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All companies must take steps to protect their information. Photo: Pixabay.

Tips to strengthen cybersecurity for US small businesses

Cyber threats have forced businessmen to take stronger measures to deal with digital dangers.

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Pointing out how most of these types of businesses lack an effective strategy to deal with possible digital attacks, especially since they do not have the resources and advice to implement it, Entrepreneur offers some advice for small entrepreneurs to strengthen their data protection processes.

Latent risk

The publication cites the following figures to highlight the seriousness of this scenario and promote a cybersecurity campaign among SMEs:

  • 61% of small businesses experienced a cyberattack in 2021
  • Small businesses account for 43% of all data breaches
  • More than half of small businesses that suffer a cyberattack close within six months

Make the first move

Recognizing that it is a latent necessity of any business and a crucial investment so that all types of companies can prosper, establishing cyber security measures is a requirement in the midst of a landscape that is increasingly susceptible to this type of attacks.

“Addressing cybersecurity as a small business is a necessary undertaking that sees greater complexity and effort over time. There are foundational steps that need to be taken, which are strengthened with increased security measures. Given the undeniable threats lurking, the stronger a business's protection features, the better,” stressed Entrepreneur. 

Necessary investment

Although any type of initial investment is difficult for new entrepreneurs, there are expenses that cannot be ignored and that are necessary for the business to be sustained in the future and not get lost in the attempt.

The publication highlights that, on average, 8 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first year, and almost half of all new small businesses are forced to close their doors permanently after 5 years, a dynamic that is due, in a large proportion, to the absence of a solid cybersecurity strategy.

While many small business owners point to a lack of resources as the reason for not having cyber defense mechanisms, it is vital that the necessary money be allocated within the initial budget so that the digital security of these businesses is never exposed.

Urgent measures

These are the steps that each company must take in terms of cybersecurity from the beginning:

  • Internet security software and firewalls: It's important to have both your antivirus and firewall software running, as they address different issues. Firewalls prevent external access to any data on a private network; the integration of security software, operating systems and trusted web browsers is an essential armor for the use of that data connected to the network.
  • Backups: If a cyberattack occurs involving the hijacking or corruption of company data, a reliable and quality backup will be a lifesaver. Data backups should be updated regularly to ensure rapid utilization.
  • Controlled access and authority: The most effective way to avoid potential crises is to implement controlled access to data and limit user authority. This action helps ensure that employees do not inadvertently install or operate compromised programs, weaken cybersecurity settings, or access data and information outside the scope of their responsibilities.
  • Secure Wi-Fi: A secure Wi-Fi setup is a powerful piece of the protection puzzle. It may be necessary to go beyond the basic security offered by your provider.

To conclude, Entrepreneur points out: “One of the most critical steps a business can take is employee cybersecurity education. Without a thorough awareness and understanding of the myriad ways cybercriminals attack, employees are weak links that will inevitably be compromised. Basic instruction on the severity of the threat and critical risks to avoid will go a long way in bolstering the strength of active cybersecurity defense.”

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