4 Cybersecurity Best Practices

Updated: May 13, 2020

How much IT security does your small or medium-sized business need? Many business owners ask themselves that question, and think that surely they don’t need the same kind of cyber defenses as a large corporation. But they also recognize that they do need something more advanced than a free antivirus software.

Data security has become a big issue for companies, and even the smaller ones aren’t safe. Actually, they tend to get attacked more because hackers expect them to be easier to get into than a large enterprise.

71% of ransomware attacks in 2018 targeted small businesses.

While attacks in the past may have meant a virus infecting your system that you could have removed, today they’re much more sophisticated and malicious. Hackers now use things like ransomware to encrypt your files and demand a bitcoin ransom to return them. They are also after databases of sensitive information like customer credit card numbers or employee SSNs or login credentials that they can sell on the Dark Web.

While IT solutions for businesses have helped small businesses get ahead with flexible cloud solutions that allow them to work from anywhere and time-saving automations, they also bring with them multiple ways for hackers to breach your network.

How do you balance cost with data security best practices? Read on for the cybersecurity strategies that pack the biggest punch for your money.

Top Strategies for Data Security

Investing in your IT security can help you avoid devastating costs later. The cost of just one file that’s breached in a cyberattack is $150. Multiply that times the average number of files compromised in a data breach (25,575) and that’s a potential cost of over $3.8 million.

The costs of a security incident cause many smaller companies to go out of business because they can’t recover fully. Costs involved in a data breach, whether from malware, a virus, or something else, include:

  • Cost of lost productivity and downtime
  • Cost of emergency IT help
  • Cost of lost business
  • Cost of loss of customer trust and repeat business
  • Fines from data privacy compliance violations (HIPAA, PCI, etc.)

When you’re planning a solid cybersecurity strategy, you want to start from the most impactful strategy first then work your way down and end up with multiple strategies that handle different areas of your network security and blanket your technology with protection.

Secure Your Passwords

Often your weakest password is the only thing standing between your data and a hacker. 81% of hacking-related data breaches are due to stolen or weak passwords, so focusing on good password security strategies can make a big impact on your overall cybersecurity.

Telling users to use strong passwords isn’t enough. Often, they’ll fall into bad password habits such as reusing passwords in multiple logins and making them easy to remember and weak.

Here are the two best methods to improve password security, and they are either free or fairly low-cost:

  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication on All Logins

  • Use a Password Management Application

Address Phishing with Training & Applications

Phishing is by far the main way that malware and other malicious threats are delivered to devices and then spread throughout entire business networks. These fake emails use all types of psychological tactics to get an unsuspecting user to click on a malicious link or download a dangerous attachment.

The best way to combat phishing emails is through both user training and software to backstop your users.

Training employees regularly (not just once) on how to spot phishing emails and what to do if they suspect one can arm them with important knowledge. Then employ an anti-phishing application that can help prevent phishing from getting through in the first place and that offers a scanning utility to review links and attachments before they get to your employees.

Have Your Updates and Patches Managed

Technology is always hungry for the next update. It seems nearly every time you login there is another software, firmware, or operating system update alert. If you’re counting on users to handle these updates themselves, you could be leaving yourself open to an attack.

Over the past two years, 60% of organizations that had a data breach say it was due to exploited vulnerabilities that had a patch but that patch was never applied.

A cost-effective way to have all your patches and updates managed is to sign up for an IT support plan. These include preventative maintenance, 24/7 monitoring, and much more, but they also include patch management. For example, even our Basic support plan at Cleartech Group will have your security patches covered.

Back Up Your Data to the Cloud

Businesses that end up recovering from a ransomware attack the fastest and without paying a ransom are those that have a reliable backup they can restore. There are multiple ways that your data can be lost, and most companies consider themselves “down” if they can’t access their digital files.

Cloud backup solutions are the best protection against any number of different threats that can cause data loss and cause harm to your business.

Can Your Network Withstand the Next Ransomware Attack?

How strong is your cybersecurity strategy? Cleartech Group can help you find out with an IT security assessment. We’ll let you know where you stand and how to address any potential vulnerabilities to ensure your Central or Northern Massachusetts area business is protected from all those threats out there.

Contact us today to discuss your security options! Call us to chat at 978-466-1938 or fill out our online form: click here.