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Most Effective Cybersecurity Strategy For A Small Business [We Asked 45+ Experts]

effective cybersecurity strategy for a small business

In this roundup post, we will reveal the most effective cybersecurity strategy for a small business.

Small business owners encounter a series of cyber threats, which might be deadly depending on their impact. 

We asked top executives, small business owners, and cybersecurity experts the following question: What Is the Most Effective Cybersecurity Strategy for a Small Business?

So after several email requests, Skype interviews, and phone calls, we were able to get some valuable responses.

48 Effective Cybersecurity Strategy For A Small Business

  1. Paul Lipman – CEO of BullGuard Cybersecurity Company

cybersecurity strategy for small business

A multifaceted cybersecurity approach is the best cybersecurity strategy. Small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks as these companies are typically not as well protected as their larger enterprise counterparts.

It’s imperative for small businesses to develop a cohesive cybersecurity plan that includes and communicates standards for security software to be run on every device on which work is done.

Security software must include anti-phishing capabilities to protect data and prevent security breaches.

  1. Lev Barinksiy – CEO of SmartFinancial Insurance

cyber insurance for business

Several insurance companies currently offer cyber insurance to small businesses. Although, it is helpful for a small business to recruit a network defense specialist to improve their overall cybersecurity in their business environment.

Down the line, when cyber insurance becomes generally accepted, it will definitely become a prerequisite for small business owners to provide the audit of the company’s defensive processes.

  1. Braden Perry – Cybersecurity Attorney at Kennyhertz Perry, LLC

stringent cybersecurity policy

I work with a number of companies on cyber intrusions. The biggest trend is the increase in outsider attacks on both small and large companies.

For outsider attacks, these cyber threats target company websites to deliver malicious payloads, which can cause serious damages.

With a stringent cybersecurity implementation and policy, small business owners can mitigate outsider attacks significantly.

  1. Logan Kipp – Director at SiteLock

educate employees on security best practices

Implement training & education: With the sudden shift to remote work, small businesses should educate their employees on security best practices when working online. From spotting phishy emails to utilizing two-factor authentication (2FA) along with a strong password, businesses can help ensure their employees are taking all necessary steps internally to protect themselves. By teaching employees to keep security top of mind at all times, businesses can also establish a standard operating procedure, or “SOP,” on how documents should be handled and how potential vulnerabilities should be reported when working remotely.

Utilize VPN & website security tools: SMBs should use a virtual private network (VPN) when relying on external networks, even employees’ home networks, where management of security controls is outside of the company’s scope. VPNs protect data by encrypting it as it’s transmitted across shared or public networks, keeping sensitive information, such as SSNs, passwords and credit card numbers, from being exposed. Additionally, small businesses should be routinely scanning their websites for malware and vulnerabilities. By being proactive with their cybersecurity hygiene, organizations can help to ensure that their customers and their data remain safe and secure.

Be aware of the data you’re sharing: From inputting customer information into an online form to simply sending an email, businesses need to be aware of the private information they are sharing on the web. By being careful with sensitive information, businesses can limit the risk for catastrophic data leaks if they fall victim to a hack or breach.

  1. Kenny Trinh – Founder & CEO of NetbookNews

backups are essential

The perfect cybersecurity strategy for a small business is regular backups. Backups are essential most especially in a small business environment. Likewise, relying on human intervention, such as plugging in a flash drive, is a sure-fire recipe for cybersecurity failure.

  1. Stacy Clements – Owner of Milepost 42, and Retired Air Force Cyber Operations Officer

nist cybersecurity framework

An effective cybersecurity strategy for a small business requires identifying cyber risks and determining appropriate ways to mitigate those risks and respond to cyber events. The NIST Cybersecurity Framework provides this strategy for small businesses, with best practices based on input from government, academic, and private sector professionals.

The Framework was deliberately designed to be flexible, so it can be used for different sizes and types of entities. Because it’s a free resource, there are several sectors who have already created customized resources, such as the National Restaurant Association Toolkit for Restaurant Operators. Using the Framework to define and mitigate risk is a great strategy for small business owners.

