Cybersecurity isn’t just for big companies. While small businesses may not be as tempting targets for cybercriminals, they have comparatively more to lose from a data breach. In light of this risk, small business security is essential.
In 2019, 43% of online attacks targeted smaller companies. More worryingly, these incidents cost $200,000 on average, causing 60% of victims to go out of business within six months of the attack. Small business cybersecurity must improve, but many companies may not pursue it over concerns about its costs.
While advanced security solutions can be expensive, many low-cost options can bring significant improvements. Here are five such solutions for small businesses.
1. Employee Training
Perhaps the most crucial small business security improvement is also the most affordable. Training employees to follow best security practices costs nothing apart from time, yet it’s an essential step. A security system is only as effective as its users are knowledgeable, so all workers should know how to stay safe.
According to one study, inappropriate IT resource use affected 50% of SMBs in 2019, more than any other threat. When workers don’t know proper security steps such as using strong passwords or avoiding public Wi-Fi, they can introduce unnecessary risks. Thorough training helps prevent these potentially damaging errors.
2. Restrict User Access
Even when your employees know how to act safely, they won’t always follow these practices. Insider threats are relatively common, either from disgruntled workers or, more often than not, apathy. Small businesses can prevent these attacks by limiting what files and systems employees can access.
Restricting user access will also minimize how far a cyberattack can spread, and it’s often affordable. Stricter bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, requiring multi-factor authentication and network segmentation, will all restrict access without significant monetary investment. Businesses can enact many of these restrictions with built-in programs, so IT departments may not have to spend anything on this step.
3. Eliminate RDP Vulnerabilities
Another low-cost improvement for small business security is addressing remote desktop protocol (RDP) vulnerabilities. RDP attacks are the number one factor associated with ransomware attacks on small businesses, yet they often go overlooked. Thankfully, fixing them is relatively straightforward and affordable.
Preventing RDP attacks is often as simple as checking if you have RDP enabled, then disabling it if necessary. This process often requires no additional software, and if it does, the available solutions are minimally technical and low-cost.
4. Encrypt and Back Up Data
Reliable cybersecurity includes ensuring that if a breach does occur, it won’t cause widespread damage. Small businesses can do this through a two-step process of encryption and backups. Encryption makes data virtually unreadable to hackers, rendering it useless to them, and backups ensure mission-critical data and systems remain available and functional in a breach.
Devices today often come with built-in encryption services, but additional, dedicated encryption software may be more reliable. Still, these services are often low-cost, as are cloud and physical storage solutions for backups.
5. Enable Automatic Updates
Outdated software is one of the most common and dangerous risks businesses face. As many as 55% of all programs running worldwide are out-of-date, leaving them vulnerable to attacks that updates could prevent. Despite how widespread this issue is, removing these vulnerabilities is straightforward and zero-cost.
All businesses need to do to prevent these risks is enable automatic updates on all software and devices. This seemingly insignificant step ensures all programs feature the latest defenses, securing older vulnerabilities as software developers discover them.
Small Business Security Is Crucial
Small businesses may seem like less valuable targets at first, but their widespread lack of security infrastructure makes them tempting to cybercriminals. In light of these rising threats, small business security must improve, and that process doesn’t have to be expensive.
These minimal-cost security measures can help small businesses stay safe from growing cyber threats. By implementing these improvements, small businesses can ensure cybercriminals don’t hinder their success and do so without any substantial investment.