For some small to medium business owners, the idea of a cyber attack seems a remote and unlikely problem. However, your business does not need to be flashy, well known, or have huge revenues to become the victim of a cyber security breach. In fact, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are common targets of cyber criminals. Implementing strong network security plans in advance of attempted attacks can be a lifesaving step for a small business.
Why Are Network Security Plans Essential for SMBs?
Why is network security important? A cyber attack can cost small businesses significant time and money. In fact, more than half of all small businesses that fall victim to a cyber attack close up shop within six months.
Small Business Trends reported that more than 40 percent of all cyber attacks were on small businesses. Moreover, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), cyber theft has become the most common type of fraud—even more common than physical theft.
Small businesses rely on their IT networks to complete mission-critical tasks. Therefore, small- and medium-sized businesses must implement network security planning to reduce the risk of theft, sabotage, and destruction of their business.
Network Security Plans for Small and Medium Businesses
There are many considerations when choosing how to protect your small or medium business from a network security breach. Though experts vary in their advice and approaches to keeping a business safe from cyber attacks, most agree upon including the following several elements in a network security plan for small and medium businesses:
- A firewall: A firewall is a gatekeeper to Internet traffic and is a must for all businesses.
- Antivirus software: Having good antivirus software may protect you from constant malicious threats.
- Education for your employees: Employees can be targets of phishing and other cyber attacks, so it’s important to routinely educate them on what to do and not do.
- Ensure your Wi-Fi is secure: Don’t allow the public to access your Wi-Fi. Protect your Wi-Fi with a strong password. If you want to allow public access to Wi-Fi at your business, make it a separate network from your business one and take necessary precautions.
- Back up your data: Ransomware attacks can completely lock up your system and the hackers may ask you to pay for the release of your data back to you. Of course, the majority of those who pay the ransom do not get their data returned. If you have a backup, you can survive an attack of this kind.
SMB Network Security Management
Cyber security is an ever-evolving field. However, experts in cyber crimes and cyber attacks are in high demand because of the devastating cost to a small- or medium-sized business.
SMB network security management develops a plan to protect a business’s network and data from theft, misuse, destruction, and malfunction. Network security planning anticipates potential breaches and gets ahead of them by using the most up-to-date strategies and equipment available within your business’s budget.
Network Security Plans for Your Budget
Your budget, among other considerations, will determine the extent of your business network security plan. However, even small businesses with limited budgets can use smart network security planning to protect their company’s best interests.
Some of the most important steps for SMB network security management include:
- Restricting network access;
- Determining whether you need to upgrade your system and doing so when you can afford to;
- Installing the best hardware and software protection you can afford;
- Routinely monitoring your security settings and updating passwords often.
Network security planning is vital to any business, regardless of size. Small- and medium-sized businesses often have more modest budgets than big businesses; however, they need network security plans just as much, if not more, than larger businesses.