As a small business with a tight budget, it might be tempting to overlook securing your IT operations. After all, why would cybercriminals target your business when there’s not much to steal? On the contrary, recent reports show that 47% of small businesses experienced a cyberattack in 2017, 44% of which suffered two to four attacks. It is exactly this complacent mindset that makes small companies attractive targets. To help keep your organization safe, here are some best practices from IT support experts.#1. Train your staff on cybersecurity
Though your system might be equipped with firewalls and antivirus software, it only takes one click of a malicious email to put your company at risk. Hackers know that the most vulnerable part of any network is the end users and they often take advantage of this using fraudulent emails. In fact, 92.4% of malware is sent through email. That’s why it’s important to train your staff to develop good security habits and be aware of the latest online scams.
#2. Promptly install software updates
Cybercriminals thrive on exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated software that can simply be avoided with a software patch. Patches defend software against the latest threats and bugs. If you fail to run the latest version, you are opening yourself up to performance and security issues. The only solution is to update your software as soon as patches are available. Patch management software will help you stay on top of this.
#3. Regularly back up your data
Hackers pick on small businesses because they are more likely to pay a ransom to restore their data. A better alternative is to invest in a data backup plan so that any information that is lost or compromised during a breach can easily be recovered. There’s a lot that goes into backing up your data, so consider working with a top-notch backup provider to discuss your options.
#4. Enhance password security
According to the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 81% of data breaches happened because of weak or stolen passwords. Employees should therefore be trained not to recycle their passwords and entirely change their passwords in the event of a cyberattack. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends using passphrases, a password composed of sentences or a group of words, such as “ilikestrawberryshakesandcream01256”. Not only is it easier to remember, but it is also much more difficult for cybercriminals to crack. Two-factor authentication — which adds another layer of security on top of passwords in the form of temporary SMS codes or fingerprint scans — is also highly recommended.
#5. Invest in good power protection
Your IT operations are not only in danger from hackers, power surges and outages can also have damaging effects such as shortening the lifespan of your PC technology and wiping data if they occur during a backup. To mitigate the risks, make sure that you are protected with Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), which keep your computers running for a limited time so you can save your work and safely shut down your equipment when power is suddenly cut off or disrupted.
If you find implementing these best practices overwhelming, it might be best to look into enhancing your current IT team with an external vendor or completely outsourcing your IT operations. Hiring a third party with expertise will not only secure your business, but it will also allow you to focus more on your core business.
For all of your IT management and maintenance concerns, trust only the best in the business —Frontline, LLC. We proudly provide IT consulting and support for small and mid-size companies in the greater Los Angeles area. Give us a call today to get started.