  1. Vince Fishbone – Cybersecurity Expert at Kingpin Private Browser 

Use antivirus software and firewalls

I recommend that small business should secure themselves with antivirus software and firewalls in the first place. Even if it sounds basic, you would be surprised how many companies are not using up to date anti-malware solutions. That should be your first-level defense.

Both access control strategy and cybersecurity minimize human error. It is crucial to determine who in the company structure will have access to different types of data. Every access should be recorded in the log file.

Many attacks or information leaks are dependent on the employees. Hackers often use social engineering for that purpose. Where possible, implement multi-factor authentication and reduce the chance of ransomware attack by regular backups.

  1. Marty Puranik – President & CEO of Atlantic.Net, a HIPAA-Compliant Web Host

Use a vetted third-party cybersecurity solution provider

Companies should be seeking a solution that mitigates current cybersecurity challenges, provides ongoing support, and also helps off-set risks from the evolving threats of the future.

Small businesses could be utilizing their resources in good faith and providing training to staff but the challenges and threats are incredibly diverse and can require a wide range of expertise.

So, the best practice is to continue to focus on the core function of your business and let a vetted third-party provider take care of the rest. They have trained professionals that not only help deploy the best solutions but also provide ongoing support and are always available to help support your business.

  1. Mike Shelah – Account Executive at Advantage Industries

technology training insurance process documentation

The best Cybersecurity Strategy is: “Technology, Training, Insurance & Process Documentation.

It all begins with the right technology — consistent updates, the right firewall, the right spam filtering and anti-virus, as well as the use of  multi-factor authentication.

Then you train your people regularly with monthly, easy to digest, lessons. This helps to create a culture of compliance.. You work closely with people that ignore the training or perform poorly on tests as they are your greatest vulnerability. Work with your IT vendor and your insurance agent to pick a policy that accurately reflects your company and needs.

Lastly, document all of your policies and procedures as they relate to your industry and compliance regulations.

  1. Carl Fransen – Founder & CEO of CTECH Consulting Group

Use a modern system that contains identity management, threat analytics, document protection, and MFA

There must be an acknowledgment that having a firewall, server passwords/permissions, and an antivirus does not constitute adequate protection today.

Moving away from the traditional systems such as relying on an on-premise server whose security is based on a password and user permissions to a modern system that contains identity management, threat analytics, document protection, and multi-factor authentication must be part of any company’s security planning.

For an effective cybersecurity strategy, there’s always a need to address the weakest link in any organization: the staff.

Staff needs to be trained on how to properly use the company’s systems, how to identify potential threats, and have a working knowledge of the proper security procedures.

Centralizing and dashboarding multiple security systems to provide a ‘single pane of glass’ overview of what is happening within a business will help technical staff correlate relevant data and make the appropriate decisions.

  1. Cameron Call – Technical Operations Manager at Network Security Associates

backup plus mfa

There are two simple things that every small business needs to implement. Once these are in place, they can begin building an effective strategy.

If you don’t have anything else, you should have backups. Anything in a network, or even an entire network, can be replaced. Data, however, cannot. Your client list, their files, accounts receivable entries or anything needed for the business to operate should be backed up.

After backups is MFA. With MFA ,you don’t have to rely so much on the ability of you or your staff to detect a phishing email. NIt also helps in the event that usernames and passwords are leaked online due to the fault of a service provider.

  1. Sean Nguyen – Director of Internet Advisor

be overprepared for every possible scenario

As a small business owner, we’re very aware that we’re the primary target for cybercriminals because we’re seen as easy hits. The statistics are brutal, this is the kind of thing that can wipe you out.

With remote work, I put a very strong emphasis on employee security – full cybersecurity training, we supplied security software, company devices have full facial recognition, etc. The website is fully locked down as well, from our domain to anti-spyware software, security patches, everything. We have security professionals checking everything regularly for suspicious activity. I’d say our strategy is “be over-prepared for every possible scenario”.

