Small Business Cybersecurity Checklist

Small business owners have a lot to worry about in this environment. Inflation is high and the competition for workers is intense. With such uncertain horizons, it’s important for business owners to get a handle on the things within their power to control. One of those things is security. If you’re a bar owner, security usually means hiring a bunch of large men to guard the door. But unless you own a bar (or a bank), security for your business likely means protecting your digital assets and servers from malicious hackers. You need a digital bouncer, not a physical one.

Unfortunately, as long as you’re connected to the internet, you’ll always be a few clicks away from allowing one of these miscreants into your network. Here are some key steps that should be on your small business cybersecurity checklist.

Training and Education

You don’t need a week-long seminar on cybersecurity, but you do need to make sure your team is on the same page when it comes to policies and procedures. What scams are most likely to be attempted on a company in your industry? What are the easiest ways for hackers to gain entry to your system? Make sure your team knows the strengths and weaknesses of your cybersecurity systems and practices good habits to prevent leaks. If needed, you can perform occasional phishing scam tests on your team to make sure they’re aware of when to follow links and when not to.

Secure Your WiFi

Do you lock your home WiFi with a password? Of course you do! Why should someone else get to watch Netflix on your dime? Now let’s think about your business, which likely requires giving access to a wider range of people in far more public places. Sure, it’s simple enough to secure the office WiFi with a password, but now that work-from-home has become the norm, your business data has more chances than ever to get intercepted. Be sure your employees are following secure business practices at home like they would in the office.

Multi-Factor Authentication

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to secure your company’s servers is through two-factor or multi-factor authentication. With single factor authentication, all an ill-intentioned actor needs to do is access the password required for log-in. Changing passwords frequently is always recommended, but relying on a simple password for defense is playing with fire.

By using multi-factor authentication, you’ll be taking an extra step to ensure that only the people you want accessing your network can do so. When multi-factor authentication is enabled, users will have to confirm their identity through a phone number or email address – something a hacker is less likely to have access to. Multi-factor authentication can also alert you to potential security breaches. If you receive a request for authentication that you didn’t initiate, it’s a sign that someone likely has your password and it’s time to change it.

Update Antivirus and Malware Software

Much like how financial criminals always seem one step ahead of regulators, hackers are always searching for new loopholes or vulnerabilities in cybersecurity programs. Antivirus and malware protection software is a must for any business, but remember that you get what you pay for. Using some sort of free antivirus software is likely going to leave you behind the curve when it comes to cyber attacks.

Cyber crime was expected to cross the $6 trillion threshold in 2021. That’s not just stolen money, but also intellectual property, personal information, and hours upon hours of wasted time repairing your systems. You want to invest in antivirus and malware protection that not only guards your network efficiently, but also updates frequently to keep you safe from the newest schemes and scams.

Use Common Sense

As mentioned above, many hackers cannot access your network unless they’re allowed in. But unfortunately, today’s criminals have created new ways to gain access to information. Emails are spoofed, scam texts come from authentic looking sources, and entire websites are faked in order to trick users into entering personal data.

Keeping yourself protected from all angles can be difficult, but sometimes the best prevention is a little logic and critical thinking. If you receive an email from what looks like a coworker or employee at an odd time, make sure that email actually came from them before opening it. Don’t think you’re invulnerable just because you have virus protection activated or a VPN up and running. Act with caution and use common sense. Is Target really sending you a free $500 gift card? No, they are not. If something looks suspicious or too good to be true, assume that it is and proceed accordingly.


The opinions voiced are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.