Since early March, when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, many businesses have been hit hard by the government-imposed measures aimed at flattening the curve. Lockdowns, temporary business closures, social distancing practices: they all affected businesses across industries.
Some have successfully transferred their workload to the online environment to keep their employees safe and their companies afloat. However, many important things were overlooked in the process, namely cybersecurity. With countless employees working from home, there’s an increased risk of data breaches and cyberattacks. So, it’s crucial to protect your business from both biological and virtual viruses.
Why You Should Never Neglect Cybersecurity
The biggest cybersecurity mistake that most small business owners make is believing they’re immune to cybercrime due to the size of their company. It’s essential to understand that it’s not only huge enterprises and Fortune 500 companies that are at risk of cyber-attacks. As a matter of fact, they’re targeted much less frequently than SMBs.
Over 43% of cybercrimes target smaller businesses. SMBs have inadequate cybersecurity practices, and they don’t invest nearly as much money into their IT as large enterprises do. That vulnerability makes them easy pickings for hackers and cybercriminals. It’s especially risky when many employees are required to work from home and access sensitive business information from their personal devices.
With the economic uncertainty that comes with the pandemic, it’s crucial to keep your business protected on all fronts. A data breach is detrimental as is, and a data breach during financial problems that companies are facing due to COVID-19 is even worse. So, let’s see what you can do to protect your business.
Educate Your Employees on Proper Cybersecurity Measures
Good cybersecurity starts with educated employees. Approximately 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error. People accidentally click on that suspicious link in an email, use a common password, or access unsafe sites. So, the best way to protect your business is by teaching your employees about proper cybersecurity practices.
Keep in mind, however, that employee education doesn’t stop after a single course: it is a long-term process. As technology advances, so do cyber-attack tactics and preventative measures against them. You should invest in ongoing cybersecurity training so that your employees are always aware of what to look out for.
Provide Everyone with a VPN
If your employees are working from home during COVID-19, it’s in your best interest to provide them all with a VPN. Since you cannot monitor every employee’s home network to keep it safe and provide them with a secure IT infrastructure, a VPN is the way to go. A Virtual Private Network secures your connection to a network and encrypt your data. It enables you to safely access the internet by hiding your activity from anyone trying to monitor you.
It means that your employees can easily access sensitive business files on the cloud, share information with their coworkers. According to statistics, Microsoft OS remains to be the most targeted system out there. So, if your employees use it, make sure to provide them with a reliable Windows VPN app.
Have Strict Password Policies in Place
The easiest way for someone to break into your systems is by guessing some of the most common passwords the employees could use. If just a single person uses “password123”, “123456789”, or something along those lines, your business could be at risk.
Boost cybersecurity by having your employees follow strict password policies. Each password needs to be unique, strong, and, most importantly – random. Birth dates, street addresses, and pet names are off-limits as they can easily be guessed.
Have Systems and Software Updated
Most app and software updates aren’t performed to bring new features or improve the design; they’re performed to patch security issues. If your employees are using outdated software, it could contain known vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit for a data breach, DDoS attacks, or more. Ensure that your employees are using the newest versions of apps and software, even when it comes to smartphone games or social media apps.