Cyberattacks are on the rise and small businesses are in the crosshairs. Here we consider some 2020 cyber security best practices that won’t break the bank.
Common cyber security threats
According to recent reports, half of all cyberattacks target small to medium enterprises.
Often, small business owners aren’t fully aware of the risks. They also can’t afford highly sophisticated security systems. This makes them attractive targets.
The statistics are alarming. For example, it’s estimated that:
- a ransomware attack occurs every 14 seconds
- phishing, which accounts for 90% of all reported data breaches, has increased by as much as 65%.
- one in every 323 incoming business emails is infected with malware.
Small business sector under attack
High-tech criminals are using increasingly sophisticated tools and tactics. These enable them to breach network security, steal consumer data and, in up to 60% of cases, force businesses to their knees.
Security best practices for small businesses
So how can cash-strapped small businesses in South Africa defend themselves?
Invest in employee training
Training employees to detect malicious links and emails is an efficient and cost-effective way of preventing malware attacks.
It allows for the containment of the virus before it infects your system and prevents phishing, identify theft and data hacks at the entry-point of the organisation.
Shore up data security
Securing data is paramount to business protection. It involves the secure use and storage of company documents, files, bank statements and sensitive consumer information.
Opting for an efficient cloud-based storage solution, followed by regular data back-ups to the cloud, is an affordable way of boosting data security. It’s also one way of mitigating the effects of possible ransomware attacks.
Assess system security
It’s vitally important to ensure the entire IT system is efficacy- and security-assessed on a regular basis. This entails optimising password protection, updating hardware and software, and securing all business devices.
Implementing website vulnerability and intrusion-detection scanning, installing a virtual private network (VPN) and opting for managed firewall and antiviral services are savvy business investments that can pay for themselves 10-fold.
Implement two-factor password authentication
Weak and insecure passwords are the main culprits behind data hacks. Enforcing a two-factor password authentication protocol across the entire organisation is the easiest way to boost password protection.
Install firewalls and anti-malware software
Cyber-security experts recommend installing both external and internal firewalls, and high-end anti-malware software, as first-step data protection.
Firewall and malware detection and removal tools are low-cost solutions for small businesses. However, it’s business best practice to only download software from recognised vendors of good standing.
Build a shield around hardware and end-points
Protecting business end-points, such as smartphones, laptops and Wi-Fi connections, is as imperative as protecting the data itself.
As a matter of course, all employees should:
- use only dedicated business devices to conduct business
- dispose of data and equipment in the proper manner
- securely send and receive information
- encrypt all backed-up data.
By following these basic steps, small business owners in South Africa can close the gaps cyber criminals identify as a viable means of attack.
What we offer at The Workspace
We don’t offer expert advice on cyber security best practices for small businesses. However, we do offer small businesses a secure, affordable and flexible alternative to traditional office space.
We provide fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our members have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services. Members also enjoy free high-speed internet and secure parking.