Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

Apr 08, 2024

Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding cybersecurity for small businesses. Why would the attackers target small businesses? They aren’t large enough. 

Small businesses often do not have big budgets for cybersecurity. But they do have valuable data. So, cybersecurity isn’t just an IT issue.

In reality, 48% of small businesses faced a cyberattack last year. And 60% of small businesses go out of business in 6 months after being attacked. The data speaks for itself and demonstrates why cybersecurity is crucial to all companies, regardless of size.

In this blog, we help you break down key concepts, the importance of cybersecurity for small businesses, and tips to get started.

What is cybersecurity for small businesses?

Cybersecurity for small businesses is the process of protecting data, devices, and networks from cyberattacks by implementing measures to minimize potential threats and security incidents while maintaining confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital assets.

Importance of cybersecurity for small business

Cybersecurity for small businesses is crucial because they have weaker defenses and are highly vulnerable to attacks. Cybersecurity practices enable small businesses to add extra layers of security to minimize attack surface area, ensure smooth business operations, and protect against financial losses.

Here’s why cybersecurity is important for small businesses:

Protection of sensitive information

Customers want their data’s privacy and security maintained regardless of the business’s size. Even small businesses cannot afford a breach involving sensitive business information such as financial details and intellectual property, among others. 

Adherence to regulatory requirements

Depending on industry, geographical location, and type of data, a company might be subject to various compliance requirements. Cybersecurity measures help you stay on track with regulations with streamlined control implementation and continuous monitoring activities.

Minimizing financial impact

The financial costs associated with cyberattacks are multifaceted. These can range from the costs of breach and recovery to the cost of regaining market trust and compensating for loss of business. These costs are overwhelming for enterprises, let alone small businesses.

Business continuity

Cyberattacks can lead to downtime and loss of productivity if not managed well. Reactive and proactive security measures are crucial to ensure business continuity and quick response to adversaries.

Unlocking better deals

A small business can play big if it is committed to customer data protection. Implementing cybersecurity measures provides competitive advantage to businesses and enables them to unlock larger enterprise deals.

Read how Kodif moved towards enterprise readiness with Sprinto.

How to get started with cybersecurity for your small business?

Getting started with cybersecurity for small businesses requires an analysis of the current risk posture followed by development of a tactical mitigation plan. You must initially implement basic cybersecurity measures and gradually start moving towards advanced measures.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to implement cybersecurity for your small business:

Assess your current situation

There is an overload of information about cybersecurity, making it hard to understand where exactly to start. It may require a lot of preliminary work. Here are some essentials to check:

  • Your current information asset inventory needs to be protected
  • A risk assessment must highlight current risks to the business
  • Basic cybersecurity policies such as antivirus software, data storage, and acceptable use must be in place
  • The business must align business objectives with compliance requirements
  • Budgets and resources must be kept top of mind
  • Employee awareness, physical security, etc must be part of the roadmap.

Define cybersecurity objectives

While getting started, set small but smart and achievable objectives to create a foundation. A few examples are establishing a formal security policy, implementing out-of-the-box security solutions, creating a cyber incident response plan, investing in cybersecurity awareness, etc. Define KPIs to measure performance against these objectives.

Create a detailed plan

Based on your preliminary research and objectives, create a tactical cybersecurity plan. Consider looking up guidance from NIST, CIS controls, ISO 27001 etc. to enhance your cybersecurity posture.

An alternative is to onboard a cybersecurity consultant. An experienced consultant can charge an average of $150 per hour for the same, which can be expensive. A smarter alternative is to leverage an automation tool that can simplify manual compliance tasks.

Additionally, just start small and gradually move towards maturity. For example, begin by simply getting an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to secure your website and then move towards implementing measures such as network segmentation.

Implementation

Embark on the implementation journey by organizing awareness programs and getting employees onboarded with any new technology you set up. Establish roles and responsibilities and set up task priorities for implementation. Create reporting channels to ensure accountability and provide a timeline for building a pipeline of security controls.

Monitoring and continuous improvements

This phase is meant to help you discover loopholes in the plan. Establish a monitoring mechanism to track activities and rapidly identify misalignments and non-compliance. Document each of these and review the report with upper management. Make necessary adjustments and keep repeating until you reach the desired state.

Automate cybersecurity and compliance with Sprinto

How much does it cost to set up cybersecurity for small businesses?

It is said that businesses must spend 7%-20% of their IT budgets on cybersecurity.  If a small business is starting out the cost of cybersecurity can range from $10000-$50000. This is because there are a lot of upfront costs and costs of initial assessments, technology and more.The cost can change if the business already has some security measures in place.

Have a look at some of the costs of cybersecurity protections:

  • EDR: $70-$90 per device per year
  • Vulnerability assessments: $1000-$4500+ per year
  • Firewall: $700-$4000+ depending on users, services chosen, maintenance etc.
  • Antivirus: Can start from $47 per device, subject to conditions such as minimum number of devices
  • Regular Data backups: $2-$4 per GB per month
  • Training costs: For a business with 50 employees, the costs can start from $1000
  • Maintenance: $3000-$4000 for a year
  • Other costs can range from $1000-$5000+ depending on the choice of security tool

Is it compulsory to follow cybersecurity measures?

