IT departments of small and medium businesses are often wary of the costs involved when it comes to drawing out a foolproof cybersecurity strategy for their firm. If you are a small business owner or know someone who is, then this post is unmissable for you!

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Owners of small businesses are often under this misconception that cyber attackers will probably spare them as they don’t have much to offer. So forgive us as we proceed to burst your bubble! As long as you have customers’ PII (Personally Identifiable Information) such as credit card details, social security numbers, hackers will seek you out! According to the findings of a cybersecurity report, close to 50% of SMBs have been the victims of a data breach in recent times.

Got you fidgety? Well, cease to worry as we proceed to discuss eight inexpensive ways to tighten your online business’s cybersecurity.

1.   Secure your Website Connection with an SSL certificate:

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer for the uninitiated, which is a digital protocol that secures the connection between the web browser and the client-server. This encrypts the in-transit communication, which the intended recipient can only decode.

Wondering why this is important? Firstly, if you run an online business, you probably request customers to share their PII (Personally Identifiable Information) with you to make a purchase. This may include the likes of confidential information such as credit card, debit card details.

Hackers and data sniffers are always on the lookout for such data for executing their malicious intentions and striking gold! When you install an SSL certificate on your website, you render premium encryption to the exchanged communication, which eliminates the chances of Man-In-The-Middle attacks. This small step not only secures your customers’ data but also improves customer trust! The educated cyber smart customer will always look for the secure padlock sign in the address bar before parting with their confidential details.

Secondly, the cost of a data breach is mind-bogglingly high! According to the research findings, $3.86 million was the average expense incurred by a data breach globally. You wouldn’t wish to add the numbers now, would you?

Therefore you need to invest in the right kind of SSL cert to suit your business’s unique needs. Wondering where you can buy one from? Many reliable SSL providers stock premium yet cheap SSL certs certified by authentic CAs such as Comodo SSL certificate, RapidSSL certificate, Alpha SSL certificate, etc.

2.   Implement Good Password Hygiene:

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The most doable and inexpensive security practice begins with implementing good password hygiene habits amongst employees and users alike. Increasing password strength makes it difficult for hackers to conduct data breaches.

Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report 2016 pointed out that weak, lost or stolen passwords were responsible for 63 per cent of data breaches. Yet, despite this staggering figure, 65 per cent of SMBs do not enforce a strong password policy.

In today’s hybrid working scenario, it is essential to build a robust password strategy. Use a good password manager for starters. An eight character password can be breached in under ten minutes. Adding two characters ups the time limit for executing a breach to seven days. Incorporating another two characters increases the limit to fifty-four years!

3.   Introduce Deploying VPN for Employees:

Another cost-effective and cheap cybersecurity measure for your online business includes using a VPN for remote employees. With a VPN, one can effectively hide one’s IP address, browsing activity, making one virtually immune and untraceable.

One of the lowest-cost options, you can either get them for free or invest in a premium quality VPN with affordable monthly plans.

Almost half of the cybersecurity breaches at SMBs are a result of employee negligence. You can overcome this by employing this simple and cheap option.

4.   Regularly Create Backups of All your Data

While you try your best to implement all cybersecurity measures, it is always sensible to keep copies of your data in the cloud and physical spaces. So that if a data breach happens, you don’t find yourself high and dry!

The US Small Business Administration suggests creating backups of electronic spreadsheets, word processing documents, financial files, databases, human resources files, etc. Ensure that you regularly check your backups to know that they are up to date.

Keep extra copies in a separate physical location as well to eliminate flood and fire hazards.

5.   Implement Anti-Malware Software:

As an online business owner, you might believe that your employees won’t fall prey to phishing emails because they will know not to open them and download malicious content. However, statistics have an entirely different story to tell.

According to the findings of a report, 30 per cent of employees opened phishing emails. Phishing attacks often include making unsuspecting users download attachments on their system that contains malware. To counter this, you must install good and reliable anti-malware software.

6.   Encourage the Use of 2 Factor Authentication wherever Possible:

Employing robust passwords is the basic step towards ensuring cybersecurity. However, it is sensible to implement two-factor or multi-factor authentication as it provides an additional layer of security even if your password gets compromised.

Two-factor authentication uses another piece of information that only you or your employee knows, such as an OTP sent to your smartphone, your biometrics, or a question whose answer is known only to you. This way, your confidential information stays protected from the prying eyes of hackers.

7.   Regularly Update Your Software:

Keeping your software updated is essential because it comes with security patches that help fix any inherent vulnerabilities in the software. This reduces the incidences of cybersecurity. Therefore it is highly recommended to install software updates as soon as they are released.

8.   Train Your Employees in Cybersecurity Best Practices:

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Most companies suffer data breaches not because of system vulnerabilities but because of human error. Therefore, investing in training your employees is highly recommended. Conducting regular training sessions is essential to brief your employees with the latest cybersecurity practices, tools and measures.

Conclusion

On that note, it is safe to say that implementing the above low-cost methods will help improve the cybersecurity of your online business. Installing the right kind of SSL certificate, using VPN and robust passwords, etc., will help you secure your customers’ confidential information. Got more insights to share? Let us know in the comments box below!

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