How can you protect your small business from cyberattacks without an IT team? Read our step-by-step guide.
For small business owners, cash flow and sales are top of the agenda, leaving little time to focus on cybersecurity. Many small businesses will never reach a size at which they need or can afford a devoted IT support person, let alone a whole department. Of course, this doesn’t mean small businesses don’t need to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Thankfully, there are easy ways that SMB owners can manage their cybersecurity, protect their devices and prevent data breaches without an IT department.
"Whether you have an IT person or not, it is essential that someone is responsible for protecting your business from cyberthreats."
What does IT support do anyway?
IT support teams inevitably vary from company to company, but the position can include responsibilities from installing and configuring computer hardware and operating systems to supporting employees with technical problems.
Whether you have an IT person or not, it is essential that someone is responsible for protecting your business endpoints from cyber threats such as phishing, ransomware and other malware or viruses.
And with the support of the right software, that person can be you...
What is an endpoint?
An endpoint is any computer device or internet of things (IoT) device that communicates with a network to which it is connected. For example: desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and servers.
What is endpoint security and how does it work?
Each device with a connection to the network is a potential entry point for security breaches, so endpoint security secures each device on the network.
Buying endpoint security for small business
If you do nothing else, get endpoint security – a specific type of antivirus software that protects all endpoints.
Why use endpoint security for small business?
Avast Business has developed endpoint security with small businesses in mind – even for those small businesses that don’t have an IT team or person to support and manage it. As such, these products have been designed to be managed by non-expert business owners to give maximum ease of use with ultimate protection.
How does this work?
Endpoint security is easy to use with a flexibility that allows it to adapt to your needs regardless of the size or growth of your business
Multi-layered protection means the software uses a number of protection types or levels. For example, not just checking online files that your employees access in real-time, but running automatic antivirus updates and other scans and checks simultaneously.
Many endpoint security services are backed up by big data threat intelligence, machine learning and human expertise. Most of the large antivirus companies have teams of experts tracking malicious code around the world as it mutates, creating protection code and rolling it out to customers’ software. ReadA Day In The Life Of A Threat Tracker.
Granular security management makes it easy to administer and manage all security issues with no need for additional integration and management solutions. This allows you as a small business owner to manage your company’s protection easily from a single dashboard.
Mobile device management is made easy. Whether you operate a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy or provide your workforce with mobile phones and tablets, these devices will need to be protected as email data or connected networks are a vulnerability.
A firewall acts as a barrier to protect the network monitoring all incoming and outgoing traffic from unknown or potentially malicious sources.
Understanding an endpoint management dashboard
Once you have purchased and installed an endpoint security product for your business, you will have access to an antivirus management dashboard.
What will it contain?
While specific products vary, most dashboards contain similar elements; for example, you can expect to have:
Details of any current threats or infections
The ability to run scans of all or some endpoints
The ability to schedule regular scans, and what those scans entail
Instant shutdown of a given machine
Email filtering options, including whether you want to scan attachments and what to do with spam
Management of software updates and the ability to deploy updates across the network of endpoints
Details of the most active threats in your organization
Lists of blocked websites, allowing you to manage the sites that your employees use as well as automatically blocking dangerous/suspicious links
Easy-to-use information on