Navigating Cybersecurity for Small Businesses: Simple Steps to Protect Your Company

By James Fair, Senior Security Architect at Executech

In today’s world, the constant news of cybersecurity breaches can be overwhelming. For small businesses without the budget for expensive tools and services, these challenges can seem especially daunting. However, initiating cybersecurity measures doesn’t have to be overly complicated or costly. Here are practical, actionable steps to start protecting your company:

Overcoming Resistance: Balancing Security and Usability

Introducing new security measures may initially meet some resistance due to the perceived inconvenience. However, finding a balance is essential. Explaining the importance of these measures can help in gaining employee cooperation and ensuring that security protocols integrate smoothly into daily operations without significantly hindering productivity.

Security on a Budget: Layering Your Defenses

Security is all about creating layers to reduce risk. Implementing all measures at once isn’t feasible for most small businesses, so it’s crucial to develop a roadmap to gradually enhance your security. Begin with a few manageable steps that can make a significant impact right away.

Tackling the Overwhelm: Start with Low-Hanging Fruit

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA adds a critical layer of security by making it more challenging for attackers to gain access to accounts, especially when passwords may be compromised. This simple addition can provide a substantial boost in security.
  2. Staff Training: Educate your team with security training from a reputable provider or online resource to help employees recognize and handle various threats.
  3. Simulated Phishing Campaigns: Conduct internal phishing campaigns to help employees recognize and avoid real-world attacks. This proactive approach prevents costly security breaches by raising awareness.

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Additional Measures for Comprehensive Protection

To further enhance your company’s defenses, consider these steps:

  1. Regular Software Updates: Keep all software, operating systems, and applications up to date to mitigate vulnerabilities. To drive the point home, consider that last month’s update (as of this writing) from Microsoft addressed 155 code vulnerabilities in Windows including 3 ranked as critical and 145 marked as important.
  2. Strong Password Policies: Implement policies requiring strong, unique passwords of at least 12 characters. I’ll provide more details in a future article but, unfortunately, browser-based password managers are no longer a secure measure. Utilizing a reputable password manager can help in securely managing and storing passwords.
  3. Regular Backups: Ensure critical data is regularly backed up to secure cloud storage. Regular testing of these backups is essential to guarantee data can be recovered following a ransomware attack or accidental loss.
  4. Robust Firewalls: Ensure that firewalls are in place not only at the network’s edge but also on individual devices, such as Windows computers by utilizing the built-in Windows Advanced Firewall.
  5. Least Privilege Access: Limit employee access to only the data necessary for their job functions. This minimizes potential damage in the event of account compromises.

 Find Expert Guidance

Building a solid cybersecurity foundation is possible even on a tight budget. For additional advice or guidance on cybersecurity and compliance topics, don’t hesitate to reach out for expert assistance.

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