Digital innovation is rapidly transforming the way that people engage with the world, and that means business models are changing too. Since the pandemic, small businesses and organizations are rethinking how they sell products and deliver services.

While this technical innovation has spawned new capabilities and redefined expectations, it has also opened the door to a new level of cybersecurity risk. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has seen a 300% increase in cybercrimes since COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, such as the rise of cryptocurrency, have provided new opportunities to exploit organizations and their employees for financial gain. A rise in remote working in a digitally-connected world presents many new hacking opportunities. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear to non-technical employees how new technology, applications, or software create vulnerabilities.

There’s a big cybersecurity risk brewing for businesses as the opportunity for online crimes continues to grow. This growing threat is driving up premiums on its own. But it also means your organization will be targeted eventually, and the cost of recovery (not to mention even higher insurance premiums) can be massive.

To mitigate this expensive risk and prepare for new hacking attempts in 2023, we have put together three cybersecurity best practices for small businesses. Read on to learn how to protect your business and keep your premiums in check.

1. Implement Routine Cybersecurity Training

Did you know that your biggest risk isn’t technology (old or new) at all? When it comes to cybersecurity, your employees are most often how breaches occur. This means that your employees – all employees – need cybersecurity training.

That’s right, cybersecurity isn’t just for the IT department. Any employee with a company-provided email address or company-issued device needs end user cybersecurity awareness training. It’s easy to think of the employees that work directly on computers, but we often overlook other access points like warehouse employees with digitally-connected scanners.

All employees need cybersecurity training. This is the most-prioritized cybersecurity best practice for small businesses and organizations we work with.

Here are three things you can do to beef up routine cybersecurity training:

  • Add a cybersecurity module to your onboarding process.
  • Provide users with interactive and video training programs, not just a powerpoint deck.
  • Require employees to have Multi-Factor Authentication enabled.

Did you know that 91% of all cyber attacks begin with a phishing email? It can be something as simple as a hacker pretending to be interested in the offerings your small business actually has, making it hard to distinguish between a threat and a legitimate business inquiry.

This means that anyone in your organization can potentially provide an entry point to a hacker. Employees at all levels need to know what threats to look for and what steps to take if they encounter a potential threat.

2. Create a Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plan

Businesses were predicted to spend $6 trillion annually on business continuity and disaster recovery efforts in the aftermath of a cybersecurity incident.

The best way to protect your organization from significant loss is to have a proactive security plan.

A business continuity and disaster recovery plan (BCDR) essentially lays out a step-by-step process for what to do in the event of a cybersecurity breach. A BCDR plan is essential documentation to help your business navigate a high-stress situation.

The plan ensures:

  • You don’t miss important steps in mitigating the attack and recovering your data.
  • You minimize downtime.
  • Your employees know exactly what to do.
  • Your customer data is protected.
  • Your organization’s reputation is safer.

A good plan has two parts addressing how your business can continue to operate and how your business can recover from the breach.

Check out our Cybersecurity Essentials Handbook for a simple, easy-to-follow process to create a BCDR plan tailored to fit your organization.

If you take the time to look at your business processes to identify how a disruption in technology might affect normal operations, then you can identify alternate methods for communicating and completing tasks that will allow you to continue to operate even when your data is inaccessible.

3. Create Routine Backups On & Off-Site

The third cybersecurity best practice for small businesses to address in 2023 is backups. How often and where you backup your data will determine how easily you can restore corrupted data in the event of a breach.

A good data backup plan paired with routine testing can make a big difference in the amount of money your organization loses during a cyber incident. A cyber attack can cost businesses an average of $200K – no matter the size.

As one of the more important cybersecurity best practices for small businesses, you should be creating routine backups with data storage in two locations:

Onsite and offsite. It’s critical to also make sure that your cloud based systems, like hosted servers, Microsoft 365 and Google apps are backed up as well.

Why do you need to create multiple backups? Storing backup data in two or more locations helps protect you against hard drive failure.

Why do you need to keep an off-site backup? If disaster strikes your facility, you could lose all your hardware. Your business can get back up and running at an alternate facility if you have access to restore your data from an off-site backup.

Off-site backups also help you preserve on-site storage space and optimize infrastructure performance.

As the demands on your organization’s internal technology grow, implementing a dual routine backup plan has become an essential security measure to lower cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Prepare for 2023 with These Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses

Insurance premiums are tied to risk level. As our world becomes more tech-savvy, and businesses embrace new tools like data-driven automation and digital-friendly features, the risk of a cybersecurity incident is skyrocketing.

High risk leads to a higher chance of an incident, and once that happens, high premiums will happen. This leaves many organizations looking for ways to bulk up their IT security and keep insurance premiums manageable, such as taking advantage of managed cybersecurity solutions.

Take a few minutes to consider if you have the staff and expertise to do everything you can to protect your business and your employees. Employee training, business continuity and disaster recovery plans, along with dual-location routine backups is a good place to start.

For small businesses and organizations, building in-house expertise to mitigate these evolving threats is costly and challenging. Ceeva can help you take a proactive approach to your vital cybersecurity best practices for your small business. Find out how our MSP IT experts can help today!

Free Cybersecurity Essentials Handbook for Small Organizations