People say “prevention is better than cure”. This saying is never more apt to any industry other than accounting in terms of cybersecurity. No industry is 100% immune to cybercrimes and the devastating financial inflictions it pulls along.
Most people believe that cyber threats predominantly falls on larger firms. This thought must be prompted by the bells and whistles of dominating headlines on the news and media spotting light on data breaches in high profile enterprises. But in reality, small businesses are also equally vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Large enterprises have larger budgets on their security measure and have tightened walls to a vast perimeter. While hackers can breach through such tough walls, how long is it going to take them to attack smaller businesses that do not afford much on cybersecurity?
Small to mid-sized businesses do not invest adequate resources in cybersecurity. Cyber attackers know this better and that is why they label small businesses as soft targets. Well, cybersecurity is not just buying expensive software or a firewall. That does not cover up everything. It is all about proactive planning and constructing strategies to prevent your small business from the breach.
Here are some practical guidelines and recommendations for a tightened cybersecurity.
Stay in the know
You can search for solutions only when you clearly know what the problem is. You have to get grips on the cyber threat landscapes and know the live trends of it. If you don’t even know what is going on in your cyber part, mitigation would be a real trauma. So, it is mandatory to stay alive with the trends of cyber attacks and preventive measures.
Educate the team
Educating your employees on cyber attacks and preventive measures is a very essential part of cybersecurity. Because your employees might fall easy prey to phishing, which is a very common and most lucrative form of cybercrime.
Malware will be embedded in an e-mail that would sound absolutely genuine and in disguise of your higher authority or any other person of a close business acquaintance. Once your cursor clicks the link, it either collapses everything or mutely takes up all the confidentiality information from your system. You would not even realise it for days until you encounter the hazardous implications of it.
Though you incorporate a best-in-class security system into your company, it is of no use if your employees have no knowledge of them. All your employees must undergo proper cybersecurity training and adhere to the policies of the organization. Educate them on the potential problems in not maintaining hygiene cyber safety measures. Not only inside the company but also while working from home or at any business meetings in a cafe, make sure that they strictly stick to the safety policies of your company. Always instruct them that they are just one click away from cyberscam. Any act of lethargy might bring in a great mess.
So it is primary that you educate all your employees on the different forms and tricks of cybercriminals and motivate them to stay vigilant all the time.
Maintain a sturdy backup system
Maintaining a proper backup system is a preventive way of retaining data even after the breach. Despite doing a seasonal backup and backing up the same record in different locations, you shall also save different versions of the same record. Backup of each day at the end of the week, each week at the end of the month, each month at the end of a year and one at the time of financial closings is a safer backup strategy. You shall place all these at different locations so that your business will not come to stagnancy in case of such an ordeal.
Implement Limited User Access
Managing limited user access is a great way to conceal your confidential information from unauthorized access. Implement restricted user access across buildings, systems and networks in your organization. Also, make sure that the privileged users possess reasonable rights and permissions to access the network and data and do open networks and systems just enough for them to perform their business roles.
If you are a small business owner, you might not be able to afford all the security gears that fit your business. In such a case, you can prioritize your assets and place them under proper security shells. By ranking them with priority, you can afford heightened security for more sensitive data and think of other alternatives within your budget for the rest.
Software and Patch Updates
Malware protection to your networks and computers is mandatory for your business. But your role does not just end with installing security systems and performing frequent scans. You have to ensure that your system and software are updated regularly. Though you follow every other primary security measure, you might have a leak hole by not updating your system and security schemes on a regular basis. An older version of an application or a system may not be aware of the functionality of the newer ones. This puts your data into likelihood to breach because hackers are always up with newer technologies each day.
Strict Password Policies
Strong passwords are highly mandatory in security practices. It may sound usual and repetitive, yet choose a password that has uppercase, lower case, special characters and numbers. Use these in combinations and make it tough to crack. Do not use your birth dates, names or other easy identifiables as your password.
Long passwords are hard to crack and so most companies suggest their employees use passphrases instead of passwords. Longer combinations ensure larger and added security.
Moving to the cloud
Cloud is another secured shelter for your data. Moving to the cloud is an added layer of security as the cloud provider will take care of your data security from his end. As security is the pivotal argument favouring the cloud, the cloud vendor will toughen the security wall as tight as he could. There are different tiers of security in the cloud, all depending on the plan pricing. There are many features for data protection, certifications such as Secure Sockets Locker (SSL) and Secure Shell Protocol (SSP) and uptime guarantees. See the security measures of your cloud provider and weigh them carefully before you make a purchase.
Instead of importing and exporting your transaction and other details across applications, you can use automation software that links the applications. This method will prevent your data from spillage and data theft and is a way for safe transfer. If you are a small business owner using QuickBooks for your accounting, you shall try using PayTraQer to automatically sync your online payments to QuickBooks without any manual intervention. This will safeguard your data from data theft and other unauthorized access. With PayTraQer, all the interactions happen between software and you will have your records clean, accurate and secure.
However high your security walls are, hackers are always looking up for ways to glide in through leaky holes. Cyber threat is inevitable and is always a contingency. It just takes a couple of seconds for hackers to make it happen. So we must always be vigilant and proactive. It is suggestive that you have a rescue plan and proper backups. Some companies provide cyber specific insurances, research them and take necessary actions to maintain proper cyber hygiene.