(BPT) - There was a time you could run a small business with a bank account, a telephone, an internet connection and some sort of physical base. These days, cybersecurity has been added to this list as a necessity nearly every small business owner needs to consider.
This is especially true for small businesses such as law offices or accounting firms that deal with a client’s highly sensitive information.
Despite recognizing the need for effective IT security to guard against the next cyberattack, 83 percent of businesses say organizational difficulties put their company at risk, according to a global survey conducted by Citrix. In addition, 74 percent of businesses say they need a new IT framework to improve security and reduce risk.
Because of the highly technical and complicated nature of cyberattacks, many small business owners don’t understand the enormity of these threats, and most learn the hard way.
For example, Dr. David Krier, whose Volunteer Voyages lost over $14,000 through fraudulent withdrawals, learned that banks do not always offer protection against these attacks. His organization was not reimbursed for the money the cyberthieves stole. The situation is not improving. Recently, CBS reported a drastic rise in phishing scams. In 2017, 200 organizations were victims of a phishing scam that resulted in the theft of the data of several hundred thousand employees.
“Because most of the news coverage happens when big companies like Equifax or Target are attacked, many small business owners mistakenly believe that only larger companies are at risk of a security breach,” says Nate Spilker, vice president, product management at Citrix. “The fact is, the majority of cyberattacks will have a detrimental impact on small businesses if they do not have a cybersecurity plan in place.”
Cybersecurity is a very real and very serious matter, but the more you know about it, the better you can prepare against an attack. These seven steps lay the groundwork for establishing an advanced and cost-effective way for small businesses to better guard against the ever-present reality of a cyberattack.
1. Assess current security tools
Your company’s data is only as safe as the technology it employs. Instead of thinking how well protected you are, consider bringing in an outside consultant to expose your vulnerabilities. This will help you to honestly analyze the current tools your company uses and understand where you can improve.
2. Invest in staffing
It can be challenging for a small business to hire new employees. But because the cyber threat is so real and potentially devastating, hiring knowledgeable and experienced security personnel might be the most important step you can take to protect your business.
3. Encrypt your data
You may trust your personal photos and music to the web, but your business's and your clients’ data raises a whole other host of concerns. Many business-class cloud services employ encryption technology, which transforms data in an indecipherable code that can only be opened with a specific key as it travels between secure destinations.
4. Think beyond passwords
It’s safe to say most people are unable to remember all their passwords. Not only are passwords cumbersome, but poor password practices can create major security problems. In fact, 91 percent of security professionals think passwords will be a thing of the past within a decade. Many security experts now recommend user authentication technology to make protecting data both easier and more effective.
5. Use a consolidated platform
By implementing a secure, company-wide tool such as Citrix ShareFile, which includes file sharing, storing and document signing as well as remote desktop access that integrates with common business apps like Microsoft Office 365, employees will be more collaborative and productive. They will also be able to work from anywhere, on any device, at any time.
6. Create and enforce a standard IT policy
Whether you have a traditional office setup, contractors working remotely or a bring-your-own-device policy, make it a priority for employees to understand the security risks involved with using unapproved applications.
7. Be proactive
Stay updated on the latest developments and concerns in the cybersecurity landscape and how you can improve your company’s defenses. For instance, take the time to review how the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT) can both benefit and add new security risks to your company.
A solution that takes into account many security measures involves implementing a cutting-edge file sync-and-sharing system, like Citrix ShareFile.
With more than 80,000 business customers and 20 million business users, Citrix has developed their systems to be easy to use and capable of handling all types of files, from sensitive legal briefs to 3D architectural designs. Combining user experience with security, ShareFile safeguards data through leading industrial security standards.
To learn more about small business technology solutions, visit www.sharefile.com.