5 Tips You Need to Know About Cybersecurity

The average cyberattack costs Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) over $200,000. For many small businesses, this can be an entire year’s worth of overheads like salaries, rent, utilities and other key expenses. 

Unsurprisingly, many SMEs can’t weather the damage of a cyber-attack. 60% of them fail within six months of one but that doesn’t have to happen to your business. Learn why cybersecurity is essential and discover some cost-effective and essential strategies companies should consider below. 

Quick Tip: Before diving into the importance of cybersecurity, there’s something you can do right now to improve your online safety. Hide your IP address, and be sure to avoid websites that show unsecured website connections, and only visit a secured connection instead.

You might be thinking, “why should I hide my IP address?” Well, your IP address is a unique identifier that hackers can use to track what you do online. They can then leverage this information to gain access to your personal or professional accounts or launch a cyber-attack against your business. 

This is why you should enable a VPN anytime you connect to the internet. VPNs are not only affordable, but they also work across all devices and make it almost impossible for anybody to track what you do. Secure website connections is designed to protect data sent between two computers on the internet. Secure connections will mask confidential data from third parties, and verify the identity of the party with whom information is being exchanged. Thus it provides security for your information and will protect you from cyber-attacks.

Why Your Business Is A Target For Cybercriminals

Many small and medium-sized firms have the misconception that they’re too small to be of interest to hackers. This belief is 100% false. Over 70% of all cyber-attacks happen to firms with 100 or fewer employees.  

It may surprise you, but there’s a logical reason for this. All companies have valuable data. They may store employee or customer records containing sensitive information like personal identification numbers, addresses and bank account information. 

Even if hackers aren’t interested in your data, they could lock you out of your files via a ransomware attack to force you to pay a ransom fee. Since cybercriminals know that downtime costs businesses money, it’s easy for them to target small companies and force their victims to pay.  

At the same time, SMEs tend to have much lower security protocols compared to larger firms. They’re less likely to invest in security technologies and training, making them easier targets. These pervasive factors mean that there has never been a more important time than now to take cybersecurity seriously. 

Five Steps To Improved Cybersecurity

Improving your firm’s cybersecurity doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Here are five easy and cost-effective tools and strategies you can apply now: 

1. Always Enable a VPN

As mentioned, VPNs hide IP addresses and they also encrypt internet connections. This dual layer of security means that it’s not only much more difficult for hackers (or anybody, for that matter) to track what you do online, but it also implies that if they do, it’s not easy to tie it back to you. 

Don’t forget that using the internet doesn’t just mean surfing the web. It involves accessing cloud-based SaaS tools, accessing your network remotely, and using most desktop apps these days since they often rely on internet connection. 

Whether it’s for personal or professional device usage, enable a VPN at all times. Not sure where to start? Check out today's top rated VPN for your reference.

2. Improve Your Account Security 

70% of internet users recycle their passwords. It’s easier than remembering a unique password for all your online accounts but it’s also dangerous because if a hacker gains access to one of your passwords, all your other accounts will be in jeopardy. 

Follow the advice you see everywhere and use lengthy, complex and unique passwords that combine letters, numbers and special characters. 

Sounds challenging to remember all those passwords? Then invest in a password manager. Password managers will help you generate, store and manage passwords. You can even use them to share passwords with your staff securely. 

There are plenty of affordable options out there, starting for as low as a few dollars per month. While searching for the appropriate tool that works for you, be sure to look out for additional features like multi-factor authentication and biometrics - facial and fingerprint scans. 

3. Backup Your Network & Devices Routinely 

As mentioned, ransomware locks users out of essential files. The easiest way to block these threats is to have access to backups. 

 By routinely backing up your systems, you’ll have control over your data. Make sure you use file encryption too so that the only person who can access your data is you or authorized personnel. 

4. Update, Update, Update 

71% of people ignore security warnings. Only 38% of users keep their systems up to date. Hackers always find new ways to attack applications and operating systems. Fortunately, most reputable developers create security patches to fix weaknesses or bugs, once spotted. All you have to do is update your device for free. Surprisingly, people skip updates all the time. You can turn on auto-updates to have them installed in the background during non-working hours, if you don't want to deal with updates during work hours. 

Likewise, check at least 1-2 times per week to see if you have any urgent updates and be sure to do this for all your connected devices. 

5. Be Careful What You Click On

The majority of malware arrive via downloads or links. If you don’t click on the malware, there’s no way for it to access your computer. 

Anytime somebody sends you a file, take a few seconds to confirm whether it is a real file or a potential malware. Regardless of how well you know the sender or the website, scan all files and links before you click on them. It only takes a few seconds and will radically reduce the risk of malware infection. 

Cybersecurity is neither difficult nor expensive. Invest in these cost-effective and straightforward strategies and train your staff on implementing these measures. This way, you’ll give your firm the security it needs to survive during these challenging economic times.