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Assessing The Cybersecurity Risk Of Your Small Business

Cyberattacks are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s business world. They affect individuals and also small companies on a large scale. In fact, small businesses make up 58 percent of malware attack victims. Hackers target these companies because they have large amounts of private information, but often little means to protect that data. As a small business owner, you owe it to your company and your customers to assess cybersecurity risks and develop a strategy to limit these risks.

The Increased Risk For Small Businesses

According to an IBM study, the following industries are most prone to cyber attack risk.

  • Manufacturing.
  • Health Care.
  • Financial Services.
  • Transportation.
  • Government.

Despite the larger number of breaches in these industries, virtually every business has some risk. In fact, the vast majority of small businesses today are using the internet to reach much larger audiences and tap into markets that would otherwise be unavailable.

Even just maintaining a website, generally considered a “must” for companies today, can open up a small business to cybersecurity risks. Cloud computing and storing information on computers or other devices that have access to the internet increases that risk.
If your company keeps any of the following records, you have cybersecurity risk that you should address:

  • Payment information.
  • Purchase history.
  • Contact information.
  • Customer lists.
  • Proprietary information and processes.
  • Private health data.

These are just examples of the vast amounts of data that the average business keeps on a daily basis.

Creating A Cyberattack Plan For Your Business

According to one survey, roughly 66 percent of organizations would not be able to recover if they were subjected to a cyber attack today. As a small business owner or manager, you need to develop a plan that will help you recover after this unique type of disaster.

This type of procedure may include items such as:

  • Root cause analysis.
  • Implementing controls that prevent future loss.
  • Training your team to use security procedures regularly.
  • Creating a mobile device action plan.
  • Modifications to the plan to adjust to new threats.
  • Protecting data after a breach.
  • Collecting evidence and preserving data after a breach.

The type of plan that works best for your business will depend a great deal on the information that your company gathers and the variety of clients that it serves.

Tips For Small Business Cybersecurity

Many companies make the mistake of assuming that cybersecurity concerns are only for “big business.” This is a common misconception. Even the smallest “mom and pop” shops can be exposed to cyber attacks.

You should use the following tips to increase your cybersecurity and decrease your exposure to cyberattacks. If you are not already doing these things, you may need to make some changes to your processes.

Train Employees To Recognize Threats

More than 90 percent of malware infects businesses via emails. Show your employees what to look for in emails that might have malicious intent. Training your team could be a great investment to decrease cyber attack risk.

Protect Your Wi-Fi Network

You should take steps to ensure that your Wi-Fi network is protected. At a minimum, you should have a firewall in place to protect your data. However, having your business network hidden and protected by encryption is also a good idea for most companies.

Ensure Employees Are Not Exposing Your Business Outside Of The Office

If your team uses their personal devices to access data, you should make sure that you have protocols in place to protect your data on those devices, too. Keep in mind that this is true regardless of whether they bring their own devices to work or they access data at home. Simply having antivirus software can go a long way in many situations.

Be Proactive About Identification

It is a good idea to have a two-factor identification process if possible. Be sure to also review your user accounts on a regular basis. Delete old accounts and change permissions as needed. Keeping up with this type of housekeeping will reduce the possibility that unwanted intruders gain access to this information.

Take Steps To Keep Your Data Safe

If you work with software vendors, you should check to be sure that your vendors are protecting your data as well. You should also have a safe way to store your data and back it up regularly. Having a separate backup location may also be a good idea in the event of a huge cyber attack or natural disaster. Continually review permissions so that individuals do not have more authority than they need to do their job.

Create A Plan To Respond To Cyber Attacks

Unfortunately, cyber attacks are bound to happen. That means that you need to have a plan of action when that type of emergency does occur. That plan should include accessing backup data, protecting other data that was not breached and developing systems that will prevent a similar breach in the future.

At HJR Global, we help small businesses start, grow and expand. We share vital information so you can keep your venture thriving for years to come. Check out our additional resources to learn more.