
About R.K. Black, Inc.
R.K. Black, Inc. is an Oklahoma City-based, family-owned leading provider of office technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Oklahoma and Kansas. We specialize in everything business technology from copier, fax, printer and scanner technology to document management, onsite paper shredding services, VoIP phone systems and managed IT support to video surveillance solutions.
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