Generally, when IT departments of small businesses discuss cybersecurity, it’s considered an expensive affair. Business leaders on a tight budget try to shrug it off for later. However, putting cybersecurity off for some time in the future can create significant problems in the near-term. In addition to that, cybersecurity doesn’t necessarily need to break a bank. With the right steps, you can ensure cybersecurity for the business without spending much. In this article, we’ll tell you about eight such simple and low-cost measures that can help you protect your business on a budget. Let’s begin:
#1. Use strong passwords!
Security almost always starts with passwords. If you use a weak password that is easy to guess and memorize, anybody can crack it through trial-and-error based methods like guessing or brute-forcing and steal your confidential information. On the other hand, if you use a strong password that is a mix of numbers, letters, and special characters and at least eight characters long, it’ll be tough to crack it, thus keeping your information secure. Therefore, you should always use strong passwords for everything related to your business and force all your employees to do the same. Some companies even go a step further and make such passwords mandatory for their customers’ registration as well, and you too may consider doing the same.
#2. Encrypt all sensitive information and user data.
It’s also important to encrypt all your sensitive user data, organization data, and information wherever it’s stored. In the absence of encryption, anyone can access it and use it to harm your business, which is a situation that everyone tries to avoid. So always encrypt all your computers, hard drives, and folders that are storing sensitive data. Also, ensure that the passwords or keys needed to decrypt the sensitive information are available to as few people as possible. Ideally, they should be accessible only to those people in your organization who genuinely need to access the protected data for their work.
#3. Install SSL certificates for all your websites.
SSL certificates are the backbone of website security. Whatever other steps you take to protect your website, they must be combined with an SSL certificate. They not only protect your customers and employees from phishing attacks by adding a unique identifier to your domain name in the form of a green padlock but also secure the data of your customers and employees during transit. Therefore, even if you can’t spend much on it, you should still get the Cheap SSL for all your websites security.
#4. Set up firewalls and other system-level security tools!
Firewalls are an essential part of cybersecurity. They help you achieve many crucial functions, like monitoring user activity, analyzing log files, detecting and blocking suspicious IP addresses, recognizing malicious programs, etc. Therefore, it’s essential to install a good firewall in your organization’s system and network.
However, firewalls are not the only tools that need to be a part of your system-level security setup. You can also include several other real-time threat management tools to create an even more robustly secure environment in your organization, like endpoint protection systems, intrusion detection and protection systems, and network access controllers.
#5. Educate your employees!
Often, companies are attacked not because of some vulnerabilities in their systems but because of human error. It is human nature to make mistakes, and if we are not aware of the best practices that should be followed while doing something, then there’s a much higher probability of making mistakes. Therefore, you should educate your employees about cybersecurity best practices that must be followed to ensure your systems’ security. Things like using strong passwords, avoiding login through public Wi-Fi networks, and using VPN whenever dealing with sensitive data are easy steps that don’t require a lot of time to be taught. They go a long way in ensuring the security of any organization.
#6. Use open-source technologies!
If some of the tools you want to use for your business’s security are out of your budget, you may consider finding an open-source alternative for them. There’s open-source software for almost everything in today’s time, and you can find open-source software for cybersecurity too. These programs don’t cost anything but still provide robust security features that are enough for any new business requirements. And since their source code is available in the public domain, you can tweak them to add additional features in the future as per your business’s requirements as it grows.
#7. Enable 2fa wherever needed!
We discussed the importance of good passwords in the first point, but sometimes even the best passwords can be stolen or compromised (especially if someone is involved in it from within your organization). For those rare situations, it helps if your sensitive data is behind another wall of protection. Which wall are we talking about? The wall of two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication, or 2fa, helps create another security layer for your sensitive data by asking for another bit of information that may be available only with you. That information may be a code sent to your mobile phone, a question whose answer is known to you only, your biometrics, or anything else. Even if someone steals your password, they can’t steal this information from you, so your data remains protected.
#8. Keep everything up to date!
Finally, keep all your software up to date. While almost all of us take software updates for granted and are lazy to install, they often come with security patches that fix critical vulnerabilities and make us less prone to cyberattacks. Therefore, for your OS, CMS, antivirus, firewall, or any other kind of software – always try to install software updates as soon as they’re available.
These are eight low-cost and straightforward steps that can be taken to ensure cybersecurity for the business. As you can see yourself, most of them don’t cost anything, but they still provide enough security layers to your business during its early days when every penny counts. Therefore, you should try to incorporate all of them into your organization. Make them a part of your cybersecurity strategy and share your views about them in the comments. And if you know any other similar steps that can be taken for business security, share them as well.