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Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Top 5 Takeaways for SMBs

October 25th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Marissa Olson

cybersecurity-awareness-takeaways-smb

READ TIME: 4 MINS.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time when businesses, individuals, and organizations are encouraged to take a closer look at their online security practices.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats, as they often lack the resources and expertise to protect their digital assets effectively. 
This article will explore the top five takeaways for SMBs during Cybersecurity Awareness Month to help strengthen their cybersecurity posture and protect their valuable data.

By the way, it’s great that you’re researching and landed on this article. The entirety of your business must remain secure so that cyber threats don’t compromise you, your employees, and your customers' information. AIS has been providing office technology solutions for over 20 years, and we’re excited to help your IT pair with the growth and success of your business

Your SMB and Cybersecurity: What Can You Be Doing?

Because cybersecurity is such an essential part of your small business, we decided to give you our top five takeaways we talk to organizations about daily regarding managing their IT.

Of course, these aren’t all our tips. But these top five takeaways will certainly bring some awareness if you’re looking for better ways to ensure your company remains safe from cyber attacks and hackers.

1. Embrace a Culture of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is not solely the responsibility of IT professionals; it should be a collective effort within your organization. Here are some easy steps we like to share with our customers and prospects about embracing cybersecurity:

  • Encourage your employees to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to online security.

  • Conduct regular cybersecurity training sessions to educate your staff about the latest threats, phishing scams, and best practices for staying safe online.

  • Promote a culture where everyone understands their role in safeguarding sensitive information.

Related Article: Cybersecurity: Phishing and Vishing is Evolving—Here's What to Know. New call-to-action

2. Secure Your Endpoints

Endpoints are the devices through which employees access your network, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Cybercriminals often target these entry points to infiltrate your systems.

Therefore, keeping endpoints secure is critical. Regularly update all devices with the latest security patches and software updates to plug vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might exploit.

Consider implementing robust endpoint security solutions, such as antivirus and anti-malware software, to protect against viruses, ransomware, and other malicious threats. Remember that a strong defense at the endpoint can prevent a breach from occurring in the first place.

3. Data Backups Are Non-Negotiable

Data is the lifeblood of your business, making data backups an absolute necessity. Cyberattacks like ransomware can lock you out of your data, making backups a crucial recovery tool.

Make sure your organization is regularly backing up your critical business data to secure offsite locations. Automated backup solutions can streamline this process, ensuring that data is continuously safeguarded.

It’s also a smart idea to periodically test the restoration process to verify the integrity and reliability of your backups. In doing so, you can be confident that your data can be swiftly recovered in the event of a cyberattack or hardware failure.

4. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Passwords remain a weak link in cybersecurity. Cybercriminals often breach systems through compromised passwords. To significantly enhance your security, implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible.

MFA adds an extra layer of protection by requiring users to provide two or more forms of verification before gaining access to their accounts.

This may include something they know (a password), something they have (such as a mobile device or hardware token), or something they are (biometric data like fingerprints or facial recognition).

MFA is a powerful tool in preventing unauthorized access to your systems, even if passwords are compromised.

5. Stay Informed and Adapt

Cyber threats are constantly evolving, so your cybersecurity measures must also evolve. To remain ahead of the curve, it's imperative to stay informed about the latest security trends and emerging threats.

Following trusted sources, attending webinars, and participating in online forums are critical to keeping abreast of the ever-changing threat landscape. Not to mention regularly reviewing and updating your cybersecurity policies and procedures to address new challenges and technologies.

Partnering with a managed IT services team or managed service provider is something to consider to ensure your defenses remain current.

By staying informed and adapting your security measures accordingly, you can effectively protect your business against emerging threats.New call-to-action

Your Next Steps: Securing Your SMB Against Cyber Crimes

As Cybersecurity Awareness Month progresses, SMBs should take this opportunity to assess their organization's security practices comprehensively.

By implementing these top five takeaways discussed above, SMBs can substantially reduce their vulnerability to cyberattacks and data breaches.

It's crucial to understand that investing in cybersecurity is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment that safeguards your reputation, customer trust, and financial stability.

Secure Your Endpoints

Endpoints are the devices through which employees access your network, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Cybercriminals often target these entry points to infiltrate your systems.

Therefore, keeping endpoints secure is critical. Regularly update all devices with the latest security patches and software updates to plug vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might exploit.

Consider implementing robust endpoint security solutions, such as antivirus and anti-malware software, to protect against viruses, ransomware, and other malicious threats. Remember that a strong defense at the endpoint can prevent a breach from occurring in the first place.



So, what’s your next step to securing your IT infrastructure? Check out our video that goes more in-depth about training your employees, Cybersecurity: Are Your Employees Trained?

In an era where digital assets and online presence are critical to business success, cybersecurity is an indispensable aspect of operations. SMBs are not immune to cyber threats, but with the right mindset and proactive measures, they can build robust defenses to protect their business interests.

The lessons shared here are relevant during Cybersecurity Awareness Month and should serve as a year-round commitment to safeguard your business in an increasingly digital world.

Marissa Olson

A true southerner from Atlanta, Georgia, Marissa has always had a strong passion for writing and storytelling. She moved out west in 2018 where she became an expert on all things business technology-related as the Content Producer at AIS. Coupled with her knowledge of SEO best practices, she's been integral in catapulting AIS to the digital forefront of the industry. In her free time, she enjoys sipping wine and hanging out with her rescue-dog, WIllow. Basically, she loves wine and dogs, but not whiny dogs.