Cyberattacks are some of the biggest threats to small businesses. Hackers and other cybercriminals target small businesses for two reasons. One, these businesses often store personally identifiable data and payment information. Additionally, small businesses typically lack the security infrastructure needed to adequately protect their digital systems.
Most small business owners are aware that cyberattacks could harm their operations. However, many lack the resources to pay for expert IT solutions or have little time to dedicate to cybersecurity.
Even if a business has a cybersecurity system in place, ongoing upgrades are crucial. According to the 5 Phases of the Threat Intelligence Lifecycle, security protocols must be reviewed and assessed again and again to provide maximum protection.
Businesses should fortify their IT security by implementing the following cybersecurity best practices for protecting data and securing their backup plans.
Cloud-based Backup Service
Clouds are online storage systems for files, passwords, and other sensitive information.
Cloud backup software connects with a business’s IT infrastructure and securely sends encrypted copies to remote data centers. Users can access and move files to and from cloud storage via a secure interface. Data is always protected from unauthorized access through encryption.
Clouds also provide protection by duplicating files in case the company’s local server is compromised. There are several types of cloud-based backup services.
With public cloud backups, data is accessed and saved remotely from a third-party server. The server is owned, maintained, and managed by the cloud provider. Companies often pay a subscription fee that includes cloud storage and IT support.
On private cloud backups, company information is kept on its own server that isn’t shared with other customers. Private clouds are not location-specific. The server might be hosted remotely or on-site.
Hybrid cloud backups combine elements of the public and private clouds in a unique way and offer greater flexibility. For instance, businesses may store business-critical backups in the private cloud while backing up less sensitive or significant data in the public cloud.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems
Intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) are security measures that prevent unauthorized access to certain areas of a company’s IT infrastructure. These systems may simply notify users of unauthorized access, or attempt to block access themselves.
There are several types of IPS systems.
A NIPS, or network intrusion prevention system, monitors all network traffic and proactively searches for threats.
Host intrusion prevention system (HIPS) monitors traffic coming to and from a specific device. HIPS and NIPS work together to defend the company’s infrastructure.
Network behavior analysis (NBA) examines network traffic in order to find new malware or zero-day vulnerabilities and identify odd traffic patterns.
A wireless intrusion prevention system (WIPS) scans Wi-Fi signals for unwanted access and blocks or removes unauthorized devices from the network.
Data encryption protects files by restricting access only to users with an encryption key. If an unauthorized person or entity tries to access encrypted data, it appears jumbled or unintelligible.
Encryption prevents data from being intercepted when it is transmitted across Wi-fi networks. It can be used for any type of data protection requirement, including the safeguarding of sensitive government information and individual credit card transactions.
Encryption keys may be symmetric or asymmetric. Symmetric keys use the same key to decode and encode encrypted data. While this facilitates the process, it also makes the system more vulnerable. Asymmetric keys have a separate key for each process. Only the owner has access to the private key that decrypts authorized users’ public keys.
Companies should invest in data encryption software to protect payment transactions, file transfers, and internet connections between network devices. Many industries also require encryption to comply with customer data protection regulations.
Also read: Top 8 Encryption Software for 2022
Data Backup Tests
Even the best cybersecurity plan in the world can fail in a time of crisis. For this reason, companies must routinely test their backup systems to ensure that they are operable and functioning as intended.
A company can check the accuracy and efficiency of its fallback data by actively testing backups. Testing backup systems also help companies estimate how long it takes to execute the backup, identify recovery errors, and prevent data loss.
Data backup tests can also reveal backup software configuration issues or out-of-date software. Sometimes, backup files are incomplete or redundant. They also provide an opportunity to run through the company’s recovery protocols. A backup test will expose any gaps in the company’s incident response plan.
Routine testing allows companies to rectify problems proactively, rather than responding in the aftermath of a cybersecurity breach.