5 Steps to Prepare Your Business for the Next Wave of Cyber Attacks
Dan Levenson August 11, 2017
Have you read the news lately? Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common—and unfortunately, hackers are becoming increasingly savvy.
Just a few years ago, small businesses were rarely targeted. Now, they are considered prime targets for many hackers who know that owners like you probably don’t have the extensive budget for security often found in larger businesses.
While you can’t close every gap in your security, implementing these five vital processes will help you prepare your small business for the next wave of cyber attacks.
1. Go Beyond Compliance
Industry compliance often lags behind true security—and in today’s tenuous digital climate, simply being compliant isn’t enough to keep your small business safe.
You may hire a security company every year to audit your systems and ensure your compliance. But are you going above and beyond what’s absolutely necessary, taking their recommendations and filling in holes throughout your entire business? If not, you’re leaving your business wide open for a cyber attack.
Instead, make a habit of going beyond the minimum in order to ensure a more effective security strategy for your business.
2. Implement Security Training
You don’t want to think of your employees as potential security hazards, but in fact, they can be one of the biggest security holes in your business. Take the time to train every employee in proper online security, from creating passwords that are harder to crack (or using two-factor authentication instead of traditional passwords for company networks and systems) to avoiding unsafe links and spotting phishing scams before they give out important information.
Your employees can be either your greatest security weakness or your company’s strongest line of defense—and your training can make the critical difference.
3. Update Your Software
When a hacker locates a new exploit, most companies work to patch the problem as quickly as possible. If you aren’t updating your software regularly, however, you won’t be able to take advantage of that fix!
Make sure that you have a policy in place to update your software regularly. Talk to your IT department about staying on top of new security problems so that they can push through updates when necessary in order to keep your company safe. Software that hasn’t been patched can leave your business wide open to attack—and that’s the last thing you want.
4. Purchase Cyber Insurance
The financial impact of a cyber attack can be devastating—and you can’t guarantee that you can close every security hole in your business no matter how hard you try.
By purchasing cyber insurance, you gain both financial protection and legal advice you can rely on to provide you with the vital advice you need when your business falls victim to an attack. Plus, going through the process of obtaining this coverage will help you get a 10,000-foot view of your business, as it will prompt you to answer questions such as:
- Do you have a firewall?
- Do you have restrictions regarding access to sensitive information of a third party?
- Do you have a process for managing computer accounts, including the removal of outdated access accounts in a timely fashion?
- Do you have access control procedures that address access to critical and sensitive computer systems?
- Do you have a written business continuity/disaster recovery plan that includes procedures to be followed in the event of a disruptive computer incident?
- Are system back-up and recovery procedures tested for all mission critical systems and performed at least annually?
Don’t leave your business’s security to chance! Instead, purchase cyber insurance that will protect you in the event of an attack.
5. Create a Contingency Plan
One of the worst parts of a cyber attack is your inability to do business while you’re dealing with the aftermath.
Creating a contingency plan will enable you to get vital functions back up and running faster. This might include a cloud server that will allow you to quickly shift your business to another location in the event of a disaster or data backups that will provide you with the information you need to continue doing business despite the attack.
Cyber attacks are terrifying for both small and large business owners. If you want to provide a deeper layer of protection for your small business, contact us