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How Small Businesses Can Save Money with Cybersecurity?

CYBER SECURITY - SAVE MONEY - SMALL BUSINESS Published On: September 13, 2023
With the recent surge in cybercrime, cybersecurity is no longer a luxury – it has become a necessity. For small business owners, implementing robust cybersecurity measures might seem daunting and expensive.

However, with the right strategies, not only can you protect your digital assets, but you can also save money in the process. That happens by protecting what you already have created. Let's delve into cost-effective cybersecurity strategies tailored for small businesses.

6 Ways To Save Money With Cyber Security

Take advantage of Open-Source security tools

Robust cybersecurity is often associated with complex tools that take a lot of time and money to manage. However, that’s far from the truth. In fact, even large organizations hugely rely on open-source tools that sometimes are freely available to everyone for many of their security tasks. 

Small businesses can also use these tools to improve their cyber resilience without breaking the bank. These tools are developed by communities of experts and are well-supported with regular patches and updates. Some popular open-source security tools include:
  • Wireshark: A network protocol analyzer.
  • Snort: An intrusion detection and prevention system.
  • ClamAV: An antivirus engine for detecting trojans, viruses, and other malicious threats.
By opting for open-source tools, you can significantly reduce the costs associated with proprietary software while still ensuring higher security.

Employee training to counter threats

Human error is the number one cause of cyber breaches. Phishing emails, unsafe browsing habits, and weak passwords are common threats that put businesses in danger. Investing in regular employee training can drastically reduce these risks. 

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Since small businesses don’t have many employees, providing adequate security training is relatively cheap. 

One option is a subscription to an online cybersecurity platform that provides training. The training is tailored for businesses, and some platforms even do it for free.

If you’re a bit more tech-savvy, you can even develop your own in-house workshop to develop training modules. There are plenty of excellent resources online. One example is material from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Whichever route you take, it’s important to keep your team informed about the latest threats and safe online practices. The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing, and you have to stay prepared for the changing threats.

Cloud-based solutions – security and savings

It’s hard to discuss security and cost savings without mentioning the cloud. Cloud-based security solutions are becoming increasingly popular for small businesses. They offer scalable, up-to-date protection without the need for hefty upfront investments in infrastructure. Some benefits of cloud-based solutions include:
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Traditional security solutions often come with high initial costs, including purchasing hardware and software licenses and hiring IT staff for setup and maintenance. Cloud solutions, on the other hand, operate on a subscription model. This means businesses can avoid large upfront expenses and instead pay a predictable monthly or annual fee.
  • Always Up to Date: One of the biggest challenges with on-premises solutions is ensuring that all security tools are consistently updated. With cloud-based solutions, the responsibility for updates falls on the service provider. This ensures that businesses are always protected against the latest threats without manual intervention.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: The cloud is inherently flexible. Whether a business is experiencing a surge in demand or a quieter period, cloud solutions can be scaled up or down based on the current needs. This elasticity ensures that businesses aren't overpaying for resources they don't use.

The importance of strong passwords

It might seem basic, but strong passwords are the first line of defense against hackers. A weak password can be easily cracked, giving cybercriminals access to sensitive information. Hackers use automated tools to check through the most commonly used passwords. If your password security is weak, it would only take them up to a few hours to get inside your accounts.

Once inside, hackers can access financial data, customer information, and other confidential assets. Aside from losing data, you also risk tarnishing your business’s reputation. 
A single breach can lead to a loss of customer trust, ultimately affecting revenue.

To ensure strong passwords:
  1. Use a combination of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.
  2. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or business names.
An excellent tool to ensure strong password security is a team password manager. Password managers can generate and store complex passwords for you. This will make it far easier for the employees to maintain secure practices without having to remember multiple complex passwords.

Regular Backups: A safety net

As your business grows, so does the volume of data and its importance. But what happens if you damage or lose your hard drive? What if a cyberattack compromises your data? This is where regular backups can change the game. Regularly backing up your data ensures you can restore your business operations quickly after an unforeseen event. 

How Small Businesses Can Save Money with Cybersecurity?

While traditional backup methods like external hard drives and tapes have their place, cloud-based backup solutions are becoming increasingly popular. They are easy to set up and automatically run at specified intervals. This ensures that you always have an up-to-date copy of your data without manual intervention.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

No matter how strong your password is, only relying on it to protect you is like using a single lock on your front door in a neighborhood known for break-ins. Sure, the lock will deter some intruders, but the persistent ones will find a window to break in.

MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring two or more verification methods. This could be something you know (password), something you have (a phone or hardware token), or something you are (fingerprint or facial recognition). With MFA enabled, hackers would have no way of confirming their identity to access prohibited systems. Well, unless you happen to confirm suspicious requests by accident.

As cyber threats become more sophisticated, MFA can adapt by incorporating newer and more secure authentication methods. For instance, while early MFA systems might have used SMS codes, newer systems can use biometrics or time-based one-time passwords (TOTPs), which offer even higher security.
Conclusion
Cybersecurity doesn't have to be expensive. Small businesses can ensure robust protection without breaking the bank by leveraging open-source tools, investing in employee training, utilizing cloud-based solutions, prioritizing strong passwords, and implementing regular backups and MFA. In the long run, these measures can save money by preventing costly breaches and maintaining customer trust. Protecting your digital assets is an investment in your business's future.

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