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Small businesses usually do not prioritise cybersecurity, thinking that hackers only go for big and established businesses. It’s for this wrong notion that most small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are generally under-protected. Reluctance to invest startup funds on cyber protection and data privacy also leads to such lax in security protocols. Hackers know this and exploit this vulnerability to inject malware and steal data in unprotected systems used by small businesses. It has to stop. If you love your business, the first thing you need to do is safeguard it on all fronts, and that includes digitally. 

Small businesses usually use a moderate amount of data with minimal security. Hackers can use the stolen information to steal money, employee details, customer data, vendor information, and even customer’s sensitive details. There is nothing that can damage your reputation as fast as the latter. Data breaches have cost millions lost in companies around the world, big and small alike.

A recent report by Ponemon showed that only 30% of small businesses are prepared for cyberattacks and data breaches. It’s a lack of personnel (77%), lack of budget (55%), and lack of know-how (45%) that is keeping the rest of small businesses vulnerable. 

By 2020, the average cost of a data security breach would be over $150 million for a major business. The higher level of digitalisation or connectivity, the higher the cost to insure and protect it. 

To ensure proper protection, you must make cybersecurity of your small business your main priority to avoid any loss. It is imperative when you build up your small business cybersecurity. Here are tips on how to improve your small business’s cybersecurity:

Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks

Connecting to an unsecured network allows hackers to steal your info. Only use secure and encrypted Wi-Fi networks will prevent the Service Set Identifier (SSID) from being broadcast. You can set up the Wi-Fi in a way that prevents employees from knowing the password. You can also set up a separate network for guests if you want to open Wi-Fi for customers to use. Guests should not have the same Wi-Fi access as employees to prevent unwanted people from joining your private business Wi-Fi network. 

Strengthen your Wi-Fi encryption to keep intruders out of your system. The types of Wi-Fi protection systems often used are the following:
  • WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy is a security protocol in the IEEE Wireless Fidelity or Wi-Fi standard, 802.11b. It provides WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) with the same level of security and privacy as to a wired LAN.
  • WPA or Wi-Fi Protected Access is a security protocol like WEP but better in terms of how it handles security keys and its user-authorization procedures for systems or networks. WPA uses the TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) that routinely modifies critical systems, which prevents attackers from creating duplicate encryption keys to hack your system.
  • WPA2 or Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 is a security method added in addition to the WPA that boosts data protection and network access. Based on the IEEE 802.11i standard, WPA2 provides government-standard security. Only authorised users can access wireless networks. It comes either as WPA2-Personal or WPA2-Enterprise.
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  • Some businesses use Wi-Fi routers that have WPS (Wireless Protect SetupS) and link devices via WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). A RADIUS server is needed to use WPA in enterprise or corporate mode because physical storage is required for all login information.

Create a Password Policy and Change it Often

A secure password should contain lower-case letters, capitals, a unique character, and a number, and it should be a minimum of 20 digits to be considered really strong. You can use password generator apps to produce uniquely strong passwords and changed routinely, so even if an employee leaks the password to unauthorised individuals. It will minimise the risks because you regularly change passwords. 

Better yet, limit password access to your company’s IT personnel or team. Let them input the passwords directly unto devices authorised for use in your business, instead of releasing passwords to staff. Avoid giving Wi-Fi access to employee’s personal devices. It may seem selfish to those who want free Wi-Fi access, but there are a couple of good reasons to do so. 

Firstly, if employees are using their personal devices to work and logging into the business network, that means they are going to be accountable to the IT department, submit their devices for checking and other security protocols. If it’s against company policy to download unoriginal software, it applies on their devices too. If access to malicious and unsecured sites is not allowed, it follows when they are using their own device on company hours. If the use of Facebook and other social media platforms are not allowed on your company’s network, then it is not permitted in their devices, too, even if they own.

In short, they need to relinquish some authority over their device to follow company protocols on security and data privacy, which may get complicated at times. It is better not to allow personal devices on the company’s network, or to limit this privilege to trusted employees. 

Secondly, a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system is also a vulnerability because you open more gateways than necessary for hackers to access. Hackers are getting more and more ingenious, and it only takes one careless instance with an unsuspecting employee to open the doors wide for cyberattacks. 

