Password Protection for your SMBWednesday, May 18, 2022
Posted by Robert Beagle
Small businesses are undergoing a digital transformation in order to improve productivity, efficiency, and in order to make data-backed business decisions, but this comes with one caveat: cyberattacks. Because small businesses usually aren’t properly equipped to deal with malware and other security breaches, hackers see this as an opportunity to gain access to sensitive data.
While hiring an IT consultant can be a great way to mitigate some of these risks and relieve the burden from your SMB’s IT department, installing a password manager can be a huge step to protecting your logins and business data. Continue reading to find out some of the best ways to protect your business from cybercrime.
How can I protect my business credentials?
According to a 2021 report from Verizon DBIR, 85% of breaches involve a human element. The best way to mitigate these risks is to start reinforcing your security practices at your potential weakest points – your employees. Follow these tips to learn how to inform your employees of security risks and mitigate unnecessary potential threats:
-Educate your employees. Teach your employees to be vigilant for cybercriminals and inform them of the importance of data security. If you have the ability to grant them a personal account, this is a great way to encourage cybersecurity both at work and at home, especially if you allow your employees to bring their own devices to work or to work from home.
-Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). It’s vital to ensure only the correct employees have access to the corresponding applications at the right time, especially for high-risk accounts and applications that involve financial data, legal data, or non-cloud applications like VPNs and workstations. It’s critical to make sure you have MFA turned on everywhere that it is possible.
-Use single sign-on (SSO) when possible. Single sign-on solutions allow employees to have seamless access to key applications through trust. Single sign-on uses a single domain to undertake the authentication process and oversee access control. These solutions use federation protocols that include SAML and can be integrated with multi-factor authentication (MFA) tools, other identity providers, VPNs, firewalls, and more. When single sign-on is enabled, your organization will have visibility into which users have access to which application and can simply authorize or remove user access to an application when necessary.
-Secure your Wi-Fi networks. According to the FCC, your business’ Wi-Fi should be secure, encrypted, and hidden. Your business router should also be protected – and hidden.
-Back up your files. Cyberattacks not only compromise your information, but they often delete or steal your data. In order to help mitigate this risk, you can install backup programs that help you schedule or automate backups for methods like cloud storage, external hard drives, flash drives, or network-attached storage (NAS). Always keep a copy of your backups offline in the event of a cyberattack.
-Install antivirus software. Finding antivirus software that works for your business is an important safeguard against cybercrime. Although there are plenty of paid options, there are free options that can get the job done like Microsoft Defender, Norton Antivirus, or AVG Antivirus.
Protecting passwords for your SMB
Now that you’ve educated your employees on cybersecurity risks, it’s time to take further dive into some of the best practices for password protection. We highly recommend signing up with LastPass and following these tips:
-Check addresses. Phishing (and similarly smishing and vishing) attacks are on the rise. These attacks can be found via email, text or SMS, and even voice calls. You can avoid these attacks by carefully reviewing any messages you receive for strange sender email addresses, poorly written or misspelled emails, and fraudulent multifactor authentication (MFA) requests.
-Set up your cybersecurity tools according to recommended guidelines. By implementing tools like a password manager and multi-factor authenticator (MFA), you will take a huge step toward securing your data by making sure none of your accounts are breached. These tools help you reset your passwords periodically and authenticate your logins by sending a message to a device that is registered to you.
-Keep your software up-to-date. Hackers often target vulnerabilities that can be found in older applications. When you receive an alert to install a security update from companies like Apple, Microsoft, or Google, install it right away. The same rule applies to smart home devices, security cameras, or other Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets.
-Audit your data. Have you shared any of your credentials? Do you know where your data really is? According to LastPass, 83% of people wouldn’t know if their information was already on the dark web. Make an effort to map out where your data is, find out who has access to your information, and take a digital headcount.
-Protect your information. If someone requests money or highly sensitive information like social security numbers, trust your gut. Even if the sender needs it quickly, take a moment to assess the situation. Don’t be afraid to ask the right questions and get all of the facts before sending your information through.
-Update your old passwords. Changing your old passwords is a great start to becoming more cyber smart. Are you having trouble coming up with a passphrase that includes all of the required specifications like capitals, lowercase, and numbers? Try a password generator.
-Enable dark web monitoring. Did you know you can receive alerts if your credentials have been found anywhere on the dark web? Then you’ll be able to update them quickly and mitigate the risk of being hacked. Dark web scans are also available from Lastpass.
How can I get a free security audit for my SMB?
Are you worried about keeping your passwords and data safe? If this information seems like too much to process, Computer Service Now is a great point of contact for a free security audit. CSN’s network security options offer you an easy and hassle-free option to keep your network safe from ransomware attacks. They’ll also assist you with setting up password managers, multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, data backups, securing your Wi-Fi networks, enabling dark web monitoring, and even educating your employees on the best practices.
As businesses continue to leverage more digital practices, it’s important to acknowledge the risks and implications tied to their cybersecurity efforts. Although many SMBs are becoming more and more savvy to technology, you may be surprised to learn that 80% of cyber breaches are still tied to password security. The fact of the matter is, the more we engage in business online, the more hackers will evolve – so there is no static solution to solving cybersecurity issues. At the end of the day the best you can do is to follow these practices and meet with an IT consultant regularly to stay up-to-date with the best practices.