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Resilience series, Part 1: Guard your business with cybersecurity

Did you know that 61% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) were hit by successful cyberattacks in the last year? According to BlackFog research, it’s true. Beyond that, about one-third of those businesses suffered from a loss of customers. Those are some scary statistics, but your business doesn’t have to become one of them.

In the first installment of our six-part Resilience series,* we’re going to cover cybersecurity, which is fitting as cybersecurity is your first line of defense for remaining resilient. With cyberthreats evolving daily, your business must adapt and stay one step ahead of cyberthieves. We’ll explore how the right cybersecurity measures can transform your business— and your employees—into a fortress against malicious threats. 

Protecting against the expanding cyberthreat landscape

Cyberthreats come in many forms—from phishing emails that trick employees into giving away confidential information, to ransomware attacks that lock you out of your own systems. No business is immune to these threats, especially small businesses. But with the proper cybersecurity measures in place, you can thwart would-be attackers from gaining access to your system and stealing your data. Here’s how:

1. Educate your team

Think of your employees as the gatekeepers to your fortress. It’s important to educate them about the latest cyberthreats and best practices. Investing in a security awareness training program for your team is a worthwhile investment. These programs include regular training sessions that help employees recognize phishing attempts, suspicious links and the importance of creating hard-to-crack passwords. 

2. Fortify your defenses

Just as you take care to make sure your business is secure (i.e., locked windows and doors; a security system), you must also strengthen your digital defenses. Implement robust antivirus software, firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Also, ensure regular updates to your software and firmware so cybercriminals can’t exploit any vulnerabilities. 

3. Implement data backup and recovery

If you get hit by a cyberattack, having data backup and recovery plans in place is key. Regularly back up your data to an offsite location or the cloud. And make sure you have a clear (and tested) plan for recovering data and resuming operations if you suffer from an attack. 

4. Control access

Only grant application access to those who need it. And don’t give administrative access to everyone. Lock down user profiles so employees are limited to the information relevant to their position. Make sure only authorized users have access to sensitive data and systems.

5. Stay informed

The cyberthreat landscape is constantly changing. Stay informed about the latest threats and defenses by subscribing to cybersecurity newsletters and following industry news or podcasts. Joining small business cybersecurity forums and networks can help provide valuable insights and support. 

Remain resilient through cybersecurity

Now that you’ve learned five ways to equip your business against cyberattacks, let’s dive into how these cybersecurity measures contribute to your business’s resilience. 

  • Minimizes downtime. A cyberattack can bring your business to a screeching halt. But with a solid cybersecurity plan, you can reduce downtime by quickly identifying and mitigating threats. Your business runs smoothly, even if it’s hit by a cyberattack. 

  • Protects your reputation. Small businesses typically rely on their reputation within their local communities. But a data breach or security incident can tarnish your image. Protect your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty by safeguarding customer data and maintaining trust. 

  • Maintains legal and financial safety. Cyberattacks can result in stolen data, lost customers, legal consequences and financial burdens. Compliance with data protection regulations is a legal obligation and a key component of remaining resilient. Preventing data breaches helps you avoid large fines and legal battles.

Stay vigilant to remain resilient

In the digital age, cybersecurity isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity for small businesses. By educating your team, fortifying your defenses and staying informed, you can protect your business from cyberthreats. Take these cybersecurity measures seriously, and let them be your first step toward resilience. 

*In the upcoming articles of this series, we’ll continue to explore the ways small businesses can remain resilient in the face of adversity.

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