  1. Dan Merino – CEO of Green Dot Security

backups documentation security awareness training

Backups – Any good security person should say that the most locked down network is still open to attacks if the attacker is motivated enough, backups (especially with an offline and offsite copy) can get you out of many issues

Documentation – As much as possible documents that spell out what to do in the case of a breach or cybersecurity incident can reduce down time, speed up isolation of issues and help the company to understand where they have shortcomings in security. Documentation should include a Cyber Incident Response Plan, Information Security Policy, Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity Plan and maybe more like Security Framework Policy (which would outline the companies various implemented security plans)

Layering – Adding as many different services and devices as can be afforded to help prevent attacks. For example, the firewall should have subscription security services, so the gateway is more than just a traffic cop.

Security Awareness Training – At the end of the day the weakest point in most networks are the users themselves. Many attacks take advantage of the fact tech is complicated and humans are easily tricked. Training should make users aware of the dangers that exist.

  1. Naheed Mir – Owner of Rugknots

put the cloud to work

The best cybersecurity strategy that I would recommend for small businesses is using cloud security. Even though the cloud is a bit risky, you are less likely to lose critical data by storing data to the cloud.

Utilizing the cloud for storing data is an economical choice for small to average-sized organizations. Whenever smaller businesses develop as a result of expanded sales, cloud storage, and security tools can scale along with the company. As cloud securities are constantly improving, so your business must go to opt cloud storage security.

  1. Calloway Cook – President of Illuminate Labs

Set up reCAPTCHA for Form Responses

Crafting a cybersecurity strategy for a small business is a cakewalk process. Webmasters can set up reCAPTCHA on their forms for free using Google Developer Tools. For bigger organizations, this is a must, because the more employees your company has the larger the attack vector.

reCAPTCHA is the best free tool available to ensure that forms are being completed by a human rather than a bot. It’s not perfect and of course there are still humans that can manually submit spam or phishing messages, but this is a quick way to significantly reduce risk, which makes it a cybersecurity best-practice.

  1. Mark Soto – Founder of Cybericus Cybersecurity Company

small business cybersecurity strategy

Use network segmentation, a process where you basically split your computer network into multiple different network segments. By using network segmentation it can help prevent your entire system from getting compromised if hackers are able to access one of your networks. It also gives you time to react in the worst-case scenario where the other networks are also in danger of being hacked.

With network segmentation, you can also specify which network resources your users have access too. In a world where malicious internal users make up at least 30% of data breaches, this might be the biggest benefit of network segmentation.

  1. Jack Kudale – CEO of Cowbell Cyber

effective small business cybersecurity strategy

Cyber insurance is key in protecting the assets of small businesses. Small businesses are as susceptible as large organizations to cyberattacks and they are heavily targeted by cybercriminals given their limited IT budgets and resources.

Small businesses can now benefit from tailored, standalone cyber coverage to help cover Security Breach Expense, Security Breach Liability, Cyber Extortion and Ransomware Payment, losses from Social Engineering incidents and more. Cyberattacks are no longer an “if” scenario, rather a “when” scenario, and cyber insurance is an important step to mitigate the dreaded financial losses in the aftermath of a breach.

  1. Zoran Naumoski – Awareness Expert at Li-Fi

use lifi internet connection

As a small business owner and also working from home office for cyber-security, I strongly recommend using Li-Fi internet connection in your office instead of the classic Wi-Fi connection which can be easily hacked. But with Li-Fi, it is opposite and cannot be hacked from someone outside your office. Apart from that, small businesses should also focus on layered cybersecurity systems for their cybersecurity strategy.

  1. Jay Ryerse – Vice President, Cybersecurity Initiatives at ConnectWise

educate yourself

The biggest threat today is the unknown, so when it comes to cybersecurity, the best thing small businesses can do is educate themselves. They might have a lean team of IT people who know IT, but don’t understand where cybersecurity fits.

There are free tools small businesses can put in place that are very effective in combating many common cyber threats, so it’s important that they understand what those are and how to implement them.

