Small-to-medium sized businesses and large enterprises may seem worlds apart, but they face many of the same cyber security threats. In fact, in recent years, cyber criminals have increasingly targeted SMBs. This is because it’s widely known that SMBs have smaller budgets and less in-house expertise than enterprises to devote to protection.
Thankfully, there are several things SMBs can do today to get more from even the most limited security budget. And, no, we aren’t talking about cutting corners. Far too often, SMBs cut the wrong corners and it ends up costing them more money in the long run. This is about taking a smarter approach to security. Here are five smart approaches to take.
- Prioritize – Every business has specific areas or assets critical to its core operations. Seek the input of valued staff and team members to determine what these are. Is there certain data that would be catastrophic if it was lost or stolen? If hackers compromise a network, or prevent access to certain applications, how disruptive would it be to daily business operations? What kind of potential threats or vulnerabilities pose the greatest risk to the company or your customers/clients? Focus on the most likely risks, not theoretical risks that “could happen.” Asking such questions gives you a clearer, more complete perspective as to where to focus available security resources.
- Develop and Enforce Policies – Every SMB needs to implement a security policy to direct employees on appropriate and inappropriate workplace behaviors relative to network systems and data security. Merely drafting this document isn’t enough. It must be centrally stored and distributed to all staff. Employees must be held accountable if they fail to adhere to policy. Such policies should be updated regularly to reflect new technology and cultural shifts. For example, a document written before social media took off or before the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) movement may need to cover different behaviors.
- Educate – Ongoing end user training must be provided. Many security breaches happen because employees fail to recognize phishing schemes, open emails from unknown sources, create poor passwords that are seldom changed, and don’t take proper precautions when using public Wi-Fi connections on personal mobile devices also used for work.
- Take to the Cloud – Running applications and servers in-house is a costly endeavor. Leveraging the cloud today allows SMBs to cut costs while also strengthening their security. Cloud operators typically have built-in security features, alleviating SMBs of the burden of maintaining security themselves. Today, not only can SMBs shift much of the burden of IT to the cloud, but they can also outsource much of their security by taking advantage of the remote monitoring, maintenance, and security tools provided by Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
- Don’t Aim for Perfection – There is no such thing as perfect security. Striving for perfection is expensive and can prove to be more costly in the end. Improving protection and response would be a more ideal allocation of funds. It can take a hacker several months to figure out your systems and do real damage. Having the ability to quickly detect their presence and mitigate any potential damage they may cause is a more realistic and less expensive approach than thinking you can completely remove any probability whatsoever of a hacker breaching your system.
So now that you know the 5 ways to save money on your business’s cyber security protection, how do you get started? Review and share some of our free resources with your staff to begin discussions of your company data. Or give us a call; we’d be happy to help you through this process. Too many cyber criminal scams work because people are in a hurry or simply uninformed. So the more educated you and your employees are, the better protected we can all be.