12 Ways To Protect Small Businesses From Cyberattacks

By   Adeola Adegunwa
Writer , Informationsecuritybuzz | May 23, 2023 06:46 am PST

Many small businesses believe they are immune to cyberattacks because of their presumed lack of valuable information (such as customer data or computing resources), but this is far from the truth. The allure of a small business to cybercriminals lies in the fact that they have valuable assets to steal and weak protection. Many small businesses worry that they don’t have enough money or manpower to improve their security. 

Although cyber attacks on small businesses are rising, not all owners respond accordingly. Cybercrime during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased by 600%, according to PurpleSec data, and it is expected to increase by the same amount by 2025. It would be unfair to assume that small businesses give little thought to cybersecurity, but many do so anyhow. Many small businesses routinely downplay the risk of cyberattacks, despite worrisome figures and stories that abound online.

Ways Small Businesses Can Improve On Cybersecurity 

The following listed below are ways in which small businesses can protect themselves from cyberattacks.

1. Make use of more secure passwords 

Passwords remain critically important in cyber security, even as authentication systems like multi-factor authentication (MFA) gain popularity. Password strength can be increased by using long passphrases or passwords that contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Passwords should be different each time they’re used. 

Passwords that are both lengthy and difficult to remember might be a hassle to use. It can encourage undesirable behaviors (such as reusing a password with minor modifications across multiple accounts). Due to the availability of billions of stolen passwords online, cybercriminals can simply guess a password based on an existing or outdated one. Make use of a password manager to generate and remember strong passwords.

2. Authenticate with several factors of security

Security managers, no matter how big or small their company is, should implement MFA for all corporate and web-based logins and system protocols. Even if an attacker obtains a password using one technique, like email phishing, they will still need to use a second (and sometimes third) factor of authentication, such as a facial scan or biometric fingerprint, a mobile phone, or a hardware key. 

Although MFA was originally designed for large organizations and governments, it is now available for use with smaller accounts, mobile devices, and companies. One of the most widely adopted and critically important authentication standards today. In reality, modern cloud-based MFA solutions allow for authentication via staff smartphones and rarely call for specialist hardware. 

3. Update your gadgets regularly

For this reason, it is crucial to frequently upgrade both software and hardware with the latest security updates and patches, as malicious actors are always consistently searching for new ways to penetrate networks and devices through flaws in either. The most recent software update may be the only thing standing between malware and the individuals who work with it. These patches strengthen defenses by preventing ransomware and other malware from gaining entry to the system. Maintain a current version for them.

Employees are the first line of defense against a cyberattack; as such, they need to be educated and trained on the potential threats and entry points a hacker might use. Best practices, proper protocols, forbidden behaviors, and problem-solving resulting from hostile or suspicious cyber activity should all be central to employee training and instruction.

4. Think about using a managed service provider (MSP) for your security needs

It’s commonly believed that only major corporations can afford to employ cybersecurity professionals to safeguard themselves from cyber vulnerabilities and attacks. As a result, historically, small firms have employed their scarce IT resources on anything than strengthening their network’s defenses. Now, more than ever, however, smaller businesses require the same level of internet security as their larger counterparts. Many businesses can acquire enterprise-grade protection by partnering with an MSP rather than recruiting full-time, in-house cybersecurity professionals. 

5. Develop a strategy for mobile use

When mobile devices have access to sensitive company data or are used for remote work, they can be difficult to monitor and secure. Protect sensitive information while using public networks by requiring users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and use security software. Be sure to establish protocols for reporting missing or stolen gear.

6. Create duplicates of vital company records and files just in case

Make sure all of your PCs have regular backups. Essential data encompasses various types of documents, including those created in (word processors, databases, electronic spreadsheets, financial files, human resources files, and accounts records). To ensure the safety and availability of this critical information, it is recommended to create offsite or cloud-based backups on a weekly basis, or even more frequently if feasible.

7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks 

It is crucial to ensure the security of small businesses and the Wi-Fi setup. Avoid using outdated and less secure encryption methods. Configure your wireless access point or router to stop broadcasting the network name, also known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). This makes your network less visible to potential attackers. Create a strong and unique password for accessing your router’s settings. This helps prevent unauthorized individuals from modifying the network configuration.

8. Employ best practices for payment cards for small businesses

Work closely with reputable banks or payment processors that offer trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services. Consult with them to implement robust security measures for handling payment cards. Depending on your agreements with banks or processors, you may have additional security obligations to fulfill.

Ensure that you meet these requirements to maintain a secure payment card environment. Isolate your payment systems from other computer programs that may have weaker security measures. Avoid using the same computer for processing payments and general internet browsing. By dedicating a separate computer solely for payment processing, you minimize the potential for malware infections and unauthorized access to payment information.

9. Have a security audit done.

Do you feel safe from online attacks? Do you feel safe in some situations but insecure in others? Assess your current level of security to see how you may strengthen it. An hour spent conducting a brief audit of your current cybersecurity safeguards may be worthwhile, even if most of the steps a small organization may take will take longer than that.

If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to draft an acceptable usage policy for devices, data, and the network. If even this seems too difficult, use that time to look for a local IT expert who can assist you. Don’t be reluctant to seek help from professional cybersecurity consultants. You can better inform your employees on the most pressing cybersecurity issues by attending a seminar or class on the subject.

10. Use a password managers

It’s not easy to keep track of multiple complex passwords, one for each device or account. Slowing down productivity is the requirement for employees to remember and enter in complicated passwords every time. For this reason, many companies now utilize password management software.

These password managers can keep track of all your login information, including usernames, passwords, and answers to your security questions. This reduces the number of passwords or PINs users need to remember by allowing them to save all of their credentials in a centralized location. Many password managers also warn users when they’re using a password they’ve used before, and they prompt you to change your password on a regular basis.

11. Connect to a VPN

Using a VPN increases the safety of your company’s data transmissions. Using a virtual private network (VPN), your employees can safely connect to the company network from anywhere in the world. They achieve this by inserting themselves between your internet connection and the website or service you’re attempting to visit, so masking both your true location and IP address. They come in handy everywhere an internet connection is shared (like a coffee shop, an airport, or an Airbnb), but especially in places where users are at risk of being hacked (like those places). By creating an encrypted tunnel between their devices and the network, VPNs prevent hackers from gaining access to sensitive information.

12. Protect yourself from actual physical theft 

Keep in mind that it’s not just hackers that threaten your network; hardware might be taken, too. Laptops, computers, scanners, and other office equipment should be secured from unauthorized use. If the gadget is lost or stolen, you can take precautions by locking it down or installing a physical tracker. Make sure everyone on staff is aware of the significance of protecting any company information they may have on their mobile devices.

If numerous employees will be accessing the same device, it is recommended that they each have their own user account and profile. It’s also a good idea to enable remote wiping, which will remove all data from a lost or stolen device from a remote location.


When it comes to cyberattacks, small businesses are just as vulnerable as their larger counterparts. Threat actors target small and medium-sized businesses because they are less likely to have a robust IT infrastructure or a workforce that is well-versed in security best practices and current threats. A company’s vulnerability to malware like ransomware, data theft, phishing assaults, and other forms of cybercrime is not directly correlated with its size. These easy measures will greatly contribute to the security of small businesses. 

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