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How to Secure Small Businesses

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By: Tatianna

May 2, 2018

Secure Your Small Business With Affordable and Practical Cyber Security Training“Cyber security education and training should be free for everyone, especially for small businesses,” suggested the witnesses who testified before the Senate small business committee.With data breach incidents at large companies such as Home Depot, Target, Equifax dominating the headlines, it is easy for small businesses to assume hackers would not be interested in stealing their data. However, these businesses also carry highly sensitive financial and personal data such as credit card numbers, account names; passwords that help hackers commit financial fraud or identity theft. Verizon Data breach investigation report reveals that 58% of cyber-attacks in the year 2017 targeted small businesses.While hackers target businesses of all size, large corporations invest heavily in acquiring cyber security skills and tools required to protect their business sensitive data. Small businesses working on tight budgets do not have the necessary financial and human resources to invest in cyber security programs. As a result, these companies underestimate the effects of a data breach and become easy and attractive targets for internet security breaches.Hackers attack small and medium-sized businesses using innovative and sophisticated techniques such as Ransomware, malware, phishing, etc. Such attacks pose an existential threat to these businesses. While it is impossible to prevent data breaches completely, it takes only a few basic cyber security steps to protect themselves from a potential network security attack or minimize the risk in the event of an attack. However, reports suggest that only 21% of these businesses train their staff on basic security measures and only 12% of Small businesses prepare an incident response plan.Cyber Secure your Small Business without spending a fortuneWhile large organizations with sufficient resources can devise a cyber-security strategy after performing risk assessment, small businesses strapped for cash and personnel may not have the luxury to conduct the risk assessment or have a security strategy in place. However, a few basic steps can help reduce the risk, if not avoid an attack.
  • Make security an Organization-wide issue: Most businesses consider security as an IT issue; however, it has to be an organization-wide issue aligned with the day-to-day business activities. Create awareness on cyber security with the help of educational and training programs that every member of the staff finds interesting and useful for both business and personal data security. Such programs should help identify threat perceptions and aid in taking preventive or remedial steps immediately.
  • Update software regularly: During his presentation, on preparing small businesses for cyber security success, before the Senate committee Ben Towes, President, Bullet Tools, disclosed that using a computer without installing anti-virus software, non-updated windows software, and the absence of a proper password attracted a Ransomware attack on his company. Installing and regularly updating security software such as anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall, etc. helps keep away attacks penetrating your network.
  • Backup data regularly: Regular Data backups is a great way to fight ransom ware and other types of data breaches. With data backup, you need not worry about the lost/ stolen data during an attack, but recover the lost data from the backups. Keep onsite as well as offsite data backup but without attaching them top production network.
  • Encrypt your sensitive data: Encryption makes data available to authorized personnel only, reducing the chances of misuse even in the event of a data breach. Small businesses and individuals can make use of the many free encryption software tools for this purpose.
  • Comply with industry regulations: Every industry prescribes data security rules to help protect business-sensitive data. If your business handles credit card payments, make sure to follow Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), similarly, businesses in Healthcare industry need to follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
During his testimony before the Senate small business committee, Daniel Castro, Vice President, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, emphasized the need for a certification program for part-time cyber security professionals. Shortage of skilled and experienced cyber security professionals will effect businesses of all sizes. According to the international information systems security certification consortium, by 2022 businesses worldwide will face an acute shortage of skilled cyber security professionals. The existing training programs offered by US Small Business Administration and other organizations are very basic in nature without covering advance cyber security topics such as multi-factor authentication, etc., these courses become inconsequential and impractical for employees and job seekers.Organizations such as Cybrary an open-source cyber security, IT learning, and certification preparation platform, with a commitment to making cyber security training programs affordable to everyone, everywhere offers in-depth and most practical programs for beginners planning to enter cyber security field to  employees and professionals seeking to gain advanced level knowledge in devising cyber security strategies.Cybrary’s Virtual Labs help learners gain practical understanding of the various cyber security concepts from installing hardware, software to securing these devices and tools from any type of cyber-attack.  Completing these practical study programs, under an experienced mentor, equips candidates’ with the knowledge required to secure personal home network or a large corporate network.

Cybrary’s user-generated content platforms such as the forums and 0p3n encourages job aspirants, employees, professionals, and businesses to discuss and share knowledge on the latest and trending topics in the world of cyber security and computer programming.

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