A Cybersecurity Checklist for SMEs

Small to medium enterprises shouldn’t be complacent about security

Enterprise security is critical, as there are more attackers than ever before and the financial incentive for hacking is high. For small and medium enterprises, the threats can loom large, especially for companies that don’t have full-time security experts. Fortunately, there are steps companies can take to improve their security, and developing a strong security culture can go a long way to preventing potentially damaging security breaches.

Employee Education

Too often, small mistakes made by employees escalate into large hacks. Although proper security management should limit the amount of damage that can be done with a low-level hack, permission escalation attacks are always a possibility. Take the time to draft thorough rules involving passwords and the use of outside devices within the company. Make it clear that these guidelines are mandatory and violations will have repercussions.

Secure Software

Almost all software of sufficient complexity has bugs, and it’s likely some of these bugs can leave data or networking hardware vulnerable to hacks. Software security updates are designed to fix these bugs and other potential problems. Malicious actors often go after low-hanging fruit, included unpatched systems, and your data can be compromised if your software isn’t kept up to date. Delegate software updates to multiple employees to ensure your software is regularly patched.


User Privileges

Setting and maintaining user privileges is an often overlooked aspect of keeping data secure. By ensuring employee accounts can only access data they need, your company can cut back on potential attack vectors. Furthermore, managing user privileges forces companies to think about how their data is stored and managed, and it’s common to find potential vulnerabilities when setting up user privileges. Managing privileges isn’t about trust; it’s about preventing the harm that can be done if accounts are hacked.

Reconfigure for Simplicity

IT infrastructure nearly always becomes more complex over time. While some complexity is unavoidable, some of it can be factored away by reconfiguring your system. Make simplicity your ultimate goal, as simple systems are easier to monitor and secure, and find out if there any elements of the system you can safely remove. In some cases, the small benefits provided by components of your infrastructure aren’t worth the added complexity and potential attack vectors they introduce.

Proper Logging

Companies may find themselves being targeted repeatedly, and some might find unique attack patterns. Automatically generated computer logs take up little space, especially when they’re compressed, so set aside some storage specifically for logged events. Furthermore, draft a plan for responding to attacks while they occur and after the fact. You’ll want to reexamine your security practices on a regular basis to look for potential weaknesses. By taking detailed logs about attempted and successful attacks, you can better assess your strengths and weaknesses and fix looming deficiencies.

Poor security has a number of risks. Ransomware can wipe out your data or cost you company a significant amount of money, and leaked customer data can severely damage your reputation. Although there’s no foolproof security method, developing a security-minded culture at your company can reduce the odds of an attack, and developing systems for ensuring your security is regularly monitored can help you stay on top of potential problems.