Effective Cybersecurity Measures for SMBs

Cybersecurity is a critical concern for SMBs. The good news is that some of the most effective cybersecurity measures are achievable even with a limited budget.
Effective Cybersecurity Measures for SMBs

Cybersecurity is one of the most important concerns for small and medium businesses (SMBs). Although many SMBs consider themselves too small to be a target, they may in fact be more at risk of cyber-attacks than large or enterprise companies. SMBs need to prioritize cybersecurity measures because criminals target smaller businesses because they see them as easy targets. The good news is that some of the most effective cybersecurity measures are easily achievable, even with a limited budget.

Here are some of the most impactful cyber security measures that I’ve helped small or medium businesses effectively implement, even with a limited budget:

Password Management

Implementing a strong password policy is low-cost and an effective way to improve security at your SMB. The best practice in this modern era is to require employees to use strong, unique passwords that are changed annually. In addition to a strong password, multi-factor authentication (MFA), should be enabled on all accounts. MFA requires a user to provide a second form of authentication, such as a one-time code when logging in. Finally. providing employees with a secure company-administered password manager allows employees to manage their work passwords and access shared credentials. Secure passwords, MFA, and password managers significantly reduce the risk of a data breach.

Employee Training

Your employees are the first line of defense against cyber threats. As such, they should receive regular training on cybersecurity best practices, such as identifying phishing emails, understanding the risks of public Wi-Fi, and handling sensitive data. Educating your employees will make them more aware of the risks and how to avoid them. Cybersecurity education should be an ongoing practice within your SMB utilizing proven training and testing methods.

Regular Software Updates

Keeping your software and operating systems up to date is an effective way to limit cybersecurity risks. New vulnerabilities are discovered in software and operating systems regularly which can be exploited to gain access to your systems or platforms. Once a bad actor has access to a system they can traverse systems to access servers, cloud platforms, data, or communication platforms to deploy ransomware or engage in fraudulent activity using an SMBs reputation. It is important that all software, including operating systems, web browsers, network appliances, and applications, are updated regularly to prevent unauthorized access. There are many low-cost software tools available that are designed to assist with maintaining updates.

Network Security

Securing your SMBs network is critical to preventing security breaches. A firewall from a reputable vendor with strong security features to monitor and limit incoming and outgoing traffic is critical to protecting systems on your network. Wireless networks should be restricted to managed business devices in order to prevent compromised systems from gaining network access. Guest wireless networks should be completely segmented from the company network. Additionally, access to sensitive data should be limited to only those who need it to perform their job functions. Lastly, data should always be encrypted at rest and in transit.

Regular Backups

Because a cybersecurity incident isn’t a matter of “if” but “when,” regularly backing up your data is a crucial part of a cybersecurity strategy. In the event of a cyber-attack, having a recent backup of your data will allow you to recover quickly and minimize any damage. That said, it is not enough to have copies of data – your backups need to be immutable. Consider using cloud storage or an external hard drive to store backups offsite and off the company network.

Cybersecurity is a critical concern for all businesses. The measures outlined above will improve an SMBs cybersecurity posture and reduce risk without having a major impact on the bottom line. The key to minimizing the risk of a cybersecurity incident is to ensure that your SMB has the right policies and systems in place and that everyone in your organization is aware of current cyber risks and knows how to prevent them. It is possible to implement these cybersecurity measures and keep your business prepared for cyber threats, without a major investment.