In 2021 cyberattacks were at an all-time high. Mainly due to businesses going online in vast numbers during the pandemic, thereby making online information more readily accessible, the cyberattacks seemed to keep on coming. Those small businesses that weren’t prepared or didn’t have cyber security protocol in place took some hits—often, big hits. This is why it is critical to assess the current state of your cyber security, identify any weaknesses and gaps in the system and take action to stem any potential attacks of this nature.
But what can you do? Small businesses don’t necessarily have the resources that more giant corporations do. Can you afford to shore up your cyber security? And if you do get the funds to enhance security measures, where might they be best spent? In this article, we look at some things that your small business can start doing and implementing to ensure sensitive information is protected and breaches are prevented.
Some Eye-Opening Facts: Cyberattacks Are Much Too Common!
Did you know the number of cyberattacks in 2021 well surpassed those of 2020? And did you know that supply chain attacks alone rose by over forty percent in just the first quarter of 2021? The numbers get more dismal from there. This is why it is so important to act now, see how you can make your small business secure, and, if needed, seek business funding to enable you to protect your company’s information and valuable digital/online assets. Here is what you can do to help bolster your cyber security efforts:
1) Start with your employees
Employees need to be cyber security savvy; in other words, they need to be trained on what to look for, how to institute cyber security best practices, and how to stay vigilant and thus help prevent attacks. Getting employees to understand basic internet principles can go a very long way. So, for example, you could ensure that everyone knows how to spot a phishing email. Instill best practices as far as password creation and password updating. And also want employees to comprehend how vital protecting sensitive customer information is.
2) Check or upgrade your antivirus software
You would be surprised at the number of small businesses with outdated or inactive antivirus software. This is among the first lines of defense when it comes to cyberattacks. You don’t want to settle for the average software you’d find on home computers. As a company protecting the interests and information of its clients, you want superior antivirus software. And when you do install the software, always be on top of those updates.
3) Have multifactor authentication enabled
By now, pretty much everyone is familiar with multifactor authentication. When you or your employees are logging into your company’s systems, you should make sure that they authenticate via their phone or device, as well as provide the password. A password alone may not cut it. This brings us to…
4) Updating those passwords
Regularly updating passwords may seem like a pain at times, yet it is vital as far as best cyber security practices. Get your employees in the habit of doing this where the company systems are concerned. Ensure that strong passwords are being used, including special characters, letters in both lowercase and uppercase, and numbers and try and avoid using readily recognizable words as passwords.
5) Update your payment processing
The one channel in which cybercriminals have easy access to customer information is payment processing. Due to a lack of funds, many small businesses do not have the most updated and latest payment processing tools. This is leaving you vulnerable to attack. Again, here is where seeking additional working capital to help you implement cutting-edge payment processing systems will save your business money in the long run.
6) Back up your company data
Backing up data may seem like it should be a regular part of a company’s technological tasks, yet many fail to do this. Ensure that important documents are backed up, including financial files, HR files, and accounts receivable files, among any other documents you deem essential. Once this information is backed up and securely stored in a cloud-based system, you also have to make sure that that cloud stays secure.
7) Invest in a good firewall
All firewalls are not created equal, nor are virtual private networks (VPNs). It is worth the money to invest in a secure firewall or VPN. While a firewall cannot thwart all cyberattacks, it is a significant layer of defense that genuinely can make a difference in terms of the overall vulnerability of your network.
First Union Lending Can Help You Stay Secure
Our job is to make sure our clients thrive and ultimately grow. It is so important to stay secure and prevent the kinds of cyberattacks that could cripple your business. This often takes money. Whether investing in a VPN, better and newer software or bringing in an expert to help train your team, you will likely need additional funding. This is where we come in. We offer small business loans, equipment loans and lines of credit among other products to help your business get the resources it needs. Call today to learn more!