Small business owners might assume that their business isn’t remarkable enough to be hit by a cyberattack – but that’s not the reality. In fact, it’s often easier (and more profitable) for cybersecurity hackers to break into dozens of small, unprotected business networks than it is to break into a large corporation with a cybersecurity program. In addition, cybercrime is on the rise. Businesses today face dozens more unique attacks than a decade ago.
Given this new reality, for a small business, choosing an Internet service provider is about more than finding the best network connection. A fully trained network solution should also offer 24/7 protection against cyberattacks. In this cybersecurity awareness month, here are some tips for businesses looking to bolster their cybersecurity plans:
Create protocols capable of handling current and future challenges
When it comes to cyberattacks, it’s not a question of “if” but of “when”. Proactively defining a plan before an attack will positively impact the speed of recovery for a business. A key step in this planning is to develop a flexible cybersecurity system that can respond to both immediate network security issues and potential future security events that come with the growth of a business.
The past few years alone have demonstrated that operational changes and related network needs must be addressed in a timely and efficient manner. Hybrid work environments still pose a particular challenge for IT teams, as they are now tasked with monitoring networks more often to ensure that each individual employee – a potential point of vulnerability for networks – does not compromise the security of a network. Some of these concerns can be alleviated through the use of a Virtual Private Network, which helps create a secure, encrypted connection that employees can use while working remotely. Additionally, labor tests like fake phishing emails are an important part of a robust cybersecurity system because they help employees proactively recognize future security issues.
Build a dedicated security remediation team
The burden shouldn’t fall solely on internal IT teams to protect a business from a cyberattack. Attacks can happen at any time, and while IT teams work hard to always be on the defense, a dedicated security remediation team can make a big difference when coordinating a response to a cyberattack.
No one knows a company’s background better than IT – but if a team member responsible for a critical element of cybersecurity planning leaves without grooming their replacement for success, that organization finds itself in a vulnerable position. Organizations with established security remediation teams can promote the sharing of best practices among team members, so that everyone can respond quickly and effectively to a security breach.
Businesses can and should rely on their IT teams (or vendor partners) to help them resolve security vulnerabilities. However, a comprehensive security remediation team must have a broader scope in order to address challenges beyond the single security breach itself. For example, including a legal professional in a remediation team can help mitigate negative business effects after a cyberattack.
Pursue a quality vendor relationship for additional network support
Finding a vendor partner with strong national participation like Comcast Business is an effective way to ensure not only a strong internet connection, but also that a business will have a 24/7 support system in place to help protect data and resolve security vulnerabilities. Large vendors, in particular, are particularly useful partners in managing an organization’s already existing network protocols, as they have the industry knowledge and service capabilities to protect their own important network connections.
National technology solutions experts can help take ownership of network management, relieving some of the burden on enterprise IT teams. Businesses that manage their own networks often experience network issues but must troubleshoot issues themselves, which can lead to costly operational delays. This is mitigated by partnering with a large vendor, as they can work with partners across multiple departments to identify and resolve issues.
Not so long ago, small businesses were less likely to invest in a full-service provider than their enterprise-level counterparts, due to the high cost of solutions. That reality no longer exists – now, cybersecurity solution packages are more customizable to meet a small business’s security and budgetary needs. As a result, more small businesses can be empowered, through their vendor partners, to make critical investments in their cybersecurity defense plans.
The strength of connectivity solutions is defined by their cybersecurity capabilities
When it comes to implementing connectivity solutions, a fiber network is only part of the equation. Network maintenance and protection, coupled with support from third-party service providers, are increasingly key elements and will remain relevant in today’s climate of growing cyber threats and attacks. Although the future of cybercrime is unknown, the optimized mix of cybersecurity solutions coupled with thoughtful security protocols can help any organization be better prepared for what lies ahead.
Based in Indiana, Jeff Marston is vice president of the Heartland region of Comcast Business, which includes Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan.