Main Content

Back to Blog List

Cybersecurity for small businesses
  • 12 June 2018
  • Tiffany C Wright

Cybersecurity for small businesses

You may think that a basic anti-virus program installed once and left unattended is sufficient in protecting your small business from online threats. In reality, cybersecurity is something you want to continually monitor so that you can take appropriate action in order to protect yourself, vendor and customer information, and your overall business.

There are different types of tools to consider when putting together a security strategy. Do your research so that you’re aware of the ever-changing risks. Depending on your business and the types of activities that you and your staff do online, you might consider antivirus/anti-malware programs, internet security suites, password managers, or even email encryption software.


Equally important to developing a small business security plan is training all of your employees to adhere to established cybersecurity best practices.

Protect your systems.

Your first line of defense in security protection is to install and use robust anti-virus and anti-malware software. Most computers come with a free or trial version of anti-virus, but when you’re using that computer for business purposes, you should consider investing in something more comprehensive. And because new viruses and other malware are continually emerging, it’s important to regularly update your operating systems and anti-virus software.

Create or strengthen your email policy.

According to Inc. magazine, one in 131 emails contains a link or attachment that leads to malware, ransomware or phishing. As a business owner, be sure to have an email policy where all of your staff understands the risks, what to do and what not to do when it comes to suspicious emails. Start by ensuring that each person has their own email account and that everyone establishes strong passwords.

Look out for emails that ask you to share or submit sensitive information. These can be phishing emails, and they’re often successful because they look like real emails from trusted sources. Train your employees to refrain from clicking on any link or attachment that is not expected, even if it appears to come from a trusted source. Any emails requesting confirmation via clicking on links or completing attachments are suspect. If in doubt, employees should go directly to the website (through traditional channels) or pick up the phone and call.

If you want to take email communication security to the next level, you might consider an email encryption software. Whether you choose to have emails automatically encrypted, or selectively encrypt individual emails, this can be another tool to help you protect your business from the loss of confidential information.

Back up your data regularly.

Backing up your information is critical to protecting data and keeping your network secure. In the event of a cyberattack or data breach, having access to a recent backup of your clean data is imperative in keeping your business running.

Be sure you back up to a source that is not likely to be corrupted by the same breach should your computer or network be attacked. This can mean backing up to an offsite server or to an on-site server that is offline except when performing the back up. Another option is to back up to the cloud or to a portable hard drive that remains unplugged except when backing up. If the former, be sure to use a source that is known for its security measures to protect your backup from being hacked.

If you create critical documents or other content, or generate large amounts of data on a daily basis, then back up daily. Otherwise, backing up weekly should suffice.

Consider the options.

Oftentimes, providers of security tools offer discounts when you buy a multi-year package, so check with a variety of different vendors to find what works best for your business.

Help protect yourself and set your business on the path to network security health. Be aware of the risks and the threats to the different aspects of your business, and then take the necessary steps to shore up your cybersecurity practices.

Back to Blog List