As a small business owner, there’s plenty for you to do each day without having to also worry about emerging cybersecurity threats. Many SMBs invest in security systems to detect, prevent and defend against existing cybersecurity threats to small businesses. Many, however, don’t maintain their vigilance over the cybersecurity concern once those systems are in place. Unfortunately, it’s that lapse of attention that often opens cracks in even the best cybersecurity strategy. Here’s how to ensure that you don’t drop the ball while on watch over the cybersecurity for your small business.
Acknowledge that you’re always at risk
You may think that your enterprise is too small to be of interest to cyberthieves. However, odds are better than 50/50 that you’re already a target; studies show that 58% of all cybercrimes are directed against SMBs. Keeping this unsettling statistic in your head at all times will help you maintain your vigilance over the security practices in your organization.
Regularly assess your internal security alignments
Keep in mind, too, that cybersecurity for small businesses is a process, not an event. Day-to-day business routines must often flex to meet business demands and sometimes that flexing also derails existing practices for cybersecurity in small businesses. A lapse of attention by one worker can create a gap which can then snowball into a series of vulnerabilities across one or more departments. Your corporate security policies and business continuity plans should incorporate a regular review of stated security practices against existing realities to ensure that every flex is also a safe one.
Know where your data lives
It’s perhaps more important for small business owners to know where their data lives than it is for the management of larger organizations, simply because the SMB is less able to withstand a breach or loss of critical business intelligence. Making things worse, today’s mobile and remote technologies have extended the perimeter of almost every business well beyond the confines of the corporate office. The depth and breadth of that cybersecurity threat to small businesses can’t be overstated, which mandates even higher levels of vigilance and attention by small business owners.
Know what your humans are doing
As good as they are at their jobs, your workforce is also potentially your biggest cybersecurity risk. “Human error” accounts for an astonishingly high percentage of data breaches (84 percent) and data loss incidents (92 percent). The growth of the BYOD phenomenon – “bring your own device” – only contributes to the number of cybersecurity threats to small businesses.
Not every breach or loss is criminal, however; for such an event to be criminal, the worker has to both intentionally and maliciously cause the violation. In most cases, however, worker errors are either or both unintentional (they forgot to follow through, for example) and inadvertent (one action inadvertently caused another). In many cases, small events, such as leaving a cell phone behind in a restaurant or a company laptop in an unlocked car, have lead to the most egregious exposures of sensitive data. Prevention of these types of employee errors is your best cybersecurity practice.
Plan to survive
Considering that you know you’re at risk, your data management processes may have leaks and your staff is potentially hazardous, planning to recover from a cybersecurity breach is another tool to protect your SMB from the damages caused by cyber security threats. Make sure that your data and systems are fully backed up on a regular basis and consider adding a virtual or cloud-based backup and recovery capacity to access if your mainframes fail.
In the end, the peace of mind engendered by a fully functioning system of cybersecurity for small businesses is the best foundation on which they can move forward into a profitable future.