Top 10 Small Business Resolutions & Strategies To Achieve Them
With the New Year ahead, and cyber threats continuing to loom over businesses, 2015 will likely bring more sophisticated and complex attacks. Security analysts called 2013 “The Year of The Mega Breach.” According to Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Threat Report, businesses saw a 91 percent increase in targeted attacks and a 62 percent increase in the number of breaches. Additionally, the recent string of credit card breaches targeting major retailers also provide further reminder that cybercrime remains prevalent and that cyber threats show no sign of slowing down. The exploitable vulnerabilities discovered in 2014 such as Heartbleed, Shellshock, and Sandworm, also showed businesses the importance of having a security plan in place to quickly identify and apply the necessary patches.
Securing your business can do more than simply guard confidential information. Implementing cybersecurity best practices and solutions can have positive effects on various facets of an organization. Consider the following solutions when addressing these top business resolutions:
Resolution #1- Grow Sales By Launching an E-Commerce Extension of Your Business
Launching an e-commerce website for your business can be a great way to expand your market and sell your business’s goods. Forrester predicts online sales will continue to grow, accounting for eleven percent of total retail sales in the US by 2018. Creating an e-commerce website could be a great way to tap into this potential of opportunities, however in order to reap the benefits be sure to have a comprehensive security strategy to ensure the success of your e-commerce venture and to help grow your sales.
Resolution #2- Develop More Trust With Customers
If your resolution is to develop more trust with your customers, consider providing them with proof that you are taking appropriate actions to secure their personal information. Data breaches are not only costly, but they can tarnish your reputation and weaken your customer’s trust in your company. In light of the recent data breaches, most retailers were able to recover quickly due to their abundant resources. However for small businesses, a data breach can prove permanently damaging. According to a survey by Experian, 60 percent of SMBs that suffer a breach go out of business within six months after the attack. Develop trust with customers by implementing security solutions that protect both your information and your customer’s data.
Resolution #3- Create a Social Media Marketing Plan
In today’s digital world, social media is a crucial marketing tool for businesses. For a relatively low cost, a well-thought-out and executed social media plan can sometimes do more for brand recognition than traditional advertising. If you are in the beginning stages of planning, creating and executing your campaigns, listening and responding to your audience, addressing concerns, and exercising social media security best practices may feel like a daunting undertaking. However, these simple guidelines for effectively managing your business’s social media presence can help you get started!
Resolution #4- Protect Your Website From Cyber Attacks
According to Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Threat Report, an alarming 77 percent of legitimate websites have exploitable vulnerabilities and one in eight websites had a critical unpatched vulnerability. Attackers generally gain control and plant malware on legitimate websites by exploiting such vulnerabilities. As a result, your business website could be the unwitting distributor of malware. To prevent this from happening, scan and update your web servers and website software regularly. Symantec SSL certificates go beyond website security to include complimentary malware scanning and vulnerability assessments to help identify exploitable weaknesses within your website so you can take immediate action.
Resolution #5- Establish A Secure BYOD Plan
BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—is an approach to mobility in the workplace that has quickly gained popularity among small businesses. However, this growing trend to let employees “bring your own device” creates additional endpoints that need to be secured. If you plan to allow your employees to access your company’s sensitive and confidential information on their own devices, you should consider securing the devices and implementing a BYOD plan with security guidelines. Developing a sound policy can help you reap the productivity benefits while protecting your sensitive business data. These steps can help you create a policy that works for your company.
Resolution #6- Evaluate Your Vendors Security Practices
Most companies do business with third-party vendors to some extent. The vendors that you rely on for services and support are a key component of your business. Since in many cases vendors have access to your company’s sensitive data, they can present a security risk since your security is only as strong as theirs. If this year your resolution is to increase security measures to protect your company and customer’s data, be sure to evaluate the security measures that your vendors are implementing. Ensuring that your vendors take security precautions to protect the information you share with them is an important business practice. Evaluate your vendors’ security practices by addressing these four questions.
Resolution #7 Safeguard Your Business From Targeted Attacks
With targeted attacks on the rise, it’s wise to have a strategy to combat against this growing threat. In targeted attacks, data-thieves attempt to steal an organization’s sensitive or confidential information by targeting specific users within the organization using malware that is delivered through spear-phishing emails. Attackers may also employ watering hole attacks, in which legitimate websites are compromised for the purpose of installing targeted malware onto a victim’s computer. A significant 30 percent of spear-phishing attacks in 2013 were aimed at small businesses. Your first line of defense to protect your business is knowing what to look for.
Resolution #8- Train Employees On Cybersecurity Best Practices
According to Symantec’s 2014 Internet Security Threat Report, one in 392 emails contained a phishing attack. This type of attack relies heavily on social engineering in order to succeed. While security software can help detect and block common threats, training your employees on safe online best practices such as using complex passwords and how to spot fake apps, phishing scams, and social engineering attacks is a vital business practice.
Resolution #9- Secure Your Company Data With Two-Factor-Authentication
It’s common for leaders of small businesses to think their size makes them an unappealing target to cybercriminals. However the opposite is true, the smaller your company, the larger the threat you face. Thieves prefer to target small to medium–size businesses (SMBs) because many lack the resources or expertise to manage cyber security. Enabling two-factor-authentication to log into your accounts is a quick and easy way to add an extra layer of protection to defend against hackers attempting to gain access to your accounts. Learn more about using two-factor-authentication.
Resolution #10- Build An SEO Strategy
If you want to improve your SEO strategy you’re likely aware that search engine optimization (SEO) increases the chances of your business being found online when someone searches for products or services like yours. Recently, Google announced that secure websites will rank higher on search engine results. In the effort to make the web more secure, Google will yield better search rankings results for websites that switch to HTTPS. You can implement this security protocol by adding an SSL certificate to your business website.