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4 Best Ways to Increase Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Posted by Devayani Bapat

May 10, 2024

Here’s our all-you-need-to-know guide for small businesses to help you stay cyber-secure.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, 2023, the number of cyber complaints received in 2023 was up by 10% compared to 2022, and the cost of reported cybercrime increased by 22% to a staggering approximate amount of $12.5 billion.

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In light of the substantial increase in reported cyber crimes, safeguarding business interests has become paramount. Cybersecurity stands out as a critical tool that businesses of all sizes must prioritize to ensure the safety and integrity of their ecosystems against evolving cyber threats and attacks.

Implementing a comprehensive cyber security strategy from inception is crucial for small businesses, especially those that lack the resources to withstand the consequences of such attacks. Below are some foundational steps that small business owners and entrepreneurs can take to establish and maintain a safe, cyber-secure environment.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity encompasses using technology and measures to safeguard data, networks, systems, and devices from cyber attacks. These measures can help a small business owner avoid the exploitation and theft of digital assets and confidential company information.

For example, if you’re a small business owner who runs a restaurant and you extensively utilize your point of sale system to manage transactions, it would be imperative for you to implement a firewall system or strong enough anti-virus to ensure that system malware does not tamper with or compromise any of your customer payment data.

In summary, small business cybersecurity involves employing technological tools and best practices to defend your company against online threats and ensure the safety of digital assets and customer information.

Four ways in which small businesses can amp up their cybersecurity:

  • Invest in Cyber Insurance

When considering cyber security, notable data breaches like the 2021 Microsoft software breach, which affected over 30,000 businesses and government entities, highlight the potential risks organizations of all sizes face. While it’s impossible to guarantee immunity from cyber threats, prudent measures can mitigate potential damage.  

Cyber insurance emerges as a crucial component for small businesses. Like life or medical insurance in health crises, cyber insurance is a safety net against online threats. It shields firms from the financial fallout of data breaches or compromises, which can severely impact operations.

The loss or compromise of company data can be financially catastrophic for small businesses. Cyber insurance policies help mitigate these risks by covering costs associated with breaches, including legal fees, customer notification, and recovery expenses.

For tailored cyber insurance solutions, consulting professional financial advisors is recommended. They can provide expert guidance in selecting and implementing the most suitable cyber insurance policy to safeguard your business against evolving cyber risks.

  • Two-factor authentication

Implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) is a highly effective security measure for small businesses handling sensitive data or customer information. It provides an additional layer of protection for cloud-based documents and critical information, especially in environments where comprehensive cybersecurity budgets may be limited.

In many cases, employees use weak passwords that hackers can easily exploit. Two-factor authentication enhances security by requiring an extra step beyond username and password entry, typically by sending a verification code or one-time password to authenticate user identity. This significantly reduces the likelihood of successful hacking attempts and helps mitigate the impact of human error.

If you are among the 87% of small businesses taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity, adopting two-factor authentication is strongly recommended. By leveraging this strategy, you can bolster your defenses against cyber threats and safeguard your business-critical systems and data.

  • Train your employees

Consider a scenario within a social media or digital marketing firm that involves managing multiple client accounts. If passwords to these accounts are compromised, it could lead to severe breaches of confidential client data during a cyber threat or attack. In such situations, employees responsible for managing these accounts may struggle to navigate and respond effectively. 

This spotlights the importance of employee training in cybersecurity. Educating your workforce about cybersecurity practices and equipping them with knowledge on securing devices and networks is essential for long-term security. Creating strong passwords, avoiding clicking suspicious email links, and safeguarding confidential information can significantly enhance overall security posture.

While these practices are commonplace in technology-focused firms, they are equally crucial for other small businesses less familiar with daily cybersecurity tasks. Regular reminders from HR about cybersecurity best practices and the importance of utilizing up-to-date malware protection software can further reinforce these efforts and enhance overall organizational resilience against cyber threats.

  • Invest in a good anti-virus

This one’s super simple and self-explanatory. While many people might think this is important for personal devices, it plays a massive role in protecting small businesses and their online environments.

Anti-virus protection is crucial for any business that utilizes internet-connected devices. Without it, you expose yourself to various online security threats, such as viruses and digital attacks. These threats can severely damage your computer systems, resulting in data loss or theft, disruption of business operations, and financial losses due to downtime. Furthermore, compromised systems can jeopardize the personal information of your customers, leading to potential identity theft or fraud.

Businesses serve as lucrative targets for digital goons due to their access to sensitive data. If this data is compromised, it can be exploited for illicit purposes like identity theft or fraud. In some cases, cybercriminals may demand ransom in exchange for not publicly disclosing confidential information.

Anti-virus protection is essential for businesses as it is a defense mechanism against these threats. By effectively combating malware, anti-virus software helps safeguard data and ensure the smooth functioning of business operations. This minimizes disruptions and enhances business efficiency by reducing issues and maintaining uninterrupted workflow. Therefore, investing in anti-virus protection is critical to bolster cybersecurity for small businesses.

The Key Takeaway

Cyber security is paramount for businesses to protect against evolving threats in the digital landscape. Safeguarding sensitive data, maintaining operational continuity, and preserving customer trust are essential to effective cyber security measures.

By prioritizing cyber security, small businesses and entrepreneurs can mitigate financial risks associated with data breaches, minimize disruptions to operations, and uphold their reputations in the marketplace. Investing in these easy-to-implement cybersecurity practices protects small businesses from potential cyber-attacks. It fosters a resilient and secure environment that supports sustainable growth and success in today’s interconnected world.

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Want to know more? In addition to taxes, accounting, bookkeeping, and CFO services through its FinOps, Escalon’s Essential Business Services include PeopleOps (HR, benefits, recruiting, and payroll) and Risk (business insurance). Talk to an expert today.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal, or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please get in touch with us here.


Devayani Bapat
Devayani Bapat

With 6 years of experience in copywriting and social media management across genres, Devayani's heart lies with weaving words into stories and visuals into carefully crafted narratives that’ll keep you wanting more. She carries with her, her pocket notebook, a trusted confidante that goes with her wherever she goes, and scribbles down into it anecdotes on the go. Her secret weapon for keeping all things copy interesting! Apart from writing, Devayani is huge on travelling. You'll find her booking her next adventure while she's on her current one. And while on those adventures, you'll find her devouring true crime books one after the other. Whether it's a low down on a recent case or one that occurred 70 years ago, she can cook up a story narration you'll never forget.

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