These added steps may be cumbersome, but it sure makes your security protection more robust. Teach your staff members also to employ best practices in their own devices. Build a culture of cyber safety in your company that can influence others as well. Cybersecurity is a top priority and keeping your data safe matters.
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Limit Data Access

Unauthorised people even trusted ones, should not have access to company computers and accounts. You need to include this in your security protocols, have it in black-and-white, so your IT team will not have a hard time implementing such “strict” measures. Monitoring each employee’s cyber interactions can be tiresome and time-consuming. You need to establish policies on how employees should protect identifiable information and other sensitive data, to avoid the trouble of continually checking cyber interactions done through the company’s network. 

Data access need to be classified and quantified, depending on the employee and the scope of their responsibility. Add layers of security, like requiring new passwords, encryption, security questions, and the like. It is best to give each employee their login so the IT team can monitor the use of the network and access point of hackers in case of an attack. Limiting the privileges of your employees is actually in their best interest because it protects your business better, which protects them as well.

Create Backups

Creating backups of your files and information should not even be a question. Require routine back-ups from everyone in the team, facilitated by your IT personnel, as a precaution if attacks or data breaches do happen. It is also best to use cloud storage instead. In this way, no matter what happens to your physical devices, your data remains secure in the cloud. Invest in getting ample cloud storage for your business. In case of any disaster or ransomware attack, you should be able to recover all the critical data. 

You may not see this as necessary now, but it is. If information is stolen or goes missing and you only stored everything on physical devices such as a server and the like, retrieval of everything you lose is never guaranteed. Prevention is better than cure, and going all out to the best of what you can afford in terms of security software and data privacy is a worthy investment. Do not wait for an attack to happen before ensuring rigid protection for your business, something that, sadly, some businesses do. 

You can also use the strategy of the 3-2-1 approach, which translates to three copies of the backup, on two different media, and one copy securely stored offsite or in the cloud.

Antivirus and Antimalware Protection
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You must have a professional-grade and current security software in all systems and networks. All apps and software must be regularly updated. Install the latest operating systems (OS) and software on all your devices. Updated software and OS will have the latest bug fixes or patches installed. 

Hackers continue to produce ways of attack, and security software continues to provide patches and bug fixes. Avoiding updates put your devices and systems at high risk. There are many ways you can be hacked, but there are ways not just to prevent these attacks, but also fight against cyberattacks at the onset. Using a kaspersky antivirus would be beneficial because It is designed to protect users from malware and is primarily designed for computers running Microsoft Windows and macOS.

Train your Employees to Recognize Common Cybersecurity Threats

Provide regular security awareness training to your employees to ensure the security of your business. Create a cybersecurity policy understandable to all and easy to implement. It should contain cybersecurity best practices that you expect employees to follow. 

Even if you have the best technical support staff, employees can sometimes mistakably cause breaches if not trained appropriately. You should also train your employees to know common cyberattacks and how to prevent them, like identify phishing and spear-phishing attacks. Phishing and spear-phishing is the most effective way for hackers to attack a particular target. Unguarded and unaware employees of a company are the usual targets. 

Always Use Multifactor Authentication on Business Accounts

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Multifactor authentication on business accounts should be set up even, both in personal and corporate accounts. It adds an extra layer of security that makes it harder for cyber attackers to get into your accounts, not your business nor your employees. Multifactor authentication may include a phone number, email address, or a security question. 

Security apps, even your browsers, will send you notifications of logins from unknown sources. Do not ignore these messages, and if you recognize something is not right, inform your IT team right away. The firsts step is to change all passwords immediately, and in case of suspected malicious attacks, the IT team must get to work right away in scanning and securing the system. 


Cybersecurity is vital to any small business, even when there isn’t necessarily the budget there to support a significant IT initiative.

Introducing and implementing a complete cybersecurity program takes more than an hour. You won't be completely safe from attacks by making a few quick changes, but you can take drastic strides forward in 60 minutes or less.

No matter how big or small, the nature of your business may attract more than what you bargain for; you don’t work as hard as you do for your business to fall victim to cyber-attacks! Cybersecurity is more than having a firewall or antivirus program. With the right precautions, adequate computer security is not beyond reach.

Author’s Bio
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia - the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.