9 Cybersecurity practices that a small business must adopt

Many companies are accelerating their shifts toward digital-first models—at warp speed.

While it started as a compulsion because of #COVID-19, Digital adoption and the use of technology have proved to be powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency.

As good safety and security practices are important for brick-and-mortar businesses, they are equally important for keeping up with business safety and client data and trust.

Some steps if taken go a long way in creating robust cybersecurity for the business. These are the 9 Cybersecurity practices that a small business must adopt:

1.      Secure information, computers, and protect networks from cyber attacks

Install the latest security software, web browsers, and operating systems as they are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Scan devices for viruses and malware etc. periodically.

 2.      Educate employees about cyber safety practices

Sanitize employees on basic security practices and policies such as adopting practices such as requiring strong passwords and keeping client data secure. Implement strict Internet use guidelines with penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies.  

3.      Password and authentication

Mandate employees to use unique passwords and change passwords periodically. Wherever possible, implement multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry, especially when handling sensitive data.

4.      Implement firewall security for your internet connection

A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system’s firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If your team members are working remotely or from home, ensure that they adopt best practices and use a strong firewall and VPN’s etc. while working.

5.      Create a robust mobile device action plan

Accessing business information and client data on mobile devices can create substantial security and management challenges.  Wherever possible, mandate your team members to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install appropriate security apps. Avoid using mobile devices on public networks wherever possible.

Lastly, create a strong reporting mechanism for any network or device compromise.

6.      Create regular backups

Create regular backups of critical business data on encrypted hard drives and cloud services. Use privacy regulation-compliant services and practices while saving and storing personal and client data.

7.      Restrict physical access to your business devices and networks

Prohibit unauthorized user access to your business networks and devices. Create user accounts for team members with varying access levels and keeps a log of all activities of users on such business devices, including any uploads and downloads. Prohibit the use of external storage devices on business networks and devices without special permissions for limited usage. Restrict employee’s privileges to install apps and software on business devices and computers, as well as the type of websites that could be accessed on such devices.

8.      Secure your business Wi-Fi network

Change the Default Router Login Information and change the network name as the default names and passwords are publicly available or easily predictable. Strong passwords and passphrases are at least 15 characters long and are a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. This goes double for the admin username and password that you need to log into the router to set the password.  You can go a step further and update your router’s firmware and software. Lastly, install Wi-Fi in a secure location on your business premises to prevent any unauthorized physical access to the device.

9.      Create a breach protocol strategy

Irrespective of the size of the business, it is good to have a breach protocol strategy which will vary depending upon the business size, nature, and type of data that it handles. Anyhow, a few things are worth considering while creating such a strategy:

·      Contain the breach

·      Maintain an optimum insurance policy

·      Create a backup team for such events

·      Assess the level of damage before reporting

Please feel free to connect with us to understand how you can adopt the best cybersecurity practices for your business requirements. 

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