Network Security Tips for Small Business

While large corporate organizations are targeted by malicious actors on a regular basis, small businesses are the ones that are most in danger of losing money, data and even shutting their doors in the event of a cyber attack. Small businesses are ideal targets for threat actors because they often do not invest in network security in the same way that large enterprise organizations do.

How to protect your business from Cyber Attacks

Protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of sensitive data is what cybersecurity is all about. In the context of a small business, this includes putting in place basic security procedures to keep your company safe from fraudsters. When done effectively, cybersecurity should lower your company’s risk and provide your employees more confidence. Effective cybersecurity does not have to be difficult; in fact, in many circumstances, even modest time and resource inputs may provide significant returns. Here are some simple things you may do to reduce your risk significantly.

Understand your Cybersecurity Regulations

The next step is to determine whether small business cybersecurity regulations apply to your company, based on your sector and the sorts of data you manage. PCI DSS, HIPAA Security Rule, state breach notification rules, FERPA, SOX, and the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation are just a few of the regulations that can result in significant fines if not followed. We propose that all small firms use a cybersecurity framework like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, which meets several standards by default. Additional compliance needs can be met by adding or changing controls. In some situations, speaking with a knowledgeable attorney or cybersecurity specialist who can assist you in identifying compliance requirements that apply to you may be beneficial. This is especially true if you have PII, PHI, or financial data on hand.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two factor authentication is absolutely necessary for all businesses. 2FA should be enabled on any service that allows it (Banking, Email, Website, SaaS applications) to name a few. Companies that utilize 2FA can dramatically limit the risks of a data breach while also preventing attackers from accessing sensitive data even if they do get in. It’s important to use an authentication service (such as Google Authenticator) or similar product rather than SMS since a dedicated attacker can bypass SMS through a practice known as SIM swapping. You could also consider using a passwordless authentication solution to enable your organization to bypass the need for passwords entirely.

Engage in Security awareness training

Providing end-user security training is essential if you want to start a small business cybersecurity program. At the very least, users should be trained on dangers such as phishing, DDOS, and watering hole attacks. They should also be educated on the many sorts of data they may encounter on a daily basis (such as PHI and PIII), as well as the legal compliance standards they must adhere to. Training has repeatedly shown to be one of the most cost-effective aspects of small company cybersecurity initiatives. End-User Training should also explain what to do if malware or ransomware has been installed on the user’s PC. Touchstone Security provides high-quality end-user training that may help you achieve a variety of compliance obligations while also making your employees safer and more prepared.

In some situations, speaking with a knowledgeable attorney or cybersecurity specialist who can assist you in identifying compliance requirements that apply to you may be beneficial. This is especially true if you have PII, PHI, or financial data on hand.

network security tips infographic

Employee training has been proven to provide one of the best returns on investment in cybersecurity. At a very minimal cost, you may lower your employees’ risk of accessing harmful sites, downloading malware, and clicking on phishing emails by teaching them basic security practices. Security Awareness Training, as we outlined in a recent blog article, is one of the most cost-effective approaches to lower the risk of breaches and incidents.

Unfortunately, 56% of Americans are unsure what to do in the case of a data breach, and phishing is involved in 32% of data breaches. End-users are the source of the vast majority of cyber assaults (82% to be exact). When an attacker gains access to one device, such as a laptop or tablet used by an employee, they get a vital foothold into the whole network, which they may use to launch more assaults on your company.

To reduce the chance of a catastrophic breach, provide comprehensive security awareness training that covers instruction on typical assaults such as phishing, business email compromise (BEC), ransomware, and physical security. Before an attack happens, it is critical to take preemptive steps and give thorough security training. Many government legislation and compliance requirements now hold firms accountable for data breaches that disclose consumer information and impose significant fines on those deemed to be careless. When it comes to cyberattacks, your workers are frequently the first line of defense. Employees that have been properly taught know how to prevent, respond to, and recover from an assault.

Use Anti Virus and Anti Malware (And not just for endpoints)

Malware and socially engineered cyber attacks like phishing attacks are most commonly transmitted by email. In fact, the vast majority of cyberattacks occur due to phishing emails. While most employees have anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on their workstations, adding these to your mail servers as part of a defense-in-depth strategy is suggested. It’s an act of compromise to set up a spam filter. On the one side, the network administrator wishes to prevent all harmful traffic from entering the network. However, if the filters are too strict, valid traffic will be blocked, and end-users will begin to complain. After a few weeks of use, a network baseline may be established, and additional changes can be performed.

Perform a Risk Assessment

Almost every significant cybersecurity compliance obligation necessitates the completion of a risk assessment. Risk assessments entail documenting existing IT assets, ranking them according to criticality, and determining the amount of risk that each of those IT assets confronts. A Risk Assessment is an important next step in developing a cybersecurity program for your small business. You may target your security efforts to ensure that your cybersecurity program is effective by identifying high-risk assets.

You should already have a well-organized list of IT assets at this time. Take some time to consider what the biggest threats are to each of them. Do you have any servers that are accessible from the outside world? Do you have on-premise or cloud-based IT infrastructure? If you choose on-premise, you must consider physical dangers to your structure, such as wildfires, floods, and earthquakes. Ransomware is one of the most serious threats to many businesses. We strongly advise locating ransomware recovery providers before an attack so that you can decrypt files as soon as feasible.