As the way we do business becomes increasingly digital, cyberattacks have been on the rise. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses are at a greater risk for cybercrime due to the value of the types of information they tend to hold, and the fact that most small businesses employ fewer cybersecurity measures than larger businesses. COVID-19 only exacerbated this, as many companies were forced to quickly adapt and adopt new digital tools. The SBA also found that 88% of small business owners feel unprepared for a cyberattack. However, Security Magazine reported that more than two-thirds of companies that employ less than 1,000 people have experienced one. Here are a few tips and resources you can use to prevent cybercrimes against your small business.
Cybersecurity resources for small businesses
When it comes to your cybersecurity, drawing upon advice and programs from trusted sources is essential. In addition, the SBA cites that one of the main reasons that small businesses are more subject to cyberattacks is because their owners may think they cannot afford professional IT solutions, or may not know where to start looking for those solutions. The following resources can help you learn more about your small business’s security needs and how to start protecting yourself.
Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is a federal agency devoted to protecting the nation from both cyber and physical risks to critical infrastructure. CISA has developed many excellent resources to educate business owners and individuals on cybercrime prevention. Their Cyber Essentials guide is a good place to start for those who are new to cybersecurity, covering action items that should be taken at various levels of your organization to increase your business’s security. Additionally, CISA provides a bank of materials specifically curated for small to midsize businesses that includes a toolkit, a cyber planner, tip cards and more.
Be sure to check out the resources CISA provides to help your business engage in Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October. And should you ever need report a cyber incident to CISA, you can do so using their online Incident Reporting System.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigates many types of crime, including cybercrime and cyberterrorism. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a branch of the FBI that is dedicated to internet-related crimes, including cyberattacks such as phishing or business email compromise schemes. Anyone can submit crimes for investigation through the IC3 via their website. Like CISA, the FBI also provides numerous articles and tips to help you learn more about cybersecurity risk so that you will be better equipped to recognize threats and risk.
Microsoft’s security tools
Microsoft’s suite of products, including Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook, is one of the most widely used business tools on the market, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft would offer accompanying cybersecurity programs. Their services are based on the Zero Trust security model, which states that a business should never automatically trust anything inside or outside of its system. It builds in additional verification requirements and has shown to be particularly effective against breaches. Their à la carte service options can help you not only see the breadth of security options available to you in one place, but can also help you build the best system for your needs. Their Zero Trust Assessment will help you assess the current strength of your security and provide recommendations for how to continue to build it.
Other helpful resources
It can be difficult to figure out what your security needs are, and how to actively decrease your risk of cyberattack. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Cyberplanner is built specifically for small businesses. It allows you to pick and choose the areas that are most important to you, and then it generates a custom PDF guide with action items related to those areas. In addition, check out CISA’s Cyber Resilience Review. Their series of free, downloadable guides is designed to help you identify your security needs and how to address them.
Cybercrime prevention tips
Cybercrime prevention is about education and preparation. Following cybersecurity best practices and continually auditing your own system to identify and eliminate weak spots can make you more prepared if a cyberattack occurs. To conduct an internal audit of your cybersecurity system, you will need to analyze your system from top to bottom, interview your team members and make changes based on your findings. Because small businesses are at higher risk for cyberattacks, investing in cyber insurance is another way you can protect yourself and your business in the aftermath of a cyberattack.