The Complete 2023 Cybersecurity Guide For Business Owners

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In today’s digital-first world, it is more important than ever to protect your business from the risk of cyberattacks.

Over the years, hackers have become smarter and created new ways to attack businesses, whether it be through phishing links in emails, instant messaging applications, or by tricking users into downloading malware-infected software.

According to research by Astra, businesses across the world lost a total of $6 trillion due to cyber attacks in 2022. 

While the risk of cyberattacks is higher than ever there are a host of best practices businesses can follow to protect themselves from bad actors.

Additionally, along with purchasing cybersecurity software, an effective way businesses can protect themselves from attacks is to train employees on the best practices of surfing the web when using work-related devices.

In this cybersecurity guide by Right Blog Tips, we’ll explore a host of protective measures entrepreneurs can implement to safeguard their businesses from cyberattacks.

Negative Impacts of Cyber Attacks on Your Business

Before we dive into the best ways to protect your business from cyber attacks, let’s learn about numerous reasons why cybersecurity should be a priority in 2023.

In the aftermath of a cyberattack, here are the various negative impacts business owners can expect to experience:

Financial Losses

Depending on the extent of the attack, your business could experience financial losses to the tune of millions. This is often the case with major corporations, who subsequently suffer losses owing to a drop in stock prices.

However, when it comes to small businesses, a cyberattack could put their survival at risk, as hackers often lock businesses out of their systems and refuse to return the data without a hefty ransom.

Reputational Damage

In 2023, customers are more protective than ever before regarding their personal data, as reported by Mckinsey & Company. Hence, an incident where their data is stolen by hackers can ruin your company’s reputation in their eyes.

This can have a long-term impact as even if you do recover from financial setbacks, customers will be wary of doing business with you and switch to competitors with better cybersecurity measures.

Cybersecurity Guide 2023: Steps to Protect Your Business from Cyber Attacks 

From ransomware to trojans, there are a host of cyber threats entrepreneurs need to shield their businesses from.

In this section of our cybersecurity guide, we’ll outline the best practices you can follow to protect sensitive data from cyberattacks:

Create a Cybersecurity Policy

This will provide a business-wide framework of the best practices everyone should follow to keep data safe.

For instance, it should include having 2FA for all employees and customers each time they try logging on to the platform. Additionally, include restrictions such as banning access to websites beyond the scope of work on office machines.

Keep Your Software Updated

By periodically updating your software, you’ll deter attacks from hackers who are constantly on the lookout for exploiting potential inefficiencies in older versions.

This holds true for operating systems, web browsers, and third-party applications you use for accounting, social media management, payroll processing, and more. 

Backup Your Data

While having your own servers is great, it also places you in a positive of grave concern in the event of a cyberattack. However, having a secure backup on a different server will help negate most of the risk, as you’ll be able to access your data without the need to pay ransomware or negotiate with hackers.

Remember that negotiating with hackers is futile, as there is no guarantee your data will be returned after the ransom is paid. Hence, the best safeguard is to back up your data daily.

Hire Cybersecurity Experts

If your business lacks in-house cybersecurity expertise, consider hiring the services of a cybersecurity firm.

In addition to the basics of installing antivirus and malware detectors on office devices, a cybersecurity firm can oversee a host of other responsibilities, such as the creation of secure backups, implementing the best WiFi security strategies, and using data analysis to predict high-risk areas of the business and implementing the required steps to plug any weaknesses hackers could exploit. 

Password Protect Documents

It’s safe to assume that during the daily course of your business employees, clients, and a host of other stakeholders consistently share documents over email or messaging applications.

This is an area of vulnerability that hackers try to attack by hacking emails and replacing original documents with ones infected with malware. An easy solution to this problem is to mandate password-protected PDFs, which can only be accessed by trusted parties.

When trying to share multiple documents, consider merging them into one using a PDF merge tool before proceeding to encrypt it via password protection.  

Cybersecurity Guide 2023: How to React in the Aftermath of a Cyber Attack

Even with the best cybersecurity measures in place, there is always the possibility of bad actors finding a way to compromise your system.

The reason could be as simple as an employee mistakenly clicking on a malware link or hackers exploiting a vulnerability in your current protection software. Hence, if you do find yourself in the midst of a cyberattack, here’s what to do:

Take Stock of the Damage

Rather than making reactive decisions, take the time to review the current state of your system and servers and ascertain which areas have been compromised.

If there are parts of the system yet to be infected by the virus/malware, promptly isolate them to save as much data as possible.

Limit Access to Your System

When under attack, it’s best to limit employee access to your system, as it reduces the possibility of the malware/virus spreading further than it already has.

Hence, use your administrative privileges to lock all non-essential employees and customers out of the system. 

Notify the Authorities and Customers

By law, businesses are required to notify authorities regarding all cyber attacks. Depending on the scale and type of cyber attack, you may need to contact local law enforcement or government agencies.

Additionally, if you are currently working with a cybersecurity firm, your first call needs to be directed toward their helpline and get an all-hands-on-deck approach to diffuse the situation.

Moreover, if customer accounts have been compromised it is your duty to notify your customers, whether it be through social media, app notifications, or emails, about the attack and instruct them to update their login credentials.

Leverage Your Backups

As mentioned before, negotiating with bad actors is futile as they do not have any intention to help businesses they themselves attacked.

Hence, the better option is to consider the data lost and use your backups to retrieve the data onto new secure servers and return to business as usual at the earliest.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to protecting your business from cyber attacks, undertaking preventive measures is key.

This is because preventing a virus from infecting your system is much easier than removing it and dealing with the effects of financial, data, and reputational loss.

Additionally, as explored in this cybersecurity guide, entrepreneurs don’t need to drain the bank to safeguard their business.

Simple measures such as using 2FA (two-factor authentication) for logins, password-protected PDFs for document sharing, and creating backups go a long way to minimizing the risks of cyberattacks and their aftereffects.

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