While no overarching law mandates the implementation of cybersecurity measures directly, these are generally considered a best practice, especially in the digital landscape. We are in the age of zero-day exploits, advanced, persistent threats, and cybercrimes that happen every second. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures in such a scenario becomes a necessity rather than a choice.

Additionally, certain industries require businesses to implement cybersecurity controls to protect sensitive data. For example, HIPAA mandates the implementation of certain cybersecurity measures such as encryption and data preservation measures. 

How to automate cybersecurity for small businesses with Sprinto?

Sprinto is a cybersecurity compliance automation tool that can help small businesses implement the right measures in their limited budgets. The platform enables you to streamline workflows and leverage adaptive automation to fast-track security and compliance.

 To get started:

  • Book a demo with the Sprinto team
  • Enable a framework with a workshop-style session
  • Integrate your cloud services with Sprinto
  • Activate controls and checks- 1:1 guided implementation 
  • Start monitoring and managing cybersecurity and compliance in real-time

Sprinto helps you scope out gaps and implement the right controls to ensure that you reach a state of continuous readiness. It eliminates the need to start from scratch and is scalable to adapt to your growing needs.

The platform’s standout capabilities include:

  • Quantitative and qualitative risk assessments
  • Continuous control monitoring to help you drive action fast in case of security/compliance deviations
  • Role-based task assignment
  • Cybersecurity policy templates
  • Built-in training modules
  • Auditor dashboard to expedite the certification process
  • Complementary trust center to showcase your current security posture and live compliance status

Sprinto’s pricing is bundled and you do not pay extra for any of the above features. Want to learn more? Let’s talk.

Best practices for cybersecurity for small business

Cybersecurity best practices are necessary to ensure the long-term viability and effectiveness of measures and build a culture of adherence.

Have a look at these 7 cybersecurity tips and best practices that’ll help you get quick wins:

Educate employees

According to a study done by Stanford University, 50% of employees stated that they were certain that they had made an error at work that could lead to security issues. More than 80% of breaches are caused due to human error and it is crucial to raise awareness and build a culture of security consciousness. 

Cover topics such as identification of phishing emails, setting strong passwords, ensuring secure connections, compliance requirements, and communication protocol to move towards a state of organizational maturity.

Secure networks

Implement network security measures to protect sensitive data. These include:

  • Firewalls for controlling network traffic
  • Network segmentation to contain damage in case of breach
  • Network monitoring for detecting suspicious activities
  • Changing default passwords for Wi-Fi routers
  • Data encryption for data at rest and in transit 
  • Access control to minimize unauthorized access or any kind of data theft.

Implement a strong password policy

Establish strong password and authentication policies that specify the use of password rules, change management, and other best practices. Also implement multifactor authentication across teams and systems. The use of a password manager is also recommended as they help detect suspicious login attempts and safeguard passwords.

Regularly update software

Software updates include security patches that must be applied regularly to minimize the chances of attackers exploiting security vulnerabilities. These are crucial to protect sensitive information and ensure smooth operations since patches increase compatibility with other systems.

Implement access controls

While small businesses lack the scale and complexity of enterprises, access controls must be implemented to minimize insider threats and unauthorized access from attackers. Implement the principle of least privilege and provide only minimum necessary permissions per job requirements.

Schedule regular backups and maintenance

Schedule regular backups for critical data to minimize downtime during system failures or other emergencies. Keep multiple backup copies and use automated solutions to ensure consistency. Enforce backup retention policies as per compliance and business requirements.

Monitor user activities

Establish a logging mechanism to monitor user activities regularly. Review these logs regularly to identify any suspicious behavior and minimize data loss proactively. Many compliance requirements also require businesses to monitor user activity and produce evidence.

Strengthen your cybersecurity defenses with Sprinto

Small businesses that deal with sensitive customer data face budgetary and skillset challenges. Additionally, such organizations have smaller IT and security teams, mostly consisting of two or three members. This can make it challenging to make ground on cybersecurity and compliance. Enter Sprinto.

Sprinto is a cybersecurity and compliance automation tool suited for small and mid-sized businesses. Our team helps small businesses understand and unearth gaps in their current operations. The platform helps them implement controls to ensure airtight security and compliance. Sprinto comes with integrated risk assessments, training modules, automated evidence collection, and other power-packed features that make compliance much simpler.

Want to see how Sprinto does it? Talk to an expert.

FAQs

What are the 3 pillars of cybersecurity strategy for small businesses?

The 3 pillars of cybersecurity strategy for small businesses are people, processes and technology. Well-trained people can detect and minimize cyber threats if there are well-developed cybersecurity processes and the right technological infrastructure.

What are some common threats that small businesses face?

Small businesses face cybersecurity threats like malware, ransomware attacks, phishing attacks, identity theft, insider threats, third-party attacks etc.

What should small businesses consider while choosing cybersecurity solutions?

When choosing cybersecurity solutions, small businesses should consider budgets, ease of implementation, vendor reputation, scalability, support services, and compatibility with existing IT infrastructure.

Payal Wadhwa

Payal Wadhwa

Payal is your friendly neighborhood compliance whiz! She turns perplexing compliance lingo into actionable advice about keeping your digital business safe and savvy. When she isn’t saving virtual worlds, she’s penning down poetic musings or lighting up local open mics. Cyber savvy by day, poet by night!

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