Small businesses have an uphill battle when it comes to cyber security in today’s digital society. The threats are constantly growing and evolving, but so are the small businesses themselves. They are not as likely to have large investments in infrastructure and security like their competitors in larger industries, making them more susceptible to a data breach or other cyberattack. But that doesn’t mean that smaller businesses can’t keep up with the big guys. Small businesses often have access to different resources than larger companies do, which means there are opportunities for smaller businesses to keep their cyber security protected at a much lower cost than their competitors would pay. The key is knowing where your company stands, what you need to do to stay compliant, and how you can implement those changes without breaking the bank.
What is Cyber Security?
Cybersecurity is the collection of methods used to protect computers and networks from the theft, invasion, or damage to the hardware and software. You can think of it as an extra layer of protection for your data, or an “internet firewall” that protects you from cyber criminals and other threats online. The goal of cybersecurity is to keep your customers’ sensitive information safe, and if a breach does occur, to have a plan in place to prevent it from spreading or causing significant damage to your business. When you have a cybersecurity plan in place, you can feel more secure that you are doing everything possible to secure your business from cyber threats.
Understanding the Importance of Small Business Compliance
Contractual obligations, regulatory compliance, and brand reputation are just a few of the reasons why small businesses should pay attention to cybersecurity. It’s not just a nice thing to do; it’s a must-do. Depending on the industry you operate in, you may be required to comply with certain cyber security regulations.
For example, if you are in the healthcare or financial services industry, you may be required to comply with HIPAA and HITECH regulations. If your business is required to comply with these regulations, you’ll want to make sure you are on top of your small business cyber security. Not only are you meeting regulatory requirements, you are also protecting your customers’ sensitive data and can even save on insurance costs by being compliant.
Identifying What’s at Risk
There are many factors that can affect the security of your company’s data, but the biggest threat is almost always human error. There’s no way to completely avoid human error, but there are ways to minimize it, and that’s where a cyber security plan comes in.
A cyber security plan will outline several ways to minimize human error, including:
- Set up ways to minimize the passwords humans need to use through software that can track that information for them.
- Regular assessments of data and protocols to ensure that regulations and processes are being followed.
- Outlining proactive steps that can reduce the opportunity for mistakes to happen.
- Keeping backups of your data so that should an event occur, you have reliable, accurate, and recent data to put back in place.
By outlining these potential issues and providing solutions for them, you’re taking a big step forward in protecting your data. Once you know where your threats lie, you can come up with a plan of action to combat those threats and minimize their impact on your business.
When it comes time to identify what is at risk, the software your small business uses is one area to look. You want to be sure that your company uses highly updated, accurate, and reliable software titles to process payments and store data. If you use the wrong software, it could be open to anyone trying to break in. This is especially true when the software is not updated regularly. Always doing due diligence when it comes time to buy software is essential for this very reason. On top of these, you also have the constant cyber risks of:
- Spam emails
- And more!
Another area you need to consider is the hardware you and your employees use. Do you have registers, Wi-Fi, computers, or phones at your business? Most have at least two of those. If so, you need to ensure you keep them protected. Regularly updating these items is one way of keeping them safer. However, it is not enough. You need to use work devices for work and not personal situations. Your cybersecurity plan should outline this specifically.
There should also be steps to ensure that each user actively uses two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication, depending on the device. That way, you know the person using the device is the right individual. Plus, you also want to limit what each employee has access to. While the CEO, CTO, or COO may need access to everything, standard employees do not. Keep data safe through limitations and it will limit who has access to the most sensitive data your company has.
Does Using the Cloud Protect Your Small Business?
Cloud computing has become a popular method of storing data, especially when it comes to mission-critical information. If you’re looking to store sensitive information, you may want to consider using a cloud provider.
Many think that using a cloud provider is the best way to protect your data, but it’s not that simple. If you use a cloud provider, you will still have to comply with certain regulations and standards, and you won’t be completely off the hook for cyber security.
Even though you may be storing your data off-site, you are still responsible for protecting it from threats. There is no 100% fool-proof method of data protection, and while using the cloud can be a great solution in many situations, it is not the only solution.
Developing Your Cyber Security Plan
Once you’ve identified the threats to your business’s data, it’s time to develop a plan. Your plan will help you to prioritize your resources and figure out what you need to do to protect your data from threats.
To create your plan, first you need to decide what needs protecting. Then, you need to look at how those items could become, or already are, vulnerable. Once you understand the scope of what your business needs, you begin working out a plan. Ideally, you want to create this plan alongside a cybersecurity expert. They can help show you where vulnerabilities exist you may not even be aware of.
Once you have your plan in place, you’ll want to make sure everything is being done correctly. You can do this by conducting internal audits and hiring a third-party security firm to conduct external audits.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid Future Security Lapses
Once you’ve taken the steps to improve your cyber security, you want to make sure they stay in place. Unfortunately, many businesses are quick to forget their vulnerabilities once they have been patched up.
There are a few ways to determine what areas of your business are most vulnerable. Identify the gaps in your plan and areas where you need to improve. Once you’ve identified the areas that need improvement, you can take steps to close those gaps.
Each business has unique gaps, so you need to look at your situation as unique and think like someone who wants to get your data. If you can figure out ways of getting in, an experienced thief is going to know those options plus more.
Keep your employees up-to-date on the latest security threat information. By keeping them informed, you can make sure that everyone is doing their best to protect the company from cyber threats.
Finding the Right Professionals for Help
Cyber security is a constantly evolving field, and it’s difficult for even the most knowledgeable person to keep up with all the changes. Since the field evolves to quickly, you need to know the person or company is always up to date on what the latest options are. In this field, experience truly matters.
As you look for professionals to help you with your cyber security, make sure they are reputable and have experience with your industry. You don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t know how to properly protect your data. Finally, don’t forget to regularly review your cyber security plan to make sure you are staying up-to-date and on track with your goals.
Cybersecurity is an important part of any business, no matter the size. Understanding the importance of compliance, identifying what’s at risk, and developing a plan to mitigate those threats are essential to protecting your data and your business. By following these steps, you can feel secure knowing your business is protected from threats and vulnerabilities.
Want to learn more about small business compliance and cybersecurity? Then contact Technosoft Cyber. Our experienced professionals can help create a cybersecurity plan to help you keep your data safe and ensure you achieve compliance. Call today to find out more!
Small Business Compliance is Essential Today
Call us here at Technosoft Cyber today to learn how we can help you learn more about small business compliance, and help you achieve that compliance! Our team of professionals can start helping you today!