Cost-effective cybersecurity tips for small businesses

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Small-business owners face more cyberthreats than ever before. While there are advanced cybersecurity solutions that claim to fully protect business networks and data, implementing all of them can add up to a hefty sum. If you’re a small-business owner, you need to be more economic with your cybersecurity strategy. Luckily, there are several affordable and effective tactics you can use to protect your systems and assets. 

Keep your team informed

Educating your team about online safety doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. For starters, you can organize quarterly security training sessions on good security habits like setting long and unique passwords, managing login credentials effectively, and being critical of every email and website. You should also inform staff about the latest phishing tactics, and share practical tips on how to identify and avoid them.

Establish clear security policies

Setting clear rules and expectations for how employees should behave online, handle data, and protect their devices can go a long way in mitigating cybersecurity risks. When employees are fully aware of their cybersecurity responsibilities and know the consequences of failing to comply with company regulations, they’re more likely to follow security best practices. It’s also important to encourage open discussions, where employees can ask and understand what they’re supposed to do in certain situations (e.g., when they spot a suspicious email or see unusual account activity). 

Consider low-cost security software options

Small enterprises frequently function on tight budgets, and that’s perfectly acceptable. You don’t need to spend a fortune on cybersecurity software. There are many affordable and even free security software options available that provide the essential protection against common threats such as malware, network intrusions, and more. Popular antivirus programs like Avast offer free versions that can safeguard your systems without costing a dime.

Keep your systems up to date

Operating system and software updates often contain security patches that fix critical vulnerabilities. By installing these regularly, cybercriminals won’t be able to exploit known weaknesses in outdated software. Set aside some time regularly for your team to update their operating systems, software applications, and device firmware. Make updating a team effort to ensure everyone complies.

Lock up your Wi-Fi network

Your Wi-Fi is like the front door to your company’s digital environment, so you need to lock it up to keep threats out. Instead of using the default password that came with your Wi-Fi network, create a long and unique Wi-Fi password and make sure WPA3 encryption is enabled. You should also consider setting up a guest network that’s completely separate from your main network. These measures will prevent hackers from simply connecting to your network and intercepting valuable data. 

Back up your data

Losing your important data in a blink of an eye can lead to significant financial losses, downtime, reputational damage, and lawsuits. Regular data backups can prevent all this, and there are many cost-effective options out there. Cloud storage services such as OneDrive and Dropbox are not only affordable, but they also automatically back up your data in highly secure data centers. These services even save every edit and version of your documents, making it easy to recover your files in case of computer crashes or a ransomware attack that corrupts your on-premises servers. 

Limit access privileges across your organization

Not all of your information should be accessible to everyone on your staff. Your company should adopt the “need-to-know” principle to limit data access. The more restricted the access, the less chance unauthorized individuals can stumble upon sensitive information. Adherence to this principle minimizes the risk of internal data breaches.

Don’t overlook physical security

Lost or stolen devices can easily lead to a full-scale data breach. That’s why you should keep an eye on your devices and make sure they’re password protected. If possible, avoid using company devices in public spaces because anyone can swipe them when you’re not looking. 

Team up with others

Small businesses in the same community can be like allies in the fight against cyberthreats. Consider establishing a network where businesses share their experiences and insights on staying safe online. A collective effort enhances the overall security posture of each enterprise involved, creating a supportive community against digital threats.

If your business is in and around Charlotte, NC, consider teaming up with our experts at Refresh Tech. Whether it’s guiding your IT plans or offering cybersecurity services and solutions, we at Refresh are here to ensure your data is safe and your systems are running effectively. Contact us today.