A New Business Owner’s Guide to IT Security Solutions: How to Begin Building Your Cybersecurity Infrastructure
Marketing, sales, HR, management, finance, IT: the average business has departments full of talented people who can keep your business running and offer invaluable expertise. But as a new business owner, you may be juggling tasks outside of your wheelhouse (and we applaud you for it!). And since it’s hard to see how IT contributes to your revenue, it becomes a pesky line on your to-do list that just never gets checked off.
Does that feel familiar? We were brand-spankin’ new business owners once, and we remember what it’s like to have the weight of the world on our shoulders. So, we’re here to help lighten the load. If you’ve been looking for a one-stop shop to get your IT infrastructure up and running without overspending or sacrificing security, you’re in the right place.
What Makes Up Your Cybersecurity Infrastructure?
The first step to building your cybersecurity infrastructure is understanding what it entails. When you hear the word “infrastructure,” images of a physical space might come to mind. But in the world of IT, infrastructure refers to the software foundation that makes up your network. It includes everything from the devices on your network (your computer, printer, etc.) to the applications and data that run on those devices.
Your cybersecurity infrastructure is what protects your network from outside threats. It’s made up of several different IT security solutions, each with a specific purpose:
Firewalls: A firewall is a piece of hardware or software that acts as a barrier between your network and the internet. It filters traffic coming in and out of your network, blocking anything that isn’t configured to pass.
Antivirus/Antimalware Software: This is the software you install on your devices to protect them from viruses and other malicious software.
Encryption: Encryption is a process that scrambles data so that it can only be decoded by someone with the proper key. This is important for protecting sensitive data, like customer credit card information.
Access control: Access control determines who can and cannot access your network. This is usually done through user credentials, like a username and password.
Those are just a few IT security solutions that would create a good barrier around your data—there are tons of strategies and tools that will up your security game. Don’t feel overwhelmed; we know that the world of IT security is like a black hole of confusing jargon and mind-boggling tech. Does anyone really know how the internet works? Well yeah, we do, so you can count on us for that.
Before we dive into the specific cybersecurity practices you can put into place, let’s talk about why you’re doing it in the first place.
What Threatens Your Cybersecurity Infrastructure?
Scary statistic alert: a cyberattack attempt happens every 39 seconds. And another just for good measure: 43% of attacks are on small businesses. It’s completely natural to doubt those stats because why would a cybercriminal go after you rather than a big kahuna with tons of money in the bank?
Put your criminal hat on for a second and think about this. Would you rather try to steal a little bit of money from a completely unprotected building—no locks, fences, guards, or cameras? Or would you prefer to steal a lot of money from a bank that has motion sensors, armed guards, and a big ole safe that’s almost impossible to crack?
The bank would definitely be more lucrative, but your chances of getting the money in the first place and escaping to use your stolen cash are a lot higher if you go for the small target. Cyberspace is no different.
Most small businesses don’t have any cybersecurity infrastructure in place. They’re the unprotected buildings of the internet, just waiting for a criminal to come along and take their data. So, your chances of being targeted by a cybercriminal are sadly higher than you might think.
A less menacing – but very real – threat is natural disasters. A power outage could take down your whole network if you’re not prepared. And if a storm or fire takes out your physical office, all of your data could be lost forever if it’s not backed up properly.
Top 5 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Strong Cybersecurity Infrastructure
Enough with the fearmongering and on to the good stuff. Here are 5 tips that you could implement within the next few weeks to give your business a solid cybersecurity foundation.
1. Educate Your Employees (Or Yourself If It’s Just You!)
You and your employees are the first line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity. Everyone needs to know how to spot a phishing email, what not to click on, and what to do if they think their device has been infected with malware.
Schedule regular training sessions to teach your employees about cybersecurity threats and how to protect themselves and your business. Luckily, an MSP like Common Angle can take this burden off your shoulders with frequent employee security awareness trainings. This way, you’ll know your employees receive the best cybersecurity education possible from experts you can trust.
2. Install Firewalls and Antivirus/Antimalware Software
We talked a little bit about firewalls earlier, but we’ll go into a little more detail now. A firewall is like a barrier between your network and the internet. It’s a crucial part of any cybersecurity infrastructure because it filters out incoming traffic, only allowing the stuff that you want to come through.
Antivirus and antimalware software are also important because they protect your devices from, you guessed it, viruses and malware. These malicious programs can infect your devices and wreak all sorts of havoc, like stealing sensitive data, holding your files hostage, or even taking over your entire network.
3. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Hate to break the bad news, but your email password might be going on the Dark Web for a couple of bucks. When the password you created for MySpace 15 years ago and have used ever since just doesn’t cut it, MFA is a must.
In a nutshell, it’s a second step required to log in, like a fingerprint scan or one-time code sent to your cell phone. If a hacker buys your password, they’re stopped at the login page. Microsoft claims that it prevents 99.9% of attempts, so it’s a pretty big deal.
4. Email Security
Email is how most cyberattacks start, so you need to take extra precautions to make sure your inbox is secure. In addition to using MFA (see tip 3), you should also consider an email security solution. It’s usually a cloud-based service that protects and filters against viruses, phishing, and other malicious content before it ever reaches your inbox.
5. Partner with an MSP for End-to-End IT Security Solutions
If you’re like most small business owners, you’re already wearing a million hats. The last thing you need is to become a cybersecurity expert on top of everything else.
That’s where Managed Service Providers (MSPs) come in. MSPs are IT professionals that proactively manage and monitor your network 24/7/365, so you can focus on running your business.
Most MSPs offer a suite of IT security solutions, like the ones we talked about in this article. And because they’re always monitoring your network, they can often catch threats before they cause any damage.
Bonus Tip: Back Up Your Data!
You need to have a solid backup and disaster recovery plan in place in case the worst happens. Your data is the lifeblood of your business, so you can’t afford to lose it. Backups protect you from things like cyberattacks, hardware failures, and even man-made or natural disasters.
Partner with Common Angle for Your IT Security Solutions
You’re not meant to do everything on your own. We’ve spent the last 20 years developing powerful IT security solutions that are easy to use and manage, so you can focus on your business—not your technology.
To learn more about how we can help you build a strong cybersecurity foundation for your business, contact Common Angle today for a free consultation!