Did You Know: Just 52 per cent of Canadian businesses have a strategy for cybersecurity. While we’re naturally risk averse in the private security world, this seems like an incredibly risky reality for Canadian businesses. In the coming months and years, adopting a robust set of cybersecurity protocols should be the priority for every organization.
Small Business Equals a Big Target for Cyber Crime
Across Canada, small businesses make up the majority of all businesses. The further west you go, the greater this percentage increases, with small businesses in British Columbia accounting for 98 per cent of all businesses. With less security protection and fewer resources allocated to cybersecurity, these businesses are an easy target for hackers and other criminal elements.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a giant investment to bring a business up to speed. There are lots of small steps a business can take to make themselves a less appealing target for crime. Just like the idea of crime prevention by environmental design in real life, most businesses simply need to create an environment where it’s tough for cyber crime to flourish. We’ve got some ideas to help you on the way.
Here are six key tips to protect your business from cybercrime.
It pays to understand your enemy, how they work, and the common types of threats you can face. Start by referring to our earlier article on the types and frequencies of cyber threats faced by Canadian businesses. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security is another invaluable tool, while Blackbird Security’s own in-house Cyber Security experts are standing by to perform an audit, or advice on how to increase your protection.
Create a Cyber Security Plan
Successful businesses lean on operations plans, business plans, and other technical documents as a roadmap towards success. Cyber Security should be no different. It should include an employee training program, and an incident response plan. Employees should be empowered to take responsibility where appropriate, including understanding the importance of keeping software up to date. Ensure any training is regularly updated, and not “one and done.”
Be Password Savvy
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to utilize secure passwords. Encourage your employees to create long, unique passwords that are easy for them to remember. If your business deals with any highly sensitive data, you may want to require multi-factor authentication. This process usually involves a time-sensitive code being emailed or texted to an individual when they try to log-in. When utilized correctly, multi-factor authentication works effectively to prevent password breaches.
Watch Your Email Security
Emails are an underrated threat vector in cybercrime. While we’re all aware of common scams trying to get hold of our banking details, a growing number of threats are disguised as common office files. In your employee training plan, cover basic email safety precautions. Instruct staff not to open suspicious attachments or click on links unless they’re sure of the safety.
Use a Firewall and Antivirus Software
Think of a firewall as the first line of defense against cyber threats. While it shouldn’t be considered impregnable, it will often be enough to deter unskilled attackers. There are many types of firewalls, but they fall into two broad categories: hardware or software. Shop around and ensure you identify one with the right functionality you need for your organization.
Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Don’t rely on the basic password supplied with your Wi-Fi equipment. Most routers allow customized security settings and passwords. The gold standard for Wi-Fi security is Wi-Fi Protected Access II or WPA2. You also have the option of hiding your network from scans, meaning your router won’t broadcast your network name. This is often enough to fly under the radar of opportunistic hackers.