Small Business Cybersecurity: How to protect your company from thieves and hackers

by | Dec 11, 2023

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Every business, even small ones, must be vigilant to protect their data from hackers and thieves. High-profile breaches that expose consumer information grab the headlines, but in this era of connectivity, any company’s data can be an attractive target. While small businesses usually store less information than large enterprises, the same level of cyber protection is still necessary.

How serious is the cyber threat to small businesses? 

Cybersecurity for small businesses is a lot like playing an expensive game of whack-a-mole—as soon as one vulnerability is addressed, hackers find another. Attacks happen constantly, but security initiatives by internet service providers, combined with measures taken by businesses and individuals to protect their data, mean most attempts are unsuccessful.

In its 2023 Global Threat Report, leading cybersecurity company CrowdStrike described hackers as “relentlessly determined.” The company noted that the scope of attacks continues to increase. Actors and groups from Russia, China, North Korea, and other countries have stepped up efforts to steal data and launch destructive attacks. Some breaches seek to acquire personal and company data that can be sold, leaked for political or competitive gain, or held hostage until a ransom is paid.

In 2022, the average data breach cost increased to $4.45 million, a 2.2% rise over the previous year. According to CrowdStrike’s report, when an entry point is discovered, hackers need an average of only 84 minutes to infiltrate the system and bridge into other connected hosts, servers, and devices. Unless a breach is detected and addressed rapidly, companies risk tremendous financial exposure and damage to their systems, operations, and reputations. Fast action is critical but can only happen if you’re prepared.

Cybersecurity tips for small businesses

Data and network protection begins with awareness about the scope and scale of the threat. The first step is a security audit that identifies vulnerabilities, documents existing cybersecurity measures, describes the tools protecting your network, and details your response in the event of a breach. Security audits required by third parties, such as credit card processors, provide a good framework to follow.

Once you have a clear picture of your environment, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and Small Business Administration (SBA) recommend that businesses fortify their cybersecurity by following these guidelines:

  • Train employees: Demonstrate how to protect sensitive information, spot phishing scams, and identify suspicious files.
  • Install antivirus software: A reputable, fully supported antivirus package should protect every device that accesses your network. Ensure that your company data is password-protected and encrypted.
  • Keep software updated: Install security patches and updates. Delaying an update could allow hackers to exploit known vulnerabilities that could prove devastating. Restricting users from being able to install unapproved software will further reduce the chances of introducing malware to your network.
  • Lock your network: Always use strong passwords to access and log in to networks, devices, and corporate accounts. Use a secure virtual private network (VPN) to prevent access to routers, servers, and other network hardware. Enable two-factor authentication for software and services and be sure that all hardware, including laptops and mobile devices, are protected from theft. You should also establish a “bring your own device” (BYOD) policy to secure employee phones and tablets that access company information.
  • Back up your data: Regular backups will allow you to recover data after a security breach. Be sure to include documents, financial records, current accounts, HR files, and other sensitive business information. Automated cloud-based backups are easy to configure and manage, though some businesses prefer to keep hard drive backups onsite or in a secure off-site location.
  • Use a cloud service provider (CSP): CSPs are third-party vendors that provide scalable hosting, storage, application, and platform services. These companies often have the most robust cybersecurity tools in place and are designed to stay as up to date as possible.

Cybersecurity support from Quantum Fiber

Ultra-fast fiber internet for your business is secure and difficult to physically hack than other internet service options. Plus, we constantly monitor and respond to threats, attacks, and other indications of intrusions to help keep our network secure. Find out why the speed, reliability, and security of fiber internet from Quantum Fiber is a safe choice for your business.

Content Disclaimer - All content is for informational purposes only, may require user’s additional research, and is provided “as is” without any warranty, condition of any kind (express or implied), or guarantee of outcome or results. Use of this content is at user’s own risk. All third-party company and product or service names referenced in this article are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement or affiliation with Quantum Fiber. If Quantum Fiber products and offerings are referenced in the content, they are accurate as of the date of issue. Quantum Fiber services are not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location but, in limited circumstances, Quantum Fiber may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds. ©2024 Q Fiber, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quantum, Quantum Fiber and Quantum Fiber Internet are trademarks of Quantum Wireless LLC and used under license to Q Fiber, LLC.

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