Cybersecurity: How To Protect Your Small Business

What would happen to your small business if client records, accounting history, and trade secrets were stolen or inaccessible? For many small businesses, the issue of cybersecurity is often ignored due to other priorities that drain the budget.

Data from this ESET and Ipsos survey found that BC small businesses:

  • Were the least diligent in performing standard security practices like backing up files, frequently changing passwords, and educating and auditing employees on proper security practices.
  • Had the highest rate of any province for having proprietary and/or customer data stolen in a cyberattack.
  • Scored the lowest in terms of adding and/or upgrading their security solutions after an attack.

Especially since operations often use online platforms, cybersecurity for small businesses is essential and should be a priority.

Why Would Someone Target a Small Business?

Your small business handles the same sensitive data that cybercriminals target in larger organizations. Since small businesses tend to lack the security, resources, and training of bigger firms, they’re an easy target for many hackers.

The impact can be substantial. Without backups, contingency plans, or financial reserves to support your businesses while offline, it can mean a real loss. When asked how long they could function without access to files and data, 65 percent of Canadian respondents said for only a few hours or days, and 15 percent said they’d cease functioning immediately.

Cybersecurity Tips for Your Small Business

Ultimately, there’s no magic, one-size-fits-all solution to protect businesses of every type and size, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Antivirus or endpoint security – Most businesses have antivirus software. But do they have the right product, is their subscription renewed, and have employees been bringing their devices into work? Ensure you have the right protection for your company’s technology and that you’re updating it regularly.
  • Backup – If your business falls victim to a cyber-attack, you should be able to recover and restore your systems with as little downtime as possible, as long as you remember to back everything up.
  • Policies and education – Many security breaches are due to human error. Be sure to implement basic security procedures and educate your employees on possible threats. The safety of your business is worth putting a few guidelines in place and ensuring staff understand their role in protecting the business. Something as simple as requiring strong passwords or passphrases on all devices and changing them frequently can go a long way.

For more help, visit the RCMP’s Top 10 Cyber Crime Prevention Tips.

Small Business BC is Here to Help

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.