  1. Johnny Santiago – Brand Partnerships Manager for Social Catfish

ransomware cyberattack

Ransomware is a typical phishing attack, which is an encrypting malware that encrypts essential company files and holds them for ransom. Ransoms typically range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Cybercriminals made over $1 billion last year from businesses attacked by ransomware.

Never open an attachment in an email you were not expecting to receive or that you do not recognize the sender. It would be best if you used the same caution when presented with URLs that you do not know or came from an unknown sender.

With today’s advanced ransomware techniques, you only have to visit a website to become infected with ransomware. You DO NOT have to click anything on the site to infect the company with data encrypting ransomware.

Please follow the best practices as outlined above to ensure you do your part to keep ransomware off the company network. Failure to do so could result in significant downtime and monetary cost to the business, and we all need to be vigilant in stopping these attacks.

  1. Ben Walker – Founder & CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC

secure cloud storage small business

We work in the legal, law enforcement, medical, financial, and academic industries and have to abide by some very strict confidentiality agreements.  That’s why I would tell you to host everything in the cloud with a company that has both HIPAA and CJIS compliance certifications, and run criminal background checks on all your employees that have access to your sensitive data. We also have general liability and a separate cyber liability policy just in case something bad does happen.

  1. Neil Kittleson – CEO of NKrypt

protect data

Cybersecurity strategies for small businesses need to focus on three things:  protecting proprietary data, protecting employees data, and protecting customer data.  In today’s world that means that you must leverage outside providers to help manage all of the systems needed to protect the full scope of your organization.

Investing in the right external providers for data storage,email services, video conferencing, and collaboration tools is only the first step.  The second is applying the right security policies to use those tools: Enforce two factor authentication, require VPN use by employees, implement mobile device management. The last step is training your employees on the risks to the business presented by cyber adversaries and making sure they understand your tools and policies and why they are important.

  1. Paul Kubler – Red Team Head at CYBRI

protect yourself against cyber attacks pareto

The most effective cybersecurity strategy for small business owners to protect themselves against cyber attacks is to go after the low-hanging fruits, otherwise known as the 80-20 rule. An extremely easy, yet effective example is enabling multi-factor authentication on email accounts.

Another effective cybersecurity strategy for small business is to ensure that all passwords are longer than 14 characters and offer some complexity. These give SMBs a huge head start on cybersecurity and cost almost nothing and take little time to set up.

  1. Nir Kshetri – Professor at University of North Carolina-Greensboro and a Research Fellow at Kobe University

cybersecurity training

It is essential to developing effective policy and cybersecurity-ready human capital, which includes improving cyber-defense capabilities and minimizing deviant behaviors from the workforce. This is because the human factor is the weakest link in cybersecurity.

According to Dell Secureworks, 90% of all malware infections involve human elements such as opening email attachments or clicking links on websites before they can infiltrate the targets. CybSafe’s analysis of the data from the U.K.’s ICO indicated that human errors accounted for 90% of data breaches in the U.K. in 2019.

SMEs can take advantage of cybersecurity training provided by companies in effectively identifying and screening phishing emails.It is also important to develop clear policies related to the access to organizational data and networks, especially during situations such as COVID-19 and remote working.

  1. Bryan Osima – CEO of Uvietech Software Solutions

small business cybersecurity

A common entryway for a malicious attack to your website is through the forms and web applications that allow your visitors to interact dynamically with your business. Most visits to your website will be benign but all it takes is one malicious user or automated bot that crawls the internet looking for vulnerable websites, to bring down your entire system.

These attacks work when malicious codes and scripts are injected into your site through your contact forms, order forms or other types of user input like comments, etc.

These scripts could either execute malicious codes that can hijack and bring down your server or databases, or they could take over your website and inject codes into your web pages that affect other users to your site (this is known as a Cross-site Scripting attack).

With such cross-site scripting attacks, users to your site could have all communications from your site redirected to other sites, where phishing or other scam activities can be carried out,  or their computers could be infected with malware that turns their machines into spam bots that are controlled by the malicious users.

