10 High-Impact Steps to Boost Your Business Cybersecurity Posture

Written By: Anthony Reyes
Published: October 2, 2023

In an era where digital threats are ever-present, taking proactive steps to protect your business is not just essential—it’s paramount. Here’s a checklist of ten impactful measures SMBs can take to bolster their cybersecurity posture. Doing just one or two of these things can make you more secure than 60% of your peers, on average.

1. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-Factor Authentication (or MFA) is a security enhancement that requires users to provide two or more types of identification before accessing an account, typically combining something you know (like a password), something you have (such as a phone or hardware token), and sometimes, something you are (like biometrics).

How to Implement: Most major platforms and services offer MFA capabilities. Activate this feature in your settings and mandate its use for all users.

The Impact on Your Business:

By drastically reducing the risk of unauthorized access, MFA helps protect both company data and customer information from potential breaches. Microsoft published findings that enabling MFA can stop 99.9% of account based hacks. Did we mention it’s FREE?

2. Regularly Update and Patch Software

Software vulnerabilities, when discovered, are patched by developers. These updates don’t just help make the software you use every day faster, less buggy, and more featureful- they’re an integral part in protecting your business.

How to Implement: Consistently check for and apply updates across all software, including operating systems and applications. We recommend updating your operating systems at least once a month, and updating all applications at least once a week.

The Impact on Your Business:

Regular updates ensure known vulnerabilities are fixed, safeguarding your business from potential breaches and system failures. The biggest vulnerability of 2023: The WebP exploit is so severe it has the potential to compromise every single individual, business, and government all over the world for months to come; the only way to protect yourself and your business from this, is to patch your software regularly.

3. Conduct Regular Security Audits

A security audit offers insights into your organization’s security posture by highlighting vulnerabilities. We have a go to saying around the office: You don’t know, what you don’t know. We say it to clients, prospects, and ourselves all the time, because it’s true. You go to the doctor once a year for a physical, right? You may not know you’re sick, or that something is unhealthy until it’s either too late, or you’re talking with the doctor.

How to Implement: Partnering with a reputable cybersecurity firm (like Ikigai One) for periodic audits and acting promptly on their feedback is the standard however, your organization can start small- reading our blog (and other’s blogs), becoming informed, following this checklist, examining some things that seem off, reminding people to double-triple check who an email is really from, all of these are great starting points! Record all of this and come back once every few months and see how you’re doing.

The Impact on Your Business:

Audits offer a snapshot of your security position. Proactively addressing vulnerabilities fortifies your defense and preserves customer trust. Doing these regularly empowers your business to be proactive, not reactive in the face of disaster.

4. Train Employees on Cybersecurity Best Practices

Uninformed employees can inadvertently become security risks. Phishing emails, scam websites, sketchy downloads, or a potential sales opportunity that’s too good to be true can spell disaster for the unaware.

How to Implement: Conduct training sessions on recognizing phishing, setting secure passwords, and following best online practices.

The Impact on Your Business:

Informed employees are frontline defenders against cyber threats, minimizing potential breach points. A well trained employee can be the difference between a good day, and a business email compromise that costs your organization tens of thousands.

5. Establish a Strict Password Policy

Passwords are often the first line of defense against unauthorized access. The harder a password is to guess, crack, or obtain, the safer your business, and its clients are.

How to Implement: Enforce the use of strong, unique passwords for every account and utilize password managers. Never share mission critical accounts and rotate passwords every so often (we recommend once a year if you’re using a password manager with a complex password).

The Impact on Your Business:

Sturdy password practices reduce unauthorized access risks, ensuring data protection. While they can be complicated to remember a free or affordable password manager can eliminate these headaches and give your organization a significant security boost!

6. Backup Data Regularly as Part of Business Continuity

Consistent data backups ensure restoration capability after data loss events, forming a core component of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

How to Implement: Automate frequent backups to a secure offsite location, ensuring backups are integrity-tested and quickly restorable. Integrate backup strategies within a holistic BCP that addresses other contingencies.

The Impact on Your Business:

With regular backups and a solid BCP, your business remains resilient against disruptions, ensuring seamless operations and upholding client trust. Having a plan reduces costs associated with disasters, downtime, or even user error.

7. Limit Access Privileges

Restrict data access based on necessity- if you don’t need to access a program, account, or piece of information, then you shouldn’t be able to.

How to Implement: Use role-based access control (RBAC) systems, periodically reviewing and refining access rights. Microsoft 365 has RBAC built into it’s core product by default. Your organization can create roles based on job duties, then restrict those roles to specific files, accounts, and even features within M365.

The Impact on Your Business:

By limiting data access, you safeguard sensitive information and reduce potential breach points. If the CEO or President of your business is hacked (usually a worse case scenario), the hacker won’t be able to get access to everything, and may in fact have access to very little depending on the size of the company.

8. Secure Physical Access

Physical security is as crucial as digital. A multi-million dollar cybersecurity plan does no good if someone can walk right in and steal all of your client’s personal data with just a flash drive and a smile!

How to Implement: Restrict access to server rooms and data centers, employing surveillance and alarm systems. Keep strict policies on who can utilize organization owned equipment, who can be on the WIFI, and who you leave alone in your office.

The Impact on Your Business:

Protecting tangible assets complements digital defenses, preserving both data and infrastructure. Recently a man was able to steal $32,000 from Western Unions by politely asking if someone could print something for him from his USB.

9. Implement a Firewall and Intrusion Detection System

These tools monitor network traffic, identifying and thwarting threats.

How to Implement: Deploy a reputed firewall and IDS solution, updating configurations as necessary. Your business doesn’t need to pay $15,000 for a competent solution: Start small (we recommend Netgate’s pfSense firewalls) with SMB oriented and budget friendly solutions that you can manage.

The Impact on Your Business:

Acting as primary defenses against threats, these systems maintain network integrity and security.

10. Develop an Incident Response Plan

Prompt response to breaches is crucial.

How to Implement: Start by analyzing your risk and active mitigations. Write a basic plan down starting with “What to do when” and then answer honestly- the worst thing a business can do during a crisis is panic; creating an organized worst case scenario list with clearly defined responses to each situation will help your organization minimize the damage even in the middle of a crisis. It is highly recommended to collaborate with cybersecurity experts to draft a response strategy, and ensure they regularly update it to reflect your organization’s position as it grows.

The Impact on Your Business:

An effective response mitigates breach damage, preserves reputation, and demonstrates responsibility.

Bonus Tip: Leverage Expert Knowledge

Enhancing cybersecurity can be complex. Engaging experts ensures you’re always a step ahead without the heavy lifting.

Ikigai One: Simplifying Cybersecurity
We offer a done-right-the-first-time solution: monitoring threats 24/7/365, conducting regular security reviews, and making the process painless for you.

The Impact on Your Business:

Peace of mind. With Ikigai One, you gain a proactive cybersecurity partner, allowing you to focus on your core business. Reach out and let’s bolster your defenses together.

By integrating these measures, not only are you fortifying your business against potential cyber threats, but you’re also reinforcing trust and reliability with your clientele and stakeholders.

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