Cyber security companies have gained much attention and traction beyond large corporations; smaller businesses are also beginning to subscribe to the services they provide as well. For good reason, considering that cyber attacks are always rampant in this current digital age, and companies of all sizes and specialties are equally affected. In other words, no business is immune to cyber attacks, as hackers see potential across any company that holds some form of data – which is practically the case for any business today.
However, cyber security services don’t simply constitute the isolated antivirus software of yesteryear. Services now include a wide variety, with multiple overlaps and intricate interconnections between different types. From fundamental firewalls to specialised red teaming, cyber security services are numerous as they are diverse. In consideration to small businesses, how do such services fit in? With limited resources at their disposal, small business cyber security needs to cater to optimum protection, while keeping increasing constraints in mind.
At EFutures, we understand the limitations of small business cyber security. As a technology outsourcing company, our goal is to meet client needs while adhering to constraints pertaining to budgets, resources and even time – without compromising on the quality of deliverables. In this article, we focus on how small businesses can get started with cyber security with minimal resources. Many cyber security tips can be implemented without any resources and from the get-go, thereby making small business cyber security implementation an endeavour that is easier than expected.
While every business is susceptible to cyber attacks, small businesses could stand to lose more owing to limitations pertaining to budgets and overheads. Regardless of size, all businesses benefit from deploying the right cyber security applications, as they help to:
Every file, folder or database that is being shared with others can benefit from restricted access, wherein only relevant members are provided authorization to access the file. Such access can also be segmented into view-only and edit rights, thereby optimising data protection by providing only as much access as required for team members to collaborate and execute tasks. Shared documents on Google Workspace, for example, are a great starting point for this.
Most small businesses already use applications such as Google Docs and Google Sheets, which can be restricted to specific team members either inside or outside the organisation, along view-only, comment-only and edit rights hierarchies. Formally known as Role Based Access Control (RBAC), this is a common yet effective method of protection for enterprise business data.
While your username and password effectively forms the entry point into accessing any portal that provides data and services, it can, likewise, also serve as the entry point for attackers who are looking to steal your data. Weak passwords further propel this, thereby increasing the chances of a breach. However, strong passwords that feature a minimum of 15 characters, which include a mixture of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, alphabets, numerals and symbols can enable tight security – but this alone shall still not suffice in today’s highly vulnerable digital environment.
Passwords also need to be changed frequently (at least once every three months) while being unique for each website/application that you have a login for. Additionally, password managers can further establish heightened security, by keeping all your passwords safely stored in a vault – with only one master password now required to be kept in mind for access.
While establishing strong password policies can help maximise cyber security for your small business applications, it can still be insufficient in the wake of expert hackers. This is why Multi-Factor Authentication or MFA is essential when configuring website and application security policies today. Offering an extra layer of protection through a One-Time Password (OTP), MFA can ensure only authorised users are logging into their own account, since users will need to have their phones at hand, or be logged into their email accounts.
Owing to the additional layer of protection provided by MFA, numerous leading SaaS software providers have now made MFA mandatory for all their users. However, if any of the applications you utilise do not have MFA enabled automatically, it is advisable to enable the same in order to give small business teams a crucial layer of protection from the get-go, with minimal effort and time required for setup.
Although cyber security focuses on advanced tools and technologies to keep hackers at bay, covertly manipulating an employee into sharing confidential login details or data can be the most effective strategy for cyber criminals. Social engineering of this sort can happen to anyone and at any time, so it pays to constantly be vigilant about who your teams associate with, as well as how much information they divulge about your company.
Security awareness training can therefore be highly useful for your employees, so they are exposed to safe practices, while avoiding any actions which, although innocuous on the outset, could open small businesses to vulnerability and unwanted exposure.
On a macro level, cyber security services seem to all come under one umbrella. However, cyber security is a wide and varied software marketplace that consists of a large spectrum of services. Long gone are the days of isolated firewalls and antivirus programs that confined vulnerabilities once detected. From penetration testing to application security, cyber security services are plentiful – and knowing precisely which tools and technologies to implement for a small business’s unique requirements is key to ensuring successful data protection across today’s modern digital landscape.
Disaster can strike at any time, and a cyber breach is no exception. The right cyber security solutions provider will be able to accommodate emergencies as and when they strike, by having their teams investigate and mitigate threats on a real-time basis. Security Operation Centres (SOCs) are maintained and offered by leading cyber security providers to their clientele. Consisting of specialised cyber security experts that monitor and protect networks on a 24/7 basis, SOCs can enable maximum small business cyber protection any time at all.
Top cyber security providers today are highly adaptable, as new cyber threats are being introduced all the time. Thanks to a highly evolving digital landscape, cyber attackers also strive to stay one step ahead by implementing zero-day threats that companies aren’t prepared for. Cyber security professionals, on the other hand, need to constantly adapt, so they can catch zero-day threats before any damage is done.
Having positive reviews and scores from independent test entities is a hallmark quality of a reliable cyber security provider. Combined with an adaptive nature, leading cyber security providers are open to having their solutions and strategies tested independently, with results available for disclosure. High rates and scores can indicate proficiency, and subsequently, good reliability as well.
Cyber security is an essential component for small businesses that wish to operate in today’s fast-paced business environment. While the modern digital landscape offers high potential in terms of attracting niche customer bases and revenue, it is also home to an ever-evolving spectrum of zero-day vulnerabilities that most small businesses are seldom prepared for.
By implementing some simple yet highly effective cyber security tips, small businesses can start protecting their vital data and systems from malicious attackers. These include setting strong passwords that are changed frequently, as well as opting for 2FA/MFA to add an additional layer of protection when signing into websites, apps and portals.
Despite a myriad of advanced cyber security tools available for round-the-clock protection, social engineering continues to be one of the most effective tactics of cyber criminals – for which regular security awareness training is recommended to constantly educate employees about evolving cyber attack strategies.
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