The solution to these kinds of attacks is to securely validate all input to your website through any exposed entry points whether they are web forms, comment boxes, etc.

Never trust any input into your system and thoroughly validate any submissions you receive to ensure that the types of content you expect is what you’re actually getting and that no malicious scripts are being introduced to your system from your website’s entry points.

  1. Tomas Statkus – CEO of ReviewedbyPro

use a vpn with dedicated ip address

The cheapest and the most effective small business security strategy is to use a VPN with a dedicated IP address (Virtual Private Network). It can add a lot of security features for the business, including malware protection, data encryption, Wi-Fi network protection, secure connection to the website management systems, banks, CRM systems, and so on.

  1. Brad Snow – Cloud Computing Specialist at Bridgepointe Technologies & Co-founder of Tech Exec Roundtable

periodic cybersecurity training for all employees

All employees must take security seriously and understand the potential ramifications of a breach.

Training, all employees must be trained in security,I suggest training be done not just when onboarding but periodically throughout employment such as a monthly refresher that includes pass/fail requirements.. Also,phishing test emails are not a bad idea as a training component.

  • Updates, be sure someone is not just clicking past these.
  • Multi-factor authentication, a minimum of 2FA.
  • Firewall, don’t go cheap but you also don’t need to break the bank.
  • Limit exposure generally, if they don’t NEED access, don’t grant it.

Interview local MSPs, if they are trying to scare you…it’s a red flag! You need someone who understands your work environment/flow and can help optimize security around it. If they aren’t at minimum mentioning all the things above, move on as well.

Security has to be taken seriously and due to the ever changing environment it must be an ongoing effort. These are a few relatively simple things you can do on your own but no matter your size it’s worth exploring hiring someone to handle for you.

  1. Scott Croskey – Global Chief Security Officer at Cipher Security and part-time US Air Force Cyber Warfare Officer at US Cyber Command

use a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

Those small businesses that are still operating are likely doing so from a “work from home” (WFH) model. The best return on investment today is to protect your employee laptops/workstations while they work remote with strong endpoint protection software and outsource the 24/7 management of it to a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). This will cost a fraction compared to hiring a staff to fully support 24/7 operations.  Also make sure the MSSP can also protect your cloud-based environments, if applicable. 

  1. David Bell – Cybersecurity Editor at CountryVPNs

antivirus and vpn

In my opinion, a small business that can’t afford to hire an MSSP or install cybersecurity technology should use a top-notch VPN service along with a quality antivirus program. A top-notch VPN service will not only help them hide their location by swapping their actual IP with the IP of the country they are connected to, it will also encrypt their online communication, so no one will be able to access what they are doing online. A quality Antivirus will block any kind of malware that are used by cybercriminals in cyberattacks. So if these two things are in place, small businesses have pretty much ensured their cybersecurity strategy.

  1. Osama Tahir – Cybersecurity Editor at VPNRanks

cybersecurity best practices

As a Cybersecurity expert here’s my checklist of cybersecurity best practices for small business owners.

  • Small business owners must understand the risk factor and arrange the digital assets for their online safety.
  • They need to protect their network access like Safe Wi-FI, Strong firewalls and more.
  • Limited access: This is an access control strategy, but for that one needs to find out or do his research which person needs access to which data.
  • Educate employees to always use strong and secure passwords.
  • Make sure that your gadgets/equipments/devices are updated and up to the mark and secure from cyber-attack.
  • Safest Cybersecurity Strategy: You need to maintain the backup and recovery for the safe side.
  • Help from experts: Cybersecurity is quite complicated specially for small businesses, you need to hire some consultant for help.
  1. Mihai Corbuleac – Information Security Consultant at StratusPointIT

implement 360 cybersecurity plan

There are many different approaches to cybersecurity, but the most important aspect is to take action. To protect your business against any sort of malware, it’s crucial to implement a 360-degree cybersecurity plan which will include well configured firewalls, antivirus software, a backup policy, and network security solutions to protect all connected devices. Firstly, your security strategy should focus on identifying key digital assets. Secondly, implement a secure communication method and create an efficient password management protocol. Safeguard your backups, and most importantly, educate your employees.

