5 Essential Best Practices for SMBs to Reduce CyberSecurity Risk

It doesn't get much media mileage, but more than half of small- and medium-sized businesses have experienced a breach. They typically get up to 5,000 security alerts and are only able to investigate around 55.6 percent of these.

SMBs are reporting losses, as well. Around three out of 10 businesses say that a breach cost them up to $100,000, while one in five report losses of $1 million to $2.5 million.

The good news is that you can reduce cybersecurity risks even as a small business. The tools and technologies used by big and multinational companies are at your disposal.

But first, what should you focus on?

When you try to lower your cybersecurity risks, it helps to know where to focus your effort. With a holistic approach to security, there are many things that will crowd your plate. But if you know what's important, then you won’t lose sight of what needs to be done.

When it comes to technology and tools, you need something that will streamline the number of alerts you need to respond to, not add to it. Look for security tools built with “openness,” if not entirely open source. You should be able to integrate it with other tools and technology without too much API work involved.

Your tools should also integrate with your management console. Your aim is to add tools and technology that works with your current cybersecurity system, without requiring extensive configuration.

You can look at several algorithms and statistical models, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data as ways to help detect threats. Choose the ones that work with your deployed security tools, instead of getting a standalone solution.

People and processes

What's more important in lessening your cybersecurity risk – even more than choosing the right tools – are your people and the processes that you have in place.

If you haven't done so, you should implement a cybersecurity strategy that includes things like:

• Getting insurance policies that will cover the cost of and losses from a cyberattack.

• Training employees and end-users about the intricacies of cybersecurity, including how to detect threats and what to do in the event of a hack or data breach.

• Plans for disaster management and business continuity.

What's more, IT should be able to explain how a data breach will impact the organization. You should also be clear as to what actions are going to be taken and by who when there is a threat to investigate and contain. Further, you should have a clear estimate of how long it will take to get business operations back to normal.

The best practices to reduce your cybersecurity risks

So, what do you need to do to lower your cybersecurity risks?

1. Don't reinvent the wheel

Any business will have resources at hand to fight hackers and have a more secure environment. What's more, they can learn from other companies within the same industry. You don't have to think of big plans to secure your system, nor do you need to spend a lot of money.

2. Outsource when you don't have the personnel or technology to keep up

Some SMBs might not have the IT resources or personnel to keep things secure. The good news is that they can avail of managed security services to help them.

3. Keep things simple

When taking stock of your IT processes, tools, and devices, you should have a good idea of which of these are no longer needed. Cut out what's not necessary. For example, a hard drive should be disconnected from the network when it's no longer used to store your files.

4. Up your cyber hygiene practices

Remember when we said don't reinvent the wheel? Continue to follow the cyber hygiene best practices you’ve been following. For one, you should encourage staff to use stronger passwords and use multi-factor authentication to protect accounts.

Install the latest anti-malware and antivirus programs, while also ensuring that you patch all used software. As you can see, these are the things you’re currently doing. All you need to do is make sure everybody in your organization is doing them.

5. Train your employees

“The most important thing that will lower your cybersecurity risks is to train your employees to detect threats and know how to respond,” explains Dan Smith, Co-Founder and CRO at Zeguro. “They should also be familiar with the cybersecurity policies that you have in place and understand why they are necessary.”

The key to reducing your cybersecurity risks

All of the best practices that help you reduce your cybersecurity risk are hinged upon one main idea: Make cybersecurity easy for your employees, while making it more difficult for hackers to succeed. Get this right, and you’re good to go.

With that in mind, you will realize just how easy it is for an SMB to reduce cybersecurity risks. You don’t have to spend millions of dollars just to keep threats away.
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