Many people assume that only big businesses serve as a target for cybercriminals. But the Small Business Administration begs to differ: according to a recent SBA survey, 88% of small business owners are worried that their company is vulnerable to a cyber attack.
That reflects larger industry trends, which show that many small businesses lack a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy—or that they can’t afford the professional IT solutions needed to develop one.
That’s not sustainable in the long-term, however, as hackers continue to target smaller companies for two simple reasons, according to the SBA: “they have information that cybercriminals want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses.”
So what can your business do to protect its information?
The first step is to consider the threat and develop a plan of action—something many businesses haven’t done yet. In today’s digital world, it’s less a matter of if your company will be compromised and more a matter of when. As hackers develop more complex methods of attack, companies and their employees must respond to secure networks, devices, data, and day-to-day operations.
At CMIT Solutions, we’ve identified five major steps that businesses can take to mitigate the threat your business might face from cyberattacks, data breaches, and other online problems.
1) Deal with older desktops or laptops that are still running out-of-date operating systems.
This is a problematic issue that faces thousands of businesses each year. Earlier in 2020, millions of machines powered by Windows 7 exceeded their regularly scheduled “end of life” period when Microsoft discontinued support for the operating system. Cyber thieves will often target specific machines running those old systems, putting any unsecured data or accessible personal information at risk. Dealing with such machines now and developing a plan for other old computers that could soon be at risk is vital to overall cybersecurity.
2) Build up protections around laptops and mobile devices used by employees.
With 2020’s shift toward more remote work among millions of North Americans, protecting laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even home Wi-Fi routers has become critical to maintaining company-wide cybersecurity. This includes a range of tools, from remote desktop protocols for user administration to cloud-based app management for user access. At the end of the day, it’s contingent on every company to deploy extra layers of IT security around the devices used by employees to manage networks and monitor potentially dangerous Internet connections.
3) Implement a data backup plan that works.
To put it bluntly, if you’re not regularly, remotely, and redundantly backing up company information on a daily basis, your business could be at risk. Many of the most dangerous recent cyberattacks work because most companies don’t have access to extra copies of relevant data. That leaves them no choice but to give in to a hacker’s demands—often having to make a desperate payment of thousands of dollars of ransom just to retrieve stolen or encrypted information. Protecting it against everything from natural disasters to malicious attacks to hardware failure. Investment in this area pays off, too: all it takes is one or two days of significant data downtime to severely affect your company’s bottom line, where a reliable data backup and recovery protocol could have you back up and running in hours instead of weeks.
4) Provide cybersecurity training, ongoing education, and anytime support.
Many of the most common cybersecurity problems occur due to simple human error: clicking on a malicious web link, accidentally opening an infected attachment, or providing confidential information to a hacker posing as a co-worker or executive. That’s why CMIT Solutions takes employee training so seriously. Smart, well-informed employees can serve as the first line of cybersecurity defense, flagging spam emails or alerting higher-ups to suspicious online activity that can then be addressed by the trained IT technicians.
Want to know more about the best way to share documents, empower your employees, and streamline everyday workflows? Contact CMIT Solutions today
5) Partner with an IT support team that understands your company.
A part-time employee handling computer issues on the side won’t get it done. In our rapidly evolving digital landscape, your business deserves dedicated IT support that addresses short-term vulnerabilities while working with you to develop a long-term strategy for business success.
The good news is that decisive action can be taken to mitigate the risks outlined above. Whether you’re a large enterprise with multiple locations and hundreds of employees or a small business with one storefront, a couple of employees, and a few computers, CMIT Solutions is here to keep you and your employees safe.
With more than 200 offices and 800 technicians spread around North America, we are proud to serve our clients as a true business partner, working 24/7/365 to match the right IT solutions to your company’s needs. We defend your data, strengthen your systems, and empower your employees to work smarter and more efficiently.
If you want to grow your business instead of worrying about a potential cyberattack or data hack, contact CMIT Solutions today