Executive Summary: Essential Cyber Security Tools For A Small Business
- Having the right cyber security tools for a small business has become essential
- 60% of small businesses close within months of a cyber attack
- Budgets are limited to so choosing the correct cyber security tools for a small business is critical
- We outline and rank the most important cyber security tools your small business needs right now
Introduction to The 5 Essential Cyber Security Tools For A Small Business
As a small business, it’s hard to know where to start when it comes to cyber security. You know it’s important, but with so many tools and options out there, it can be overwhelming. How to choose the right cyber security tools for your small business?
This post will clarify what you need, what is “nice to have”, and where you should start when it comes to small business cyber security.
When it comes to small business cyber security, there are additional challenges:
- Limited budgets
- Lack of expertise and having to rely on (expensive) “experts”
- The knowledge that 1 cyber attack can close down a small business
- (60% of small businesses close down within months of a serious cyber attack)
Enough stats. Let’s jump into the most important cyber security tools every small business needs.
Essential Small Business Cyber Security Tool #1: Your Provider
Your provider will form the backbone of your cyber security strategy. By provider, we mean Microsoft or Google – which we recommend – or another company that provides you with your basic tools such as email, spreadsheets, and word processing.
Companies like Microsoft and Google have excellent built-in cyber security features for small businesses.
For example, if you are reading this using Google Chrome browser, you have good protection against malicious websites. You’ve probably seen the warning before, but it’s a great way to ensure you don’t click somewhere you shouldn’t.
Google as an essential cyber security tool for a small business
Similarly, if Microsoft Outlook is your email provider, you have built-in cyber security tools that come with the solution.
It’s very important that these are kept up-to-date.
For a few extra dollars, you will be ensuring that your small business has the latest versions including all the patches and updates required.
Even better is if you use their Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) tools: Microsoft 365 and Google G Suite. These come packed with features, are always up to date, require a small subscription fee and give you access to essential cyber security tools.
Sign up to Microsoft’s Office 365 here, and Google’s G Suite and this link.
Essential Small Business Cyber Security Tool #2: Email Security
Here’s one fact to blow your mind...
90% of cyber threats are delivered via email.
That means that by protecting your email, you’ve essentially protected your entire business against cyber threats.
That’s why Email Security is #2 on this list of essential cyber security tools for a small business.
The main online threats a small business is likely to face include:
- Other malware
- Data breach
Fraud: Most commonly perpetrated as “supplier fraud”, where you receive an email that a regular supplier has changed their banking details. You pay into the new account, only the email was fake and you’ve lost your money and you still owe your supplier...and your relationship with them can be strained.
Phishing: These are fake emails purporting to be from legitimate senders. For example, they could fake being from your bank, your employee or your accountant. Generally these are used to steal money, obtain access to your accounts, or install malicious software on your computers.
Viruses: While these were the #1 threat up to a few years ago, they are generally under control thanks to Google and Microsoft.
Ransomware: These attacks also usually start with a fake email. An attacker lures you or an employee into clicking something, and suddenly you’re shut out of all your computers until you pay a ransom. Unfortunately, even paying this ransom is often not enough to get your data back.
Other malware: Attackers use email to install other types of malware on your system, which can, in the best case, slow everything down – or completely ruin your entire network in the worst case.
Data breach: This is where attackers gain access to your system and therefore all your data. This includes customer data, payment information, emails to and from clients...as you can imagine, this is a situation you do not want to be in.
The good news is that you can protect your email really easily.
You can also add Microsoft’s Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), although this does not safeguard you against many of the most sophisticated email threats, and can be complicated to set up.
Retruster in action as a key cyber security tool for a small business
Essential Small Business Cyber Security Tool #3: Antivirus
As mentioned before, viruses have dropped down the list when it comes to cyber threats to small businesses.
There are some great free options when it comes to anti-virus solutions: try some of these to get started.
Essential Small Business Cyber Security Tool #4: Passwords
It’s sometimes scary to think that all that’s sitting between your most sensitive business information and a hacker is a password you might not have changed in years. As embarrassing as “sxsygrl1982” is, it’s also really dangerous.
There are 3 key password protection tips to staying cyber secure as a small business.
1: Ensure all employees understand the importance of strong passwords, change their passwords often, and don’t give them out ever
2: Use 2-factor authentication where possible (for example once you type your password, you get an sms with a 1-time code)
3: Use tools like LastPass and Google Password Manager to set and protect strong passwords.
Essential Small Business Cyber Security Tool #5: Firewalls and network security
Finally, when it comes to essential cyber security tools for a small business, there are products around firewalls and network security. The reason these products are so far down the list is that though important, for most small businesses the cyber security tools described above should be sufficient.
Of course, there are no guarantees, and rather safe than sorry. Speak to your IT expert or Managed Service Provider about choosing the right firewall and network security tools for you.
A classic phishing attack against a small business
The 5 Essential Cyber Security Tools For A Small Business
That’s a wrap! Hopefully this explained the 5 essential cyber security tools that your small business needs. We tried to keep it as simple as possible.
At Retruster, we’re experts when it comes to the cyber security needs of small businesses.
If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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Most Common Small Business Phishing Email Scams of 2019 Infographic
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