Cyber Security 101 for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses

If you own a small to mid-sized business, you’re under constant threat of a cyber attack. Security 101 for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses - graphic1

That’s not hyperbole. Every day, an estimated 2,200 hacks and breaches occur, which boils down to one attack every 39 seconds.

So how can you keep your business safe? Or at the very least greatly reduce your chances of being hit with an attack?

It all starts with a security-centric culture.
Security first, from top to bottom

Before you talk about security tools, you need to build a culture where security awareness is always on the front burner and accountability is encouraged throughout your organization.

To do this, you want to:

  • Encourage open communication and collaboration between employees so security incidents or suspicious activity are flagged immediately
  • Conduct regular security awareness training with employees so they are up-to-date on evolving threats
  • Establish clear policies and procedures for the use of devices and resources both in the office and out in the wild
  • Regularly review and update security measures in response to emerging threats, new technologies, and changes in your business environment

Of course, training and awareness — while critical — can only get you so far. The nuts and bolts of security are tools and processes, which is why you should absolutely take these 10 steps to help lock things down:

1. Risk assessments

Regularly conduct comprehensive assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and prioritize security measures. You want to dig into your network infrastructure, applications, data storage, and employee practices to pinpoint areas of weakness.

2. Data protection

Implement encryption protocols to safeguard sensitive data that is both in transit or at rest. This means utilizing robust access controls and authentication mechanisms that allow only authorized individuals to access confidential information.

3. Network security

Deploy firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to monitor and control traffic on your network, and regularly update software and firmware to patch known vulnerabilities. 

4. Endpoint security

Protect endpoints like desktops, laptops, and mobile devices with antivirus software, endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions, and mobile device management (MDM) tools. 

5. Email security

Implement email filtering and anti-phishing measures to detect and block malicious emails, and train employees to recognize phishing attempts. Really hammer home that they need to avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.

6. Secure password practices

Enforce a strict password policy, including the use of complex passwords, regular password changes, and the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO).

7. Backup and disaster recovery

Regularly backup critical data to secure offsite locations or the cloud, and develop a comprehensive recovery plan that outlines the procedures for data restoration and system recovery.

8. Employee training

Educate employees about the importance of IT security and their role in protecting company assets. These training sessions should cover best practices, phishing and social engineering awareness, and incident response procedures. 

9. Vendor management

Evaluate the security posture of your third-party vendors and service providers before partnering with them to ensure they are following industry-standard security practices and comply with relevant regulations.

10. Compliance

Stay informed about industry-specific regulatory requirements and compliance standards like CMMC, HIPAA, and PCI DSS, then implement policies accordingly.

Security 101 for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses - graphic2

Evolving to evolving threats

IT security is an ongoing process, requiring continuous monitoring, assessment, and adaptation to changing threats.

In other words, it takes vigilance, and vigilance takes time and resources.

This puts small to mid-sized organizations in a precarious position, since the costs (both in money and in time) can often be hard to sacrifice.

That’s why every business with fewer than 200 employees should strongly consider outsourcing its IT to a reputable partner. Not only will they be better off security-wise, they’ll be better off financially in the long run.

 Security 101 for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses - cta


Kevin is the Founder and CEO of Dynamic Computing. He’s both a visionary leader and an expert hands on practitioner with years of experience in all things IT. Dynamic Computing makes technology work for top-performing small to mid-sized organizations in the Seattle area. We offer managed IT services, IT consulting and transformations for companies from a few to a few hundred employees. Kevin founded Dynamic Computing in the year 2000 while in attending the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. As a fourth generation small business owner and entrepreneur, Kevin knew that small to mid-sized companies needed a better solution to help guide and support their use of technology. So he set out to build a company that would look closer to truly understand our clients' businesses and partner with them to guide and support them on their path. Over the past few years, we've focused our energy on growth, change and improvement, scaling our operations and improving our processes with every step. We've managed to triple the size of our team and revenues while consistently ranking among the best in class for industry performance. Kevin was recognized as a 40 under 40 honoree by the Puget Sound Business Journal in 2018 and as Washington State's Mr. Future Business Leader by FBLA in 1998. So what’s next? Well, we're building the premier managed IT services company in the Pacific Northwest and we won’t stop until we get there. We hope you’ll join us on our journey.