Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are a vital part of the global economy, accounting for more than half of all jobs in the world. However, these businesses often lack the resources to properly secure their IT infrastructure, and are often the targets of SME cyber attacks (link to Article: How vulnerable are SMEs to cyber attacks?).
During a cyber attack or security breach, hackers can easily gain access to businesses’ websites, systems and even their mobile devices. Hackers can then steal sensitive information and cause serious damage to any SME’s business, reputation and even their revenues. As such, we will discuss 10 tips that SMEs can use to improve their IT and mobile device security. By following these important cyber security tips, you can protect your business from cyber criminals, security risks and sensitive data theft.
Tip #1: Install and maintain anti-virus and anti-malware software
One of the most important things that businesses can do to improve their IT security is to install and maintain anti-virus and anti-malware software on all websites, servers and devices. This software will help to protect your business from malicious code and malware that could be used to damage your system or steal sensitive information. These software work by scanning your system for viruses and malware, and then removing any that are found.
Tip #2: Keep your operating system and software up to date
Another important tip for improving your IT security is to keep your operating system and softwares up to date. By running the latest version of your operating system, you can patch any vulnerabilities that may have been discovered since the last update. In addition, you should also regularly update all of the software applications that you use, as these may also contain security vulnerabilities.
Tip #3: Use strong passwords or passcodes for all online accounts and devices
When creating passwords for any online account, it is important to use strong passwords or passcodes that are difficult for hackers to guess. Strong passwords can be a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and should be at least eight characters long. You should also avoid using easily guessed words such as “password”. In addition, you should never use the same password for multiple online accounts. If you are worried about forgetting your passwords, you can use a password manager to help keep track of them. A password manager works by encrypting your passwords and storing them in a secure location.
Tip #4: Use multi-factor authentication for all online accounts
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an additional layer of security that can be used for online accounts. With MFA, businesses require users to provide two or more pieces of evidence before they are granted access to an account. This could include something that the user knows (such as a password), something that the user has (such as a mobile phone or authentication software) or something that is part of the user (such as a fingerprint).
Tip # 5: Install and use a mobile device management (MDM) solution
If your business uses mobile devices, it is important to install and use a mobile device management (MDM) solution. This software will help to protect your devices from malware and viruses, as well as remotely wipe them if they are lost or stolen. It works by installing a security agent on each device, which will then communicate with a central server.
Tip #6: Encrypt all sensitive data stored on websites or servers
When storing sensitive data on your website or servers, it is important to encrypt this data so that it cannot be accessed by anyone who does not have the encryption key. Data encryption is a process of converting readable data into an unreadable format. This makes it more difficult for hackers to access and steal this information.
Tip # 7: Use a virtual private network (VPN)
Another important tip for SMEs is to use a virtual private network (VPN), which can help to protect your business’s data from being intercepted by cyber criminals. A VPN encrypts all data that is sent over the internet and routes it through a secure tunnel. This makes it more difficult for criminals and hackers to intercept your traffic and access your business’s sensitive information.
Tip #8: Never connect to public Wi-Fi networks
When using public Wi-Fi networks, it is important to never connect to them without first ensuring that the network is secure. Hackers can set up fake Wi-Fi networks in order to gain access to people’s devices and steal sensitive information. As such, you should only connect to public Wi-Fi networks that you trust and always use a VPN when accessing them.
Tip #9: Regularly backup all data stored on websites or servers
In the event of a cyber attack or security breach, you can lose important data that is stored on your website or servers. To protect against this, you should regularly backup all data so that you can restore it if necessary. There are many different ways to backup data, such as using an external hard drive or cloud-based storage services.
Tip #10: Educate employees about cybersecurity risks and best practices
Another important tip for improving your business’s IT security is to educate employees about cybersecurity risks and best practices. By raising awareness of the dangers of cyber attacks, you can help to reduce the chances of your business being targeted. You should also provide employees with training on how to identify and report suspicious activity.
Bonus Tip: Hire a cybersecurity consulting firm
If you are looking for additional help to improve your business’ IT security, consider working with a cybersecurity consulting firm. These firms can provide expert advice and guidance on how to best protect your business from cyber attacks. They can also help you assess your risks and implement security measures to safeguard your business website and systems. Some of the common services that cybersecurity consulting firms offer include security audits, penetration testing, chief information security officer (CISO) as a service, cybersecurity consulting, data protection, and incident response planning.
When it comes to SME IT security, there are a number of steps that businesses can take to improve their protection. By following these tips, you can keep your business safe from cyber criminals and reduce the risk of a security breach.