Cybersecurity practices that all small businesses should follow

Cyber Security Practices

Best cybersecurity practices

Many small business owners do not consider cybercrime a threat. They often assume that if they believe they have nothing worth stealing, it will rule out the possibility of a cyberattack. However, that is never the case. In fact, cybercriminals tend to target the most vulnerable companies – primarily being SMEs. Just because you’re a small business, it does not mean cybercriminals don’t have their eyes on you. This is why it is vital for small businesses to learn how to implement strong cybersecurity practices.

Moreover, studies show that small businesses are more prone to cyberattacks. In fact, Aviva reported that almost one in ten UK small businesses experienced a cyberattack in 2023. Many experts cite a lack of effective security measures as one of the prime reasons why small businesses are a soft target for cybercriminals.

So, to keep the hackers at bay, we hope to equip you with some crucial knowledge to bring to your business. Below, we discuss some of the best cybersecurity practices that can make a difference to your defence and preparedness:

  1. Educate your employees

Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for a weak link to exploit and gain access to business’ critical systems. The most common scenario is an employee who, often unknowingly, provides them with a window of opportunity. To help your employees understand the importance of strong cybersecurity practices, conduct regular workshops and training sessions.

Invite industry experts to your organisation to discuss trends in cybersecurity as well as the latest tools used by cybercriminals to execute cyberattacks. Make sure every employee including your outsourced IT support team in London incorporates safe browsing habits. Educate your employees on how to react during a cyberattack and conduct live fire training exercises. Implement a plan to effectively communicate cybersecurity information to different teams.

These cybersecurity practices are not only for your organisation’s safety and security. In addition, these measures may be required to fulfil IT compliance and company data regulations.

  1. Use a firewall

Your firewall is the first line of defence against potential cyberattacks. A firewall works by preventing any unauthorised person from outside access the business’ intranets. Your firewall is the link between your local network and the Internet, and functions by monitoring the incoming and outgoing traffic. Ultimately, it decides the users who should get access and those who should be denied permission to connect.

It is vital that every business with a digital footprint, regardless of its size, must use a firewall. Lately, many businesses, in addition to using standard firewalls, have started opting for internal firewalls. These are essential for any ‘work from home’ employees you may have. So, ensure they have a firewall installed on their home network. And, to assist your remote employees further, instruct your cybersecurity team to provide firewall software and support for home networks. This will not only ensure their security, but comply with any necessary regulations.

  1. Backup data at regular intervals

A fool proof cybersecurity plan does not exist. Despite your IT service provider going the extra mile to close loopholes in your cybersecurity policy, risk always remains. You cannot rule out the chances of a cybercriminal counteracting security measures to get access to your system.

An effective cybersecurity plan does not simply detail steps that should be taken to prevent cyberattacks. It should also prioritise the matter of disaster recovery. Your plan should include the cybersecurity practices to help mitigate loss in case a cybercriminal successfully breaches your security. To help ensure a breached business does not lose critical data, experts advise backing up critical data regularly. This could include databases, financial files, and electronic spreadsheets.

Furthermore, backup your cloud data. To ensure your backup is functioning accurately, test it regularly. If you find any issues, opt for a new backup. To avoid data loss due to an act of nature, use servers located in different locations to store your backup.

  1. Use anti-malware software

When it comes to lowering the risk cyberattacks, installing anti-malware software can make a world of difference. Many common online tactics will target your employees for company data, such as phishing, password attack and IP spoofing. Therefore, it is vital that your employees are not only aware of risk, but have the protection installed on their work devices.

More importantly, do not just install and forget your anti-malware software. There is no point in purchasing anti-malware software if you don’t renew it. Instead, keep looking for updates that provide security against evolving threats. And ensure auto-renew is switched on for all devices with your software provider.

  1. Be careful when deciding who gets access to what

Make sure only those who work on critical systems get access to that particular system. Monitor your team members and third-party employees who have the most access.

Placing strict admin controls on your workplace devices is key to mitigating the risk of employees accidentally exposing data. Have systems in place that allow your IT support in London to check who accessed critical data and when.

Stay aware of the five key cybersecurity practices

All in all, being aware of these five important cybersecurity practices will bring you one step closer to stopping cybercriminals from gaining access to your data.

Protecting your data and network with cybersecurity tools and systems is important. But, for a small business with a limited budget for cybersecurity defences, knowledge is equally valuable. There’s no point spending your whole budget on the newest encryption technology if your employees can’t recognise a simple malware scam. That’s why small businesses must ensure they stay ahead of cyberactivity trends and encourage cybersecurity awareness in the workplace.

Above all, small to medium sized businesses should invest in their employees as a first line of defence. And remember, do not underestimate the value of your business data, no matter the size of your company.

If you would like any further guidance on the best cybersecurity practices for your London based small business, please get in touch with our team at totality services.