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Cybersecurity decalogue for small and medium-sized businesses [2022]

asian girl smb owner is looking at her laptop

At the beginning of the 21st century, cybersecurity became an increasingly important issue for businesses of all sizes, especially small and medium-sized businesses.

Which are often more vulnerable to cyberattacks because they do not have enough resources.  

Therefore, it is essential that these companies take precautions.

In order to protect themselves online in a way that resources can be tailored to their needs. 

In this blog post, we will discuss ten steps that medium and small businesses can take to improve their cybersecurity posture.  

We hope these tips will help your business stay secure in the digital age. 

Context 

Surely, at some point, you have read in the news that a large company suffered a cyber-attack.

Oil companies and banks have experienced this situation. 

However, this type of event does not happen as frequently as in the case of small and medium-sized companies, which are constantly threatened. 

In fact, if we look at the statistics, we can see that: 

  • In 2021, 46% of security breaches were made to SMEs. 
  • Phishing and denial-of-service attacks are the most common in this category of companies. 
  • Only in the UK alone, a successful cyber-attack on SMEs is executed every 19 seconds. 

The growing number of cyber-attacks on small businesses has reached large proportions.

As small businesses are making frequent use of new technologies such as web-based clouds, many of which do not offer adequate protection. 

Likewise, the challenge for business owners is that most of the time they are busy with various tasks, and they don’t put cybersecurity as a priority. 

black guy feels stressful and angry looking at his laptop

As a result, they don’t: 

  • Create robust data protection strategies. 
  • Have specialized IT staff. 
  • Use appropriate software corresponding to the size and needs of the company. 

In consequence, the business may have: 

  • Low competitiveness against other businesses in the same sector. 
  • Lack of economic growth. 
  • Increased cyber-attacks on their IT systems. 
  • Stagnation in obtaining new clients. 
  • Greater probability of closing. 

Also, it is advisable to develop and include a digital security strategy in your business planning.  

Below, you will learn the basics you should consider. 

Cybersecurity Decalogue for SMEs

1. Discard the Idea “Your Business is Small, and Nothing Will Happen”

Many business owners think that because their company is small or medium-sized it will never be the target of a cyber-attack, unlike a large, well-known company. 

In fact, more than 50% of business owners believe that implementing digital security software, such as antivirus, is of little importance. 

This is the perfect niche for cybercriminals.

Since businesses are absolutely unprotected, no one will realize that information was stolen or why their payroll system was “blocked”. 

To avoid being an easy target, you can start with the acquisition of a tool that permanently detects any threat. 

2. Think of a Security Breach as a Business Failure

A cyber-attack can cause you to lose money, electronic equipment, your IP address, and downtime, which will lead your business to a problematic scenario for you and your customers. 

When this situation occurs…

You can easily lose something more valuable than money: the trust of your customers and employees who feel insecure. 

Did you know that 37% of small businesses have lost customers and 17% of their revenue due to prolonged downtime because of a cyber-attack? 

So, think twice before neglecting the development of your security strategy. 

3. Develop an Effective Security Strategy for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

You cannot protect what you do not know.

By developing a cybersecurity strategy, you will know in-depth and accurately what digital assets you need to protect, such as your company’s intellectual property and your customers’ data. 

In consequence, you will be able to evaluate your digital security needs according to the size of your business. 

4. Protect your Assets, especially when Working Remotely

a white businessman is working with his silver laptop and sees a secured log in

As the number of companies adopting remote working continues to grow, cyber-attacks on these companies are becoming more frequent.  

This is because most devices used to work outside physical environments are not protected with adequate security measures when accessed. 

Furthermore, in this context, it is more likely that IT staff will not be always available during working hours in case something goes wrong. 

However, you may be able to protect your company against some types of attacks if your organization has its own IT equipment remotely. 

It is also advisable to acquire a tool that protects remote access and electronic devices that are outside the physical company environment. 

5. Educate your Staff on Basic Security Practices 

You don’t have to turn your entire staff into a group of computer experts, but you can teach them the basics of digital security. 

You can hold workshops and promote internal policies.

So that your employees use the firewall correctly, avoid using social networks on company devices, and do not respond to unverified e-mails. 

In this way, they will be more aware to apply preventive measures and reduce the risk of exposing company data to unwanted sources. 

Other measures you can implement are the permanent use of antivirus to run periodic scans on devices, as well as creating backup copies of files. 

If you want to strengthen the digital security of your company, you must invest in it, in time, and money. 

6. Update your Software if you have a small and medium-sized businesses

there's a green background and the word software in scrabble game letters

Cybercriminals frequently scan the digital structure of SMEs to find security vulnerabilities, which can be present more easily if your software is outdated. 

In this case, the most advisable thing to do is to have your applications and computer programs up to date, whether they are commercial or not. 

7. Execute Incident Response Plans for small and medium-sized businesses

You can take advantage of the skills of an IT expert to carry out hacking or pentesting tests to check the response capacity of your digital infrastructure in the event of a cyber-attack. 

Thus, you will be able to determine how far a real hacker could go

And how long it takes for your security systems to act appropriately. 

8. Protect your Computer System from a DDoS Attack

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are very common.

Especially if your business has an online store, provides an online service, or has an online gambling center. 

In these cases, the cybercriminal operates by setting up a “botnet” with the computers he is trying to access. 

The next step is to control the actions of these devices and thus generate collapses in the online services you provide, such as your Marketplace stops working. 

If your business offers this type of commercial option.

It is essential that the security tool you are going to acquire can offer you protection against DDoS attacks. 

9. Invest in the Security of your Cloud

on a wooden table there's a keyboard connected with clips to electronics devices, those clips has cloud form and there's a lock within

How many people use the Google or Outlook cloud to store work information? Probably, a lot of people 

Certainly, at first, it may seem safe to store any information in the clouds of these websites.

But they do not really offer you any sufficiently robust protection against a cyber-attack. 

All it takes is for the hacker to gain access to your email account and that’s it!  

So, implement a solution that offers you the shielding you require and has the capacity to store large amounts of confidential data. 

10. Implement SIEM as soon as Possible 

Security Information and Event Management is the meaning of SIEM (Security Information and Event Management).

Which is composed of a series of tools to act in an integral way in the security of your company. 

This system works in a coordinated manner to monitor, detect, and alert any incident or possible attack on the business IT environment.  

Additionally, it will proceed to identify, categorize, and analyze the vulnerabilities that your environment presents.

As well as to detect early any strange situation, and notify you in real-time about it. 

Because of this, it is important that you consider acquiring a functional and optimal SIEM so that it can provide you with adequate detection of vulnerabilities. 

Final Considerations

It is common knowledge that cybercriminals operate in a more sophisticated and specialized way, taking advantage of the fact that most SMEs do not have the proper IT protection. 

It is therefore essential that you make an investment.

Also, develop security strategies to protect your company, your customers’ information, and your employees’ private data. 

What can you do? 

If you own a small or medium-sized business (SMB), you may not have the time or resources to create and implement a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.  

That’s where we come in!

GB Advisors can help you develop a plan that fits your company’s specific needs.

So you can focus on what you do best: running your business.  

Contact us for more information on how we can help you keep your data safe and secure.  

Contact us today! 

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