4 Tips for Preventing Cyber Attacks on Your Small Business

It’s easy to fall for the misconception that cyber criminals and bad actors only target larger corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, but the data tells another story. In reality, small businesses are seen as vulnerable and have become easy (and preferred) targets for cyber attacks.

According to the latest data, 46 percent of cyber breaches impact businesses with 1,000 employees or less. Perhaps even more shocking is that 37 percent of companies impacted by ransomware have less than 100 employees. And it’s not just people in the C-suite who are impacted—they’re coming after everyone in the company. Employees of small businesses experience 3.5 times more social engineering attacks than those at larger companies.

Perhaps the most sobering part of this is the cost and fallout. An estimated 95 percent of cybersecurity incidents at small businesses cost between $826 and $653,587 (with most averaging $50,000 or more). All in all, 75 percent of small businesses cannot continue operating if they’re hit with a ransomware attack, and many are forced to close up shop.

The goal isn’t to scare you with these data points but rather to impress upon you the importance of being proactive with cybersecurity. This means developing a plan and sticking to it.

Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

Every business is unique in its needs, finances, risks, and opportunities. That said, here are several broad strategies that work across industries and company types.

1] Educate and Train Your Employees

Your employees are your first line of defense against cyber attacks. Human error often leads to security breaches, so regular training on cybersecurity best practices is crucial. Educate your team about the importance of strong passwords, recognizing phishing emails, and safely handling sensitive data.

According to Cetaris, which helps maintenance teams improve their cybersecurity, setting strong passwords and updating them on a regular basis is really important. “And don’t share passwords with anyone,” Cetaris explains. “If you tend to have difficulties recalling your passwords, as many of us do, consider a trusted password-managing app like 1Password or Dashlane.”

One of the best things you can do is conduct regular training sessions and simulations to keep everyone aware and prepared for potential threats. Encourage a culture of security where employees feel responsible for protecting the company’s digital assets and know how to respond to suspicious activities.

2] Implement Strong Access Controls

Not everyone in your company needs access to all your systems and data. Implementing strict access controls can significantly reduce the risk of internal threats and external breaches. Use role-based access controls to ensure that employees have access only to the information and systems necessary for their job functions.

Don’t use a “set it and forget it” approach. Instead, regularly review and update these permissions, significantly when employees change roles or leave the company. Additionally, you can enforce robust authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication, to add an extra layer of security to your systems.

3] Keep Software and Systems Up to Date

Cyber attackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software and systems. Ensure that all your software, operating systems, and network equipment are updated with the latest security patches and updates. Automate updates where possible to reduce the risk of human oversight. Regular maintenance and updates fix security vulnerabilities and improve your IT infrastructure’s overall performance and stability.

4] Invest in Advanced Security Solutions

With cyber threats constantly evolving, relying on essential antivirus software is no longer enough. You must invest in advanced security solutions that comprehensively protect against various threats. This includes:

  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection and prevention systems
  • Endpoint protection
  • Email filtering solutions
  • Etc.

Consider working with cybersecurity experts to tailor a security strategy that fits your business’s needs and risk profile. This is the best way forward.

Building for the Future

Beyond these four critical steps, creating a cyber-secure environment involves a commitment to ongoing vigilance and improvement. Consistently assess your cybersecurity posture and stay informed about the latest threats and trends in cybersecurity. This is how you evolve, rather than getting stuck using outdated and vulnerable strategies.

Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue but a business-wide priority that requires involvement, investment, and attention at all levels of the organization. Taking proactive steps can reduce your vulnerability to cyber attacks and protect your business’s valuable data and reputation. That’s a huge win – no matter the size of your company.

Ashish Mohta
A die-hard fan of Windows, PC Gaming, and Xbox. He is a seasoned content writer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is a specialist in writing about Windows, software reviews, troubleshooting Windows, and automation.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.