The 7-Point Cybersecurity Checklist for SMBs in 2021

January 13, 2021
small business cybersecurity checklist

As a small business owner, you might be tempted to think that hackers primarily target large corporations with billions at stake and effectively ignore the importance of reinforcing the security of your digital assets.

According to the Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, in 2020, 28% of small businesses were affected by one or more forms of data breaches. So, not even SMBs are immune to malicious cyberattacks.

In 2021, cybersecurity should be one of your company’s top priorities as you look forward to strengthening the security of your data and customer information. Having a small business cybersecurity checklist will enable your SMBs to concentrate on core business without worrying about your enterprise’s data security.

Why is Data Security Important to a Business?

It is vital to view the issue of cyberattacks as a matter of “when” and not “if” as you don’t know the time hackers will compromise your systems. In this article, we provide a nuanced small business cybersecurity checklist.

But first, let’s look at why is data security important to a business.  Here are the top reasons you need to safeguard the integrity, availability, and quality of your critical company data from cyberattacks.

·       Because of their weak security measures, SMBs are more vulnerable to attacks than large corporations

·       Criminals can compromise confidential customer details leading to business losses and even complete business shutdown

·       Loss of reputation resulting from data breaches can have long-term implications on business growth and success

·       Proper data security for small businesses ensures uninterrupted business operations increasing productivity and ROI

·       For SMBs, data breaches are potential business-ending events

·       Data breaches are costly

Understanding why is data security is important to a business is the first step towards building an effective checklist that will cushion your business from expensive data breaches.

Cybersecurity Checklist

Here are 5 things you need to keep in your small business cybersecurity checklist for 2021.

1.       Undertake a thorough Risk Assessment

Protect your most valuable assets by conducting a risk assessment analysis. Such analyses reveal vulnerabilities in servers, databases, and websites allowing you to seal up loopholes before attackers take advantage of them. Risk assessment is a holistic process that covers everything from staff training, outdated infrastructure to mitigation measures.

2.       Invest in Data Encryption Technologies

You cannot keep relying on basic methods of encryptions that hackers can easily maneuver to gain access to your systems. In your small business cybersecurity checklist, consider two-factor (2FA) authentication and reinforce it with artificial intelligence to protect your websites and social media accounts from brute force attacks and unwanted intrusions.  Discourage users from using the same passwords across their devices and website accounts

3.       Disaster Backup and Recovery

Disaster Backup and Recovery

While you might already be having a backup system in place, it is crucial to run a check to ensure that it works and can help you restore your business in case of data breaches. Developing data security for small business systems begins with robust disaster recovery and a backup plan. Since it’s not possible to backup everything, only backup information that is critical for business operations.

4.       Install a Multi-layered Security System (Défense in Depth)

To build an impenetrable wall against cyberattacks, ensure that your security systems use multi-layered protocols.  Your small business cybersecurity checklist should include the use of multi-layered systems in Unified Threat Management (UTM), endpoint protection, email filtering, and mobile security.

5.       Threat Detection Systems

Even with all security measures in place, hackers can still find their way through your systems. Fast and early detection of threats can help prevent the amount of damage hackers can orchestrate. Every data security for small business policy should include an efficient system that flags suspicious activity and automates system shutdown processes that prevent potential threats from infiltrating networks, servers, and databases.

6.       Use Security Permissions to Limit Access

Teamwork and collaboration are invaluable for any business but ensure that you restrict the kind of data users can manipulate. In the small business cybersecurity checklist, include a permission policy system that limits access to data based on the user. This will prevent employees from accessing critical information such as trade secrets and proprietary data.

7.       On-job Cybersecurity Course

Note that you cannot fence off threats effectively without involving the teams that use, store, share, and manipulate organizational data. Therefore, don’t forget to have data security for a small business training course for your teams. This will help them know how to adhere to cybersecurity policies and undertake their operations diligently to avoid falling victims to punitive cyberattacks.

You cannot afford to ignore the importance of safeguarding your business from data breaches because these are potential business-ending events. We understand that some small businesses cannot put up IT teams that will configure their security systems because of overhead costs. That is why you can outsource cybersecurity services from Israel IT. Offshore teams provide affordable and high-grade cybersecurity services for SMBs regardless of their budget, size, and goals. Contact us below for more information.

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