3 ways for SMB organizations to improve cybersecurity

As zero day cybersecurity threats increase, hackers are targeting SMB organizations more and more. Here are 3 ways to protect your growing business from security risks.

ARTICLE | 4m read
September 21, 2021

When security breaches become global headlines, we like to pretend they only involve huge organizations like Equifax or LinkedIn. This can make small- and medium-sized businesses believe they are immune to these types of attacks. However, you don’t have to be a huge company to be targeted by hackers. More than half of SMB organizations have experienced a cyberattack, and because SMB organizations often have valuable information like healthcare data, Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report stated financial motives were behind 83 percent of attacks on SMB organizations.

For your small business to protect employees and customers from cyberattacks, you need an agile approach to security that will deliver immediate ROI and be able to scale as you grow. To help get you started, this article will explore three cybersecurity best practices designed for SMB organizations. By leading with employee education around security, adopting secure and flexible technology, and embracing secure access service edge solutions, you can keep both your distributed workforce happy and your valuable data secure.

1. Increase the security IQ of every employee in your small business

To protect your growing business, you need to educate and empower every employee to take security seriously. One of the first lessons for your staff should be the security risks associated with simple, easy-to-crack passwords. Verizon reported in 2019 that 80 percent of hacking-related breaches involved stolen or weak login credentials, so it’s vital for employees to grasp the importance of complex passwords. This is especially important if remote employees access work data on personal devices, as it’s easy for a bad actor to breach your network using an unsecured lost or stolen smartphone.

These password lessons serve as an excellent introduction to implementing zero trust security for your growing business. By teaching your employees about zero trust, you can adopt a security approach that assumes no employee or device deserves default access to your company’s data, network, or applications. At the same time, it’s key to emphasize the human element of making zero trust work—the more your employees understand the complex trust relationships that protect both your business and themselves, the better they can determine when trust is earned and when trust is misplaced.

2. Adopt secure workspace technology to protect remote workers

As you take steps to protect your distributed workforce and secure sensitive data wherever it’s accessed, having the right technology in place is crucial. If your remote workers are relying on older laptops, routers, or applications, those aging assets can increase their security risk. Common examples include older devices that can’t connect to Wi-Fi 6 routers that use the latest security updates and encryption, as well as unsupported software that lack the patches to defend against new threats.

Adopting the right digital workspace and collaborative work management solutions can both increase security while improving the employee experience at your growing business. Ideally, your digital workspace will bring together the business apps and data your remote employees need to be productive—all inside a secure digital hub with single sign-on and other security measures. By providing a unified and secure workspace, you can help employees do their best work while ensuring the work environment is protected and highly visible to IT.

3. Embrace Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions

SASE (pronounced like “sassy”) solutions are a proven way for small businesses to strengthen network security to protect remote and hybrid workers. SASE solutions are network architecture that combines security and software-defined wide area network capabilities inside a cloud service. This modern approach to network security builds on the zero trust strategy discussed earlier because it ensures you aren’t relying exclusively on employee accountability or perimeter-based security protocols.

Because SASE is offered as a cloud service, SASE solutions are ideal for growing businesses. Your SMB organization can use SASE to easily scale security resources up and down while only paying for the web filtering, data loss prevention, and next-generation firewalls that you actually use. SASE solutions also equip your IT team with more visibility and control over your entire network without disrupting the employee experience for remote workers.

The success of your growing business depends on strong security

As your organization grows to compete with larger and larger companies, you will become a more enticing target for hackers and other bad actors. This makes it crucial for SMB organizations like yours to stay ahead of new threats with an agile security approach that increases the security IQ of employees, adopts secure technology, and embraces SASE solutions. With this SMB-focused approach to security, you can proactively protect your employees and customers to reduce risk without slowing productivity.