Did you know that small businesses are under a greater threat from hackers/cybercriminals than larger corporations? Why, you might ask? It’s simple; most small businesses either don’t have or don’t want protection, or don’t take it seriously enough. The average person reuses a password up to 14 times, and most employees admit to sharing passwords at work. While passwords aren’t the only cybersecurity concern, 80% of data breaches are linked to compromised passwords.
Many small businesses don’t know enough about cybercrime or don’t have the resources to increase their protection. 63% of SMBs report experiencing a data breach in the previous 12 months in 2019. It’s time that we as business owners start taking our security much more seriously, and that starts with increasing our knowledge about potential threats and solutions.
In this guide, we’ll cover some tips on keeping your business safe online. We’ll cover the dark web, password management, and more, so keep reading! This is your all-in-one guide.
Use A Password Manager
With about 65% of all people reusing passwords, it’s no wonder most data breaches occur because of a compromised password. For us, passwords have become an afterthought; just something you have to do in order to use online services. And, since being online is pretty much a huge part of society these days, we don’t even think about passwords as security features anymore.
The fact is, passwords are often the first defense against a cyberattack. When they’re done right, passwords can completely prevent a cyberattack—locking out the hacker behind a wall of impenetrable character combinations. Imagine your data as a castle. Your password is the moat and drawbridge. If you don’t maintain the moat and bridge, the enemy will walk right into your castle and plunder it!
Cyber security for business is more important than ever, especially with the cost of data breaches rising with each passing year. It’s around $150 per record now, so even if you have 300 compromised records, you’re still out $45,000.
Using a password manager for your business helps in a few ways. First, it helps employees create stronger passwords and gives everyone a secure location to store passwords. Second, it helps you manage your passwords by reminding you when they’re outdated, recycled, or breached. Encrypted cloud storage, 2FA, and dark web monitoring are some of the great features you can expect from today’s password managers.
Dark Web Monitoring
The dark web accounts for a large portion of the internet that we can’t access with our everyday browsers like Chrome and Mozilla. The dark web requires the Tor browser, or a similar browser, and is accessed anonymously that way. This anonymity is both a blessing and curse, as hackers have rallied to the dark web to create hacker forums where credentials (like passwords) are bought and sold.
With dark web monitoring, your business’s information is safer. You’ll get a notification anytime your information, like a password or login credential, is spotted on the dark web. While this doesn’t prevent the information from actually reaching the dark web, it can give you time to react before the threat becomes a financial problem.
Monitor For Threats Like Phishing/Social Engineering
Phishing attacks are up in recent years, and they’ve come a long way from the “Nigerian Prince” scheme of the early 2000s; which, I might add, still bring in a whopping $700,000 per year. That’s right, people are still falling for it. That’s because social engineering has become more sophisticated over the years.
Phishing emails come in all shapes and sizes, and you’ve likely seen more than one in your time online. It’s important to monitor emails that come into your inbox. Never open an email from an address that seems phishy. Navigating to the website can download a virus, or worse, download ransomware and lock up your entire computer. Additionally, never download a file from any email whose address you’re unfamiliar with. Gmail has a great feature where you can report phishing emails and block the sender.
Education For Employees
Perhaps the best investment you can make in your business is actually in your employees. Since they’re the backbone of the business, they need to understand the severity of things like social engineering attacks. It’s a good idea to invest in educational opportunities for your employees to teach them about cyberthreats, best practices, and more. The more well-trained and educated your workforce is, the better off your entire business will be!
Have A Cybersecurity Plan In Place
Most important of all, you must have safeguards in place in the event of a breach. While it’s not an inevitability that your business will be breached, it’s certainly a possibility, and one that you can’t afford to not plan for. Have a contingency plan ready. Know what steps you’ll take after an attack and in the future to protect yourself, your business, and your customers.
The Bottom Line
Cybercrimes aren’t going anywhere, and it’s our responsibility as business owners to take cybersecurity seriously. Our cybersecurity can jeopardize more than just the business, especially if customer records are at risk. Even if the cost of a breach doesn’t put you out of business, your reputation could potentially suffer enough to end things altogether. Protect your business with cybersecurity tools and education for your employees.