With more and more businesses moving their customer and organisational processes into digital channels, network security has rapidly become a primary concern for many modern business owners. But figuring out how to keep your business safe from cyberattacks in the digital age is often easier.
Many business owners will find that there are just too many variables to consider, from the costs of network security tools and packages to the efficacy of specific cybersecurity measures and their ability to address common security concerns within your industry.
Thankfully, this little guide has been designed to help small business owners take control over their company’s cybersecurity needs, in whatever capacity they’re able to. Read on for more insights into how you can sustainably invest in cybersecurity as a small business owner.
Build a foundation using network security tools and services
The first thing you need to know as a modern small business owner is that you don’t need to hire your own in-house cyber specialists in order to create an effective cybersecurity strategy. Using network security tools and services like the Threat Protection feature from NordVPN and firewalls and network security packages can often provide the additional support with your business needs to go from high-risk to cyber-savvy.
It’s well worth taking some time to find all the right network security solutions to suit your business. This will likely involve doing a little shopping around as well as reading up on the security solutions and packages available to you.
Consider examining the security strategies developed by other business owners operating within your industry. These can be local companies, or they can easily be international as well, as common industry security concerns and online threats are likely to be similar no matter where in the world you may be operating. You can also head to online industry forums in order to gain insights into what cybersecurity strategies fellow business owners may be using.
Heading online may even help you find some useful tips from dedicated cybersecurity specialists. These expert insights can be derived from enlisting the support of IT consultants or dedicated cybersecurity firms as well. However, doing so may involve additional costs that may potentially be out of budget for small business owners.
Routinely assess and reassess your company’s security needs
Internet security specialists know all too well that cyber threats are anything but static. The landscape of cybersecurity is ever-changing by nature, which is exactly why all modern business owners and personal device users like, can greatly benefit from routinely assessing and reassessing their cybersecurity strategies.
A great way of making sure that your cybersecurity strategies are consistently addressing your company’s security needs is by staying in the loop with industry news. This becomes especially important if your business uses digital channels as another stream of income. For instance, if you’re an eCommerce business owner, you should take efforts to stay on top of all the most current eCommerce security concerns alongside general industry trends.
Subscribing to industry newsletters and staying active on digital platforms like Twitter and industry forums can help ensure that you’re well-informed about all the most common security risks and concerns impacting your industry. And you’d be surprised to know just how impactful maintaining a strong awareness of security risks can be when it comes to implementing effective cybersecurity measures for your enterprise!
Use low-cost measures like multi-factor authentication
Small business owners will be happy to hear that their investments in cybersecurity don’t necessarily have to be big in order to be effective. Sometimes, even a little time and financial investments can go a long way when it comes to keeping your company data safe online. In fact, there are a number of low-cost and even totally free security measures that you can take to give your organisation that little bit of extra protection online.
One of these methods includes utilising two-factor or multi-factor authentication (or ‘MFA’). MFA involves using security questions or even verification codes sent via email or SMS to authenticate that any users attempting to access business accounts or use company logins actually have the authority to do so. Utilising MFA can reduce the risk of company fraud or professional identity theft, as hackers won’t be able to access company accounts without having an employee’s personal device or access to their professional email account on hand.
Other low-cost cybersecurity measures include removing all unused applications, changing sensitive account passwords regularly, and even simply keeping software on computers and other company devices up-to-date. Being timely with software updates can help ensure that all the applications your staff use on a daily basis are fitted with the most current security patches, keeping all the most common and current forms of malicious activities and hacking methodologies at bay.
Don’t forget to invest in education and staff training!
Whilst we did briefly touch upon the importance of educating yourself and staying up-to-date with industry trends when assessing your company’s cybersecurity measures, it has to be said that sharing that knowledge around can only benefit your company even more. Simply put, the more members of your workforce know about the risks they’re likely to face, the more likely it is that your company will be well-protected.
Let’s take the example of an eCommerce enterprise once again. If you have customer service workers responding to emails that may involve fraudulent payment information, staff members who have been trained to detect the tell-tale signs of digital fraud will undoubtedly be less likely to accept that fraudulent information.
So the question is, ‘how can you effectively train your staff to maintain cybersecurity best practices?’. Small business owners can invest in employee training or even in digital and cyber literacy resources to help ensure that their workforce is well-equipped to respond to potential cyber threats as they emerge.
Normalising cybersecurity practices in the workplace can also help uphold your company’s security strategy, improving your cyber standards across the board. A good start would be adding monthly ‘password change’ days to your company calendar, and commemorating the occasion with a fun treat like a box of doughnuts.
For small business owners working in high-risk industries like financial services, you may even choose to gamify your risk detection and management procedures by rewarding employees who successfully identify potential scams like phishing attacks.
All things considered, your investment in cybersecurity as a small business owner isn’t likely to be identical to that of any other company in your industry niche. And in truth, this is a good thing. There is no “one size fits all” solution to organisational cybersecurity, and nor should there be. The best cybersecurity strategies will always be dynamic and evolving, so you should feel confident adding or subtracting from your cybersecurity budget as your company evolves itself.