5 Ways to Improve Cybersecurity for Small Business in 2021

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Creating a dedicated plan that revolves around cybersecurity for small business is essential, especially when your company works remotely. Having a security strategy specific to small business cybersecurity can help you protect the privacy of your employees, your clients and your company. As remote work becomes more common, safeguarding your organization’s data has become more urgent; Security Magazine predicts remote workers will be the biggest cybercrime targets of 2021.

Here are five small business cybersecurity practices that can help keep your business safe.

Use VPNs and Password Protectors

Remote workers often rely on home devices and networks. Take steps to introduce technology that enables the type of strong network security necessary for cybersecurity for small business. There are two primary tools you can use to achieve this:

  • A virtual private network (VPN), which creates a secure, encrypted connection between an employee location and the company network.
  • Password protectors, which encrypt passwords and make it harder to hack into key systems while making it easier for employees to use strong passwords.

A businesswoman looks thoughtfully at her laptop, protected by cybersecurity for small business

Try Secure Communications Software

Staying connected is one of the most important challenges of working remotely. If your company went remote for the pandemic, it’s likely that figuring out how your employees would communicate with one another, talk with customers and share files securely became a top consideration. Investing in a secure solution such as Slack or Microsoft Teams allows you to create a dedicated workspace for collaboration while keeping essential company and employee data secure.

Vet Your Vendors

Scaling up remote operations often requires investing in new tools and technologies. When you do, it’s important to vet vendors and ensure they meet regulatory guidelines and small business cybersecurity best practices. Consider asking your vendors the following questions:

  • What regulations affect the transactions being handled by your solution, and how do you comply?
  • Where do you store customer information and what steps do you take to keep it safe?
  • How do you ensure that our company access credentials remain secure?
  • In case of an emergency, what backup and disaster recovery solutions do you have in place?
  • If a breach or data issue does occur, what insurance and cybersecurity talent do you have to deal with remediation?

Physical File Policies

Does your team handle sensitive physical files? For example, an auto body may rely on a remote employee to input customer data, including payment information. This would lead to the remote employee having sensitive forms lying around their home office, which could lead to a major security breach.

Companies handling such sensitive info should put policies in place to ensure that physical files are scanned to a secured, shared digital drive and that the paper copy gets shredded. Paper files that must be kept can be scanned to the same drive and then stored in a locked filing cabinet for safe keeping. Businesses can arrange for regular socially distanced hand-offs of those physical files so they can be moved to the central office for greater security.

Train Your Team

As Cyberdefense Magazine notes, humans are often the weakest link in your security setup, and investing in training can help improve security outcomes. Create a security policy and training plan for your employees. Areas to consider covering include basic password hygiene, the importance of working on a password-protected WiFi network, never sharing credentials with strangers and not clicking on links or attachments from unknown individuals.

Another pillar of training your team is making them aware of different types of threats and offering opportunities to practice identifying them. Finally, designate an IT contact or a manager who employees can reach out to with security questions to help keep your data secure.

Working remotely allows your business to stay operational no matter what happens. However, successful remote work can only occur when smart small business cybersecurity best practices are implemented. If you need to purchase secure software or hardware or require IT expertise, a small business loan can help you access the resources you need to quickly safeguard your organization.

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