It’s usually large-scale data breaches that hit news headlines, but many cyber crimes and attacks also hit small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). According to a recent data breach investigations report, 28% of all data breaches hit small businesses. Another report, the 2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses by Ponemon Institute, states that 70% of employees working for SMBs had their passwords lost or stolen. These high numbers should not come as a surprise because larger organizations generally put more resources into keeping their data safe and secure than smaller organizations.

Quite often, smaller organizations also act as an easy-access portal into larger organizations’ IT systems for hackers and cybercriminals. To prevent these attacks, SMBs must take the necessary precautions to protect their data and secure their customer’s information.

Experts at PacketLabs share a few standard data security practices your SMB organization can follow to mitigate cybersecurity risks and keep your data safe.

1. Take your business data and applications to the cloud

Making use of a tried-and-trusted cloud service provider to host your organization’s data and applications has multifaceted benefits. Perhaps the most important benefit is the high-security cloud services offer as part of the package. And that is excluding the inherent security of “safety in numbers” that comes with having your data hosted alongside hundreds, if not thousands, of other organizations.

Relying on cloud hosting also gives you a secure, alternative space to store your data backups, which you can lean back on in the event of data loss in your primary IT network. 

2. Enforce mobile app security measures to keep business data safe and secure

BYOD policies, in general, offer more freedom and convenience. With remote work having become expected since the pandemic, the use of personal mobile devices to access business data and perform work-related tasks has increased. The downside to these policies is that devices are more likely to become lost or stolen, leading to a higher risk of compromised company data. 

The solution to the problem lies not in discouraging the use of personal smartphones and tablets for work but to implement enterprise mobile security measures, such as

a) Administer robust user authentication measures: This encompasses implementing multi-factor authentication to bolster standard security protocols such as OpenID Connect.

b) Protect your data using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256): Give your enterprise apps or files the security of AES-256, which adds a layer of security in case a mobile device is lost or compromised and gives you time to clear all sensitive data. That brings us to the next point.

c) Invest in a remote-wipe application: Or build it into your enterprise app. Several trusted enterprise-level applications are available in the market that provides various functionalities, from remote lock and encryption to, more importantly, the ability to wipe all information from a mobile device remotely. Wiping information can come in handy if there is no chance of recovering a lost mobile device safely.

3. Spot and clear vulnerabilities in your apps and IT systems with the help of experts 

Keeping you and your customers’ data safe and secure is easier when you plug potential vulnerabilities early, reducing the chances of a security compromise altogether. 

According to the Verizon Data Breach Report, 90% of the hacking incidents analyzed leveraged web applications as a vector in the breach. Ensuring applications are less susceptible to hacks during the development cycle could potentially save your organization from expensive data breaches and allow you to save on costs of making security amends post-development.

In the other scenario where managed security QA is not an option, you should opt for penetration testing services. Also referred to as pentesting and more commonly known by the term ethical hacking, it is the process of simulating a cyberattack to spot and highlight potential vulnerabilities in your applications and IT systems and network.

Even if your application and data are hosted on the cloud, certain critical functions are likely hosted locally on your organization’s servers. By getting a trusted and qualified third-party ethical hacking service provider to evaluate your IT systems, you further reduce the chances of a real-world hack.

In conclusion

Protecting your data and keeping it secure should not be considered a luxury reserved for enterprise organizations. SMBs, being more at risk, also have more to gain by taking the additional security steps and going the extra mile in securing your data.

More importantly, keeping your data safe and secure does not have to be an expensive and extravagant endeavour. Instead, it can be as simple as getting a penetration test from a trusted security partner like PacketLabs. You can request a free quote, and we’ll get in touch with you within 48 hours.