Launching a new business involves lots of prep work. You need to create a business plan, build a marketing strategy and think about finances, to name a few tasks. However, one vital job to tackle is designing a cybersecurity plan.
Cyberattacks are a real risk to your business. According to a study from InsuranceBee, more than half of small business owners believe an attack is unlikely. However, 85% of data breaches target small businesses.
What do these numbers mean for your startup? While a cyberattack isn’t imminent, your small business is a target, and you should be prepared. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your company before you launch.
What’s at Risk If My Business Is Hacked?
Cybercriminals are increasingly using automated means to attack businesses. This technique allows them to go after thousands of companies at once. Smaller ones are generally more vulnerable to cybercrimes because they often have fewer resources to direct to security. They can also be a gateway to larger companies they work with.
The most significant cyber threat to your company is phishing. It accounts for 90% of business data breaches. What makes phishing so dangerous is that it taps into the human connection. When hackers pretend to be legitimate contacts, they catch employees off guard.
Cybercriminals ask for passwords or sensitive information. Once they have them, they can access employee and customer data. Hackers can also send you a dangerous link that, if opened, infects or hijacks your system with ransomware. The criminals then request large sums of money to remove the ransomware and give you back your files.
What Are the Best Ways to Avoid a Cyberattack?
The first step to preventing cyberattacks is to educate yourself and your employees. The National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Toolkit is an excellent resource to learn security basics.
A business cybersecurity plan should include an incident response plan and an employee training plan. Your employees are one of the first lines of defense against attacks. They should know how to recognize a suspicious email and avoid clicking on attachments or links. They should also understand not to share passwords or sensitive information via email.
A firewall and antivirus software are critical tools to employ against cyber threats. Firewalls act as shields against malicious sources, while antivirus software detects malware that makes it through. You can also encrypt your Wi-Fi by creating a unique password and hiding the network name to prevent outsiders from picking it up.
It’s critical to keep your devices up to date. Outdated software is more vulnerable to attacks because it might not contain the latest patches and virus protection. Software companies work continuously to add security measures to their products and provide updates and patches to customers.
What Should I Do If My Network Is Attacked?
Cyberattacks can happen despite the best planning. If your business falls victim to an attack, enact your incident response plan. It should tell you who to contact first, where your backup files are kept and when you need to reach out to law enforcement or the public.
Take down your infected website, if possible. Leaving a hacked site online can damage your public image by giving you a reputation for harmful viral content and poor security measures.
Your business deserves the best start you can provide. While you’re planning, include cybersecurity as an essential step. Taking measures now can protect you from an attack down the road.