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Small Business IT Security Basics, Part 1: 5 Essential Steps for Ensuring Cybersecurity

by Erik Briceno

When it comes to doing business, the internet can be your best friend — for reaching customers, increasing productivity and reducing costs. But if you’re not careful with cybersecurity, it also can become your worst enemy.

Whether you’re simply using email, maintaining a website or migrating your operations to the cloud, following cybersecurity best practices should be a core element of your business plan.

Doesn’t This Just Happen to the Big Guys?

The unequivocal answer is absolutely not. In fact, nearly half of small businesses suffered a cyberattack in the past year — and nearly two-thirds of them failed to act following a cybersecurity breach.

That costs businesses money: The average cost of cybersecurity incidents ranges from about $34,604 for a small business to $1.05 million for a large business.

“Small businesses are less likely to have strategies in place to ward off attacks, detect them early if they do occur, and reduce the damage. And, they are less likely to be able to withstand the financial impact of a hack or breach,” according to the 2018 Hiscox Small Business Cyber Risk Report.

But forewarned is forearmed: You know the danger is there, so implement a strategic plan to prevent it. Here’s how to do that.

Security 101: Follow These 5 Essential Steps

1. Protect your information, computers and networks.

Keep your systems up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.

  • Install antivirus software on your computers. Then make sure it’s configured correctly and always updated.
  • Install software updates as they occur, too, particularly for your operating system. Many of these patches address security issues.

2. Erect a firewall.

Make sure you have a firewall in place to restrict access to your business network. Often the first line of defense in protecting your internal network from external threats, a firewall — implemented with hardware or software — is a basic deterrent against malware, hackers and other cyberthreats.

3. Backup important data and information.

Because information is the lifeblood of business, regularly backup the data on all computers. Cloud backup services enables businesses to automatically safeguard critical digital information and restore it at any time from any location.

4. Secure your Wi-Fi networks.

This is a potential entry point for cybercriminals, so make sure your Wi-Fi is secure, encrypted and hidden. If your business requires public Wi-Fi for customers, make sure your employees are using your secure network.

5. Control physical access to your IT network.

While we spend a lot of time and effort to protect virtual assets, it’s equally important to protect the physical assets from theft or loss. That means limiting who has access to the business networks, as well as the physical devices connected to it. Create separate accounts for every employee, and limit administrative privileges.

Expertise to Protect Your Business

Small Business IT Security Basics, Part 1: 5 Essential Steps for Ensuring CybersecurityWe’ll have Part 2 of Small Business IT Security Basics in our next blog post, with five more essential steps that every company should follow.

Research has found that only 16 percent of small businesses are “very confident” in their cybersecurity readiness. But an IT managed services provider can lend the expertise needed to protect your company’s data.

Call us for a free consultation and we’ll talk about your security needs — no strings attached. Our expert engineers can design safeguards that are an integral part of your IT network right from the start. Together, we can develop an IT security plan that meets your needs and fits your budget.

 

Since 1995, Manassas Park, VA-based V2 Systems has employed local systems administrators, network engineers, security consultants, help desk technicians and partnering companies to meet a wide range of clients’ IT needs, from research, to implementation, to maintenance. Concentrate on your VISION…We’ll handle the TECHNOLOGY! 

 

ebriceno
About ebriceno
Erik Briceño is the owner of V2 Systems, Inc., one of Northern Virginia’s leading Information Technology Managed Service Providers. He is an inspiring leader for its employees and instrumental business partner for its customers. He is passionate about V2’s purpose, dedicated to exceeding expectations and a consummate professional not afraid of jumping in and getting his hands dirty. Prior to joining V2 Systems in 2002, Erik was a co-founder and COO of Ampcast.com, a leading provider of online resources servicing over 5,000 independent musical artists. At Ampcast.com, Erik spearheaded all aspects of corporate development, funding, strategic vision, and business development for the firm. From 1997 to 1999 Erik held the position of Acoustic Systems Engineer for Electric Boat Corporation, a leading defense contractor. In this role, Erik was responsible for the acoustic fidelity of two noise critical systems and components in the US Navy’s nuclear submarine systems. Erik holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Business Administration from George Mason University. When not working, you will find Erik a dedicated family man, raising two young children with his lovely wife Karen. Together, they enjoy building legos, playing baseball, skiing, riding horses, swimming, traveling, and fixing up old Mopars.
Small Business IT Security Basics, Part 1: 5 Essential Steps for Ensuring Cybersecurity
Small Business IT Security Basics, Part 1: 5 Essential Steps for Ensuring Cybersecurity