IT resources have become valuable and essential tools in the modern business environment. The trouble is, overreliance on data and IT systems has introduced new security threats to businesses all over the globe. Since data is now so valuable, cybercrime has gone up exponentially over the last few years.
Small and medium-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable to malicious attacks. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, a staggering 43% of cyber-attacks are targeted at small businesses.
Why Your Business Needs IT Security
Some entrepreneurs and small business owners fail to appreciate the importance of investing in cybersecurity. Some business leaders ignore the threat or think that they have nothing to lose. Here are three solid reasons why you should rethink your data and IT security strategy:
- Avoid the crippling cost of data breaches
Recent studies put the average cost of a single data breach at between $1.25 million and $8.19 million. The cost, of course, depends on the company and the severity of the attack. The total cost factors in the cost of downtime, paying the ransom, settling lawsuits, and recovery and restoration. In some cases, the cost of data breaches can be too much for small companies, and they end up going out of business.
- Maintain brand credibility and trust
Once your employees and customers provide you with their personal details, they entrust that information to your business. If sensitive personal information gets exposed or lost in a cyber-attack incident, this trust is broken. It can take a long time to repair the lost credibility and confidence; in most cases, it’s borderline impossible.
- Comply with data security and protection policies
Currently, there are several data security laws and regulations enforced by national and regional governments and standardization bodies. These laws set strict guidelines on how to collect, use, store, and secure sensitive data. Violation of these regulations often attracts hefty fines and penalties.
Protecting Your Business From Cyber Attacks
Clearly, as a small business, you need to have a robust IT security system to ward off unscrupulous cybercriminals. Here is how you can implement a robust cybersecurity strategy.
Work With A Reputable Cybersecurity Provider
You may not have the skills or human resources to secure your business by yourself. Partnering with a third-party cybersecurity service provider might be the best way to realize your security goals. Hari Ravichandran, the founder of Aura, a company that specializes in data protection, firmly believes that all organizations need a helping hand when it comes to data security. A professional cybersecurity provider can help you formulate effective data and network security protocols and provide proactive solutions to seal off vulnerabilities and mitigate risks.
Educate Your Staff
Your employees or staff members should be the company’s first line of defense against cyber-attacks. Educate them about the importance of cybersecurity and what it means to have a secure workplace. This way, it should be easier for them to get on board with the laid-out guidelines and policies. For instance, encourage your employees to observe cyber hygiene and report any suspicious activities or individuals. A security strategy is only as strong as its weakest link, and in most cases, the human factor is the most vulnerable part of a security system.
Maintain A Healthy IT Infrastructure
Ensure that all your IT systems are running smoothly and efficiently. Track the performance of your entire IT infrastructure regularly and make prompt repairs and upgrades whenever necessary. Make sure that all your software applications are up to date the patched with the latest security features.
Maintaining a healthy IT system makes it easy to identify and mitigate potential risks. Besides, a malfunctioning or outdated system might be an easy target for cybercriminals. Some of the most practical IT maintenance solutions for small businesses include cloud computing, and IT managed services.
Beware of Physical Hardware Theft
Many businesses focus on the intangible aspects of cybersecurity, such as firewalls, encryption, and antimalware, and forget about securing their IT systems physically. Even with a small workforce, you should still put in place an authorization system to control the access and use of critical IT resources such as servers, access points, and data centers.
Remember also that devices such as laptops and smartphones can be stolen and used to gain access to secured data. As you invest in cybersecurity, also consider the level of physical security within your business premises. If you have a bring your own device (BYOD) to work policy, make sure that it doesn’t compromise the security measures in place.
As a small business owner, you can’t afford to ignore cybersecurity; it’s no longer an option but a necessity in the modern business environment. Do your due diligence and implement an effective digital security strategy. Craft a strategy that aligns with your business operations and your IT security goals. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to have everyone on board with cybersecurity, including your shareholders, staff members, and even customers.