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10 Cyber Security Best Practices for Your SMBs Better be safe than sorry, yes, it is always good to be prepared for the worst as no one knows when attacks happen

By Remesh Ramachandran

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Small and medium businesses often don't provide much importance to cybersecurity, as most of them are of the opinion that hackers only target enterprises and large organizations. But it is an incorrect notion, as according to a survey conducted by the US Congressional Small Business Committee, it is estimated that adversaries have targeted more than 71 per cent of small and medium businesses. Hence, it becomes highly imperative for SMBs to enhance their cybersecurity in order to protect their sensitive information. In this article, we've provided some 10 cybersecurity best practices for your small to medium-size businesses.

1. Install UTM / Firewall

First and foremost, in building a strong cybersecurity foundation is to set up the first line of defence against hackers, and that is by making sure that the enterprise networks are secure. This can be achieved by installing a firewall, an IDS, and IPS. In addition to the external firewall, it is also advisable to install internal firewalls to add an additional layer of defence to your data security.

2. Document your Info Security Policies

Documentation is not the norm in many small and medium businesses as they often work around through word of mouth communication. But when it comes to cybersecurity, documenting information procedures is extremely important as this not only helps you evaluate if the tasks are done but also provides an easy way to transfer knowledge to new recruits as well.

3. Employee Education

This may sound a bit weird, but in fact, the biggest threat to small and medium businesses is not from the outside. Yes, most of the times, the threat comes from the inside of the employees, whether knowingly or unknowingly. And that is the reason that employees need to be provided awareness training about cybersecurity and how they need to identify phishing emails, virus-attacked websites, etc.

4. Data Backups

Better be safe than sorry. Yes, it is always good to be prepared for the worst as no one knows when attacks happen. Hence it is important for small and medium businesses to have their data backed up regularly. It is also recommended to have a set of backups in an offline location in case of any natural calamity.

5. Install Endpoint

Another major area of concern is plugging the endpoints in a network as devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops are known for an easy entry into the organization network. Endpoint security ensures that every device being brought in the employees are granted network access only if they meet the security standards set by the organization.

6. Multifactor identification

No matter whatever you do to prepare yourself against hackers and adversaries, all it takes is a small mistake from an intern in your organization to provide that entry point to the hackers. Cybercriminals are gaining the upper hand as every day passes, and hence, it is important to implement a multi-factor authentication as it provides an additional layer of protection.

7. Mobile device Security

While Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become very normal in most of the organizations, it is important that they come up with a watertight security plan and a BYOD policy for mobile devices. It is also important that small and medium businesses instruct their employees to set automatic security updates on their mobile devices along with ensuring that the devices adhere to the companies password policy as well.

8. Enforce safe password practices

It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of the data breaches happened just because of an old or a weak password according to the Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon. Hence it is imperative for organizations to enforce a password policy for every device being brought inside the company and passwords being updated every 60-90 days.

9. Build a Solid Patch/Update

Patch management is the process of keeping all software and application updated in order to address the vulnerabilities present in them. Only because of these vulnerabilities not been addressed with the updates that allowed WannaCry and Petya ransomware to take advantage and cause major data breaches in several organizations recently.

10. User Access

Access control helps in minimizing unauthorized access to sensitive information, and every small and medium business need to have a strong access control policy defined for its employees. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a key component in cybersecurity.

Remesh Ramachandran

CISO | Security Researcher | Ethical hacker

Remesh Ramachandran is an ethical hacker. He has solved several sophisticated cybercrime and real-world hacking cases, and has worked for the government and various other national and international agencies. Remesh is currently working as a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) for an organisation.

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