How Businesses Of Any Size Can Protect Themselves From Cyberattacks

When it comes to business cybersecurity, there’s no such thing as “too small a target.” If your company uses poor cybersecurity practices, leaving sensitive customer or company data at risk, hackers can exploit those vulnerabilities to accomplish their goals—no matter how big or small your company is.

In the same way, however, cybersecurity doesn’t have to require major capital to implement. Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council each share one practical, affordable way a company of any size can protect itself and its data from hackers and phishing attacks, and why these methods are so effective.

1. Set Strong Password Guidelines

A practical defense would be to set strong guidelines when employees are creating passwords. This includes mandating that all personnel use strong, unique passwords for each and every account they access. Password managers are another option for businesses looking to safeguard employee credentials and lessen the likelihood of data loss due to compromised passwords. A company’s data may be protected in large part by training personnel on cybersecurity best practices, such as avoiding questionable emails and websites. – John Hall, Calendar

2. Routinely Update Your Software

Regularly update your software, including operating systems, applications and security software. Software updates often include important security patches that address known vulnerabilities and protect against new threats. By keeping their software up to date, companies can significantly reduce their risk of being targeted by hackers or falling victim to malware and other cyberattacks. Regular software updates can be easily scheduled and automated, and many software vendors provide alerts and reminders to notify users of new updates. Additionally, companies can take advantage of free or low-cost vulnerability scanning tools to identify any potential security issues in their systems and prioritize which software updates to apply first. – Devesh Dwivedi, Devesh Dwivedi

3. Train Employees On Cybersecurity Best Practices

One of the most effective ways to protect against hacking or phishing attacks is to educate employees about how to identify and avoid them. Employees should be taught how to recognize suspicious emails, links and attachments, as well as how to report any suspicious activity. Employees should be taught to understand the benefits of regular software updates, strong passwords and antivirus software. This can be done affordably through regular online training sessions, workshops or courses. By educating all their employees, a company of any size can significantly reduce their chances of falling victim to hackers and phishing attacks. – Eddie Lou, CodaPet

4. Implement Two-Factor Authentication

One of the most affordable ways for a company to protect itself and its data from hackers and phishing attacks is to implement two-factor authentication across the board. This adds an extra layer of security when stakeholders in or outside of the company access needed information and prevents any sort of unauthorized access. This authentication process requires users to enter an additional password or code sent to their personal devices or emails immediately after they attempt to log in. So, even if hackers gain access to users’ login credentials somehow, it’d be difficult for them to bypass the extra layer of security as they’d need the real-time system-generated code to do so. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

5. Establish Your ‘Normal’

At my company, we have established a communication protocol that’s our “normal.” Anything that is outside of normal is immediately brought to the attention of the entire company. For example, we use Slack all the time to communicate. Once, a phisher contacted an employee instead via email with an email address similar to mine, and so it was immediately suspicious. We talked about this in our company and made everyone aware of such attacks. This simple communication strategy and the openness and willingness to talk about security make a huge difference to us—and it’s free! So, look for simple ways to educate people and communicate in a consistent way so that anything different is caught fast. – Blair Williams, MemberPress

6. Safeguard Cardholder Data

Don’t save credit card information in house. Cardholder data that is stored in a company’s own database is exposed to several internal and external risks, with potentially devastating results. If a company does not safeguard cardholder data, they are at risk of losing customer confidence in addition to creating a slew of legal problems. Instead, save everything in a merchant gateway vault. This way, even your employees don’t have access to the full credit card numbers. They may have access to a security token but not the full card number. Check for updates regularly and always turn on two-step verification for all employee accounts for added security. – Shu Saito, All Filters

7. Schedule Regular Backups

Schedule regular backup and recovery times to ensure that data is fully recoverable in case of an emergency. Hackers are getting increasingly creative by the day when it comes to cyberattacks, inventing ways to bypass defenses like spam filters and infiltrate vulnerabilities. A good idea would be to back up your data in the cloud. Platforms like Google Drive File Stream can help you save files stored on your computers to Google’s cloud backup system. Having an external backup hard drive also allows enough space for these utilities to function correctly. – Brian David Crane, Spread Great Ideas

8. Leverage An Encrypted File-Sharing System

One practical and affordable way business leaders can protect sensitive company data is to use an encrypted file-sharing program. Hackers and phishers will have a much easier time accessing this information if it’s shared through email or text messages. You can reduce the chances of this happening to you by investing in a tool where company data can be safely transferred and stored. Most programs are extremely affordable and can pay for themselves if they prevent just one cyberattack. – Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

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