Other key aspects – use strong authentication methods (MFA – token, smart card, mobile app), physically securing equipment and ports, defining strong security rules for administrators, using traffic monitoring tools, performing regular internal security audits etc. For email security (because the email service is the main vector for malware infections), you can handle it successfully in-house with the right software (such as mimecast) and regular security training for all email users as it can significantly mitigate human error.

  1. Shagun Chauhan – Business Consultant at iFour Technolab

understand cyber risk digital asset

Every company is different and their needs must be unique from others like the competitors. It all starts with building a cybersecurity strategy covering all threats, policy making, access control, etc. as you build out your strategy here is one of the strong pillars one needs to focus on.

There’s a long list of threats such as phishing,ransomware, drive-by-downloads, etc. are posing a danger to the businesses.Understand the threat and plan a successful attack to secure your company. Understanding the key assets from hubs of the network to the personal devices used by the employees and customers of your company and taking stock of digital landscapes one can learn how to protect it. This is because steps should be taken to protect the business from the sudden cyber-attacks and this may affect the continuity of the business and cause a loss of data.

  1. Nick Santora – CEO and Founder of Curricula, A Cybersecurity Awareness Training Company

invest cybersecurity training

It’s security awareness training to recognize warning signs from potential hackers.

Small business leaders are running a mile a minute. They don’t have an IT team but have tremendous risk because one security breach could be the end of them.

Your employees are on the frontlines to help protect your organization. It’s important to dedicate time to teach employees on how to be aware of threats, such as a phishing scam.

For example, every month, send real-world simulated email tests delivered right to your employees’ inboxes. It’s interesting to see how many people end up failing these tests and show the risk of being victims in an actual phishing scam.

  1. Dan L. Dodson – CEO of Fortified Health Security

network vulnerabilites cybersecurity response plan

With the economic environment the world was operating in changing overnight, it is essential for small businesses to remember the fundamentals of cybersecurity and ask themselves how the new work atmosphere could pose greater risk of attack, how to address those risks, and how to respond to an attack.

Vulnerabilities must be identified so as to understand the ways in which cybercriminals can gain access to a network. The small businesses community must adapt to these new business models in order to protect their hard earned reputation and preserve the confidence of the people with whom they do business.

  1. Sanjay Patoliya – Founder and Director of Teclogiq

backup cloud storage

Your business cannot operate effectively without access to your data. If you don’t back it up, your data may not be there for you when you need it the most. A busy office creates thousands of files each day, and the secure backup of these files needs to be a part of your company’s cybersecurity strategy.

Backups should be made at least daily and mirrored in the cloud or an offsite server. Backups should be overseen by an IT support and IT security professional.

  1. Stuart Cooke – Marketing Manager at Evalian

adequate cybersecurity training

In my opinion educating your staff so that they can recognise the danger signs of a possible cybersecurity breach is the most important strategy for a small business. Adequate cybersecurity training will ensure that your staff are more likely to spot suspicious activity and report it before the situation gets worse. This could be the difference between having to address a data breach and putting a stop to it before the hacker has a chance to get into your systems..

By training your staff on the signs to look out for they will be less likely to open suspicious emails from addresses they don’t recognise and they will know to flag anything they believe to be fraudulent. The best rule to implement across your team is ‘if in doubt, flag it with an appropriate team member just to be safe’.

  1. Chris Noles – President of Beyond Computer Solutions

implement layers of protection

There is no silver bullet to prevent a cyberattack, but there are layers of protection that you can implement to significantly reduce your risk.  Cybersecurity is like having a monitored alarm system in your home so that you can detect intrusions.

Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  • Multifactor or Two Factor authentication: You should enable this for all websites that contain personal, financial or healthcare information.  You should also enable this for your email to prevent business email compromise
  • Train your staff – this is extremely important because attackers are not hacking their way in – companies are letting the attackers in because they are tricked by phishing emails!
  • Change passwords every 60 to 90 days, and don’t use the same password for multiple websites
  • Have a computer use policy for your staff that defines how technology can, and more importantly, SHOULD NOT be used
  • Update your computer systems with the latest updates
  • Partner with a Cybersecurity solutions provider like Experian or SpyCloud that focuses on detecting intrusions before they become breaches.  Unfortunately, most companies are compromised months before they are aware of an intrusion.
  1. Erik Kangas – Founder of LuxSci, Former Senior Software Engineer at Akamai Technologies, and currently a Visiting Professor in Physics at MIT

hire cybersecurity experts outsource IT services

The best general advice for a cybersecurity strategy would be to hire smart, experienced cybersecurity people and place them at positions of authority with respect to product development, IT infrastructure, and vendor choice. They can help guide your organization to a solid cybersecurity footprint that is customized and appropriate for your particular business.

Beyond that, outsource any IT services to vendors respected for their security programs. This lowers IT costs and your organization’s risk and liability with respect to security.

  1. Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq. – Lawyer, Author, College Professor at Bentley University, and Owner of Scamicide

cybersecurity firewalls

Small and medium size businesses are large targets for cyberattacks.  Often small and medium sized businesses don’t properly establish security protocols and fail to monitor and update their security procedures.  

While steps such as establishing proper firewalls, using security software and updating it as soon as updates are available, encrypting data, using strong passwords, using dual factor authentication and not permitting unauthorized devices to be plugged into office computers are all important elements of a security plan, the best thing that any company can do is to train its employees to recognize and avoid phishing and spear phishing emails and text messages.

Spear phishing emails are at the basis of almost all cyberattacks and training employees to recognize these phishing emails and having a policy of not clicking on links or downloading attachments unless they have been absolutely verified to be legitimate is the single best thing a company can do.

  1. Alex Artamonov – Systems Engineer and Cybersecurity Specialist at Infinitely Virtual

cybersecurity threats focus

Due to both limited budgets and limited personnel, small businesses need to focus on immediate threats.  Given resource constraints, training end-users is typically Job #1.  That means mitigating such intrusions as phishing and malware infections; the most cost-effective way to do so often involves turning to paid and free courses online.  

Step #2 is creating an effective security policy, consisting of strong passwords, regular password changes and two-factor authentication.  That last item may prevent unauthorized access to confidential data, even if a user account is compromised.  

Step #3: turn on the auto-update feature within the OS and in any apps.  Step #4:  install anti-malware software from a reputable vendor.  Finally, perform regular backups to local media and to offsite storage (e.g., the cloud).  Make certain to verify that backups were successful, and do regular test restores.  

  1. Alex Paretski – Knowledge Manager at Itransition

focus on cybersecurity training

Regardless of their size, businesses have to stick to the continuous security approach to guarantee protection of their digital assets and data. Unlike large enterprises, smaller businesses can succeed in guarding their cybersecurity without investing in complex solutions. Instead, they can focus on more frequent employee security training, endpoint and device protection.

Small companies can also run comprehensive security tests more often than large companies. For example, they can perform different types of penetration testing and vulnerability assessment every six months or after any software and hardware modifications are made. These are some of the most effective activities to proactively detect security defects and fix them promptly.

  1. Mark Stamford – Founder of OccamSec

effective cybersecurity strategy for a small business

Determine your critical assets and how much risk you are willing to assume. Risks include fines for getting hacked and increased insurance premiums. Securing Wi-Fi and strengthening passwords are critical. Finally small businesses have decided how to secure their assets with the budgets they have.

And the risks are real. We breached a company full of social media users, by friending them on social media and ultimately having them send us passwords – most strategies around small businesses will not focus on social media security, in this case they should have. Bad guys don’t follow a ‘book”, they find the easiest way in and exploit it.

  1. Adi Donna – Founder of Cozy Down Home 

cybersecurity strategy for small and medium business

The firewall is a set of programs that protects the internet from hackers and refrain them from data access through private networks. Users can enable firewall protection from their system settings or can install free firewall software that is available online. Since the majority of the businesses are working from homes and hackers are more active than before, it is best to protect the internet connections, so your relevant documents are not cracked or hacked during transferring.

If using the mobile devices to hold the company credentials, make sure to protect the devices with strong passwords, encrypted data, and install security apps to prevent your files from stealing when the phone is using public networks.

  1. Ken Jenkins – Principal and Founder of EmberSec

cybersecurity approach

A threat-informed cybersecurity posture remains as a strong approach. This includes understanding threats and the business’s risk tolerance. Instead of protecting on-prem employee workstations, sensitive data and critical infrastructure, businesses must focus on the attack surface and protecting cloud-hosted solutions, including email, collaboration capabilities, authentication systems and file sharing.

Understanding the cybersecurity baseline and reestablishing how to defend against it will strengthen cybersecurity posture and raise the cost to adversaries.

Other recommendations:

  • Enforce the use of multi-factor authentication
  • Prioritize email security and boost anti-phishing training and awareness
  • Continuously patch applications and operating systems
  • Apply the CIS Top 20 framework
  1. Gintaras Steponkus – Marketing Manager at SolidGuides

fast cloud service for small business

Cloud backup service is no longer optional for small businesses as data backups have become necessary due to cyber attacks. However, there is a difference between the speed and reliability of the services available in the market.

Use services with high data transfer rates and strict security measures such as 2FA authentication, end-to-end encryption, etc. Your data backup service should be on all the employees’ laptops dealing with any kind of company documents. Moreover, sometimes you need your data quickly, so choose the one which provides the data delivery services on hard drives as well.

  1. Steve Harrington – Vice President at Cygilant, a SMB-focused Cybersecurity Provider

managed services partners

Today’s small businesses are facing a trio of problems – fewer financial means, a continued difficulty in hiring needed talent, and a continued onslaught of threats and breach attempts from cybercriminals who view their systems as easier to infiltrate. For many, this resource crunch has been exacerbated by the pandemic crisis.

Small businesses would be wise to seek out managed services partners who can extend their team’s capabilities with a combination of automated technology and hands-on expertise, helping them to overcome resource constraints while actively reducing threats and making compliance reporting easier. Limiting the time small business IT staff need to spend on managing daily alerts will maximize their time for situations more critical to the business as a whole.

  1. Jeff Kuhn – Senior Solutions Architect and Senior Partner at New England IT Partners

most effective cybersecurity measures for small businesses

It’s important for small businesses to make sure that they are protected from cyber criminals, as 1 in 5 small businesses fall victim to some sort of cyber attack. While the business may be small, the target on them is much larger from the eyes of the attackers.

Small businesses believe they won’t be targeted because of how small they are, so they tend to spend less on protection. As the vast majority of cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, it is extremely important that they implement as many security counter-measures as possible.

  1. Tom Mowatt – Managing Director of Tools4ever

small business cybersecurity

The best strategy you can use to protect your small business is a pre-emptive one. By implementing proper processes and instilling detailed access management, you can prevent the majority of potential security threats before they even happen.

With an identity and access management solution, you can track which employees have access to specific resources and enforce the Principle of Least Privilege (POLP) to ensure that no employee receives more access than what they need to perform their job function or role. Using these types of pre-emptive measures can greatly benefit the security of your business and can dramatically reduce any potential risks/breaches your organization could face.

Bottom Line

SMBs are open to cyber attacks as well as large enterprises. The alarming rate by which these cyber threats occur necessitates the need for an effective cybersecurity strategy that will counter such threats.

This roundup post has uncovered the most effective cybersecurity strategies that small businesses can adopt to protect their ventures.

Likewise, the interviewees have poured out their suggestion from practical experience over the years. In fact, they’ve overcome varying cybersecurity threats.

If you’re a small business owner, and you are yet to gear up your cybersecurity strategy, it might help to start implementing any of the tips as mentioned above.

So, any time you encounter online security issues, you can apply any of the 48 tips in this post as a compass for your cybersecurity plan.

Daniel Segun
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