Weak cybersecurity hurts your business. Here is how to save it.

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If you were to ask five random strangers from different walks of life what the top threats to the future of small business are, you’d likely get similar answers. Possible answers would likely include rising inflation and possible recession, job market volatility, speed of technological advancement, supply chain issues, and more.

The real question is, what insidious threat is too often diverted to the background and moved on to the next operating budget? What problem remains to be addressed when revenue is on the right track, inventory is viable, growth is stable, and scale is beginning to take shape?

Cyber ​​security.

Related: Cybersecurity is no longer an option. Your money is in immediate danger.

Ignoring the warnings is the short-sighted and easy path for SMEs

Ignoring the seriousness of cyber threats is a dangerous gamble. The risk is undeniable:

  • 61% of small businesses suffered 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

Acknowledging the harsh reality that most people choose to ignore is a crucial starting point. A true understanding of the situation translates into knowing what protective measures must be taken. The creation and implementation of cyber security measures should be a high priority for companies of all sizes, particularly SMBs, where the margin of error is clear.

Pressure to allocate resources effectively undermines cybersecurity efforts

There are few endeavors as harrowing, scary, and potentially disastrous, but 100% worth it, as starting and running a small business. I have experienced the passion that drives those dedicated to carrying it out. I have felt the fuel burning within team members fully committed to taking an idea and nurturing it into a viable, self-sufficient entity.

It’s no secret that the odds are stacked against us. The numbers don’t lie. It is widely reported that, on average, 8 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first year. The odds turn even bleaker five years from now, with nearly half of all new small businesses closing their doors.

Given the obvious confidence and enthusiasm that founders exude, why do most small businesses trivialize or completely ignore cybersecurity? Why does the immense potential for a true disaster lurk around every corner? It is a matter of resources and lack of an informed perspective.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Business Against Cyber ​​Attacks

SME leadership must elevate cybersecurity

Tackling cybersecurity as a small business is a necessary task that sees increased complexity and effort over time. There are fundamental steps that must be taken, which are strengthened by increased security measures. Given the undeniable threats out there, the stronger an enterprise’s protection features, the better.

Here are some crucial steps to take early on:

  • Internet security software and firewalls. It is 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, quality backup will be a lifesaver. Data backups should be updated regularly to ensure rapid utilization.
  • Secure Wi-Fi. A simple and straightforward measure, 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.
  • 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.

Awareness, education and formal policies are vital to defending cybersecurity

One of the most critical steps a business can take is cybersecurity education of employees. Without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the myriad ways cybercriminals attack, employees are weak links that will inevitably be compromised. Basic training on threat severity and critical risks to avoid will go a long way to bolster the strength of active cybersecurity defense.

Equipping your company with established cybersecurity policies and action plans strengthens the fundamental steps outlined above; these steps ingrain a defensive mindset and essential preparation to counter adaptive cybercriminal attacks. The specific plans created will vary in correlation to the size and structure of a business, but may include the following:

  • Internal incident response plan
  • Action plan for mobile devices
  • Crisis Response/Customer Engagement Plan

Related: 5 Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance and Grow Your Small Business

Ensuring survival and success as an SME in a challenging economic landscape

Every small business is unique. Every owner, every leadership team and every staff member – they all have their own story. It’s hard to say if everyone will be told.

As you navigate the endless parade of pressing concerns, looming threats, and demands on dwindling time resources, the energy and effort required can seem overwhelming. Putting cyber security measures on the to-do list to face another day might seem like a good idea right now, but the reality paints a much different picture.

When leading a small business, there are appropriate levels of time and resources to invest in any given topic. Finding the right level for your business will be a decision you will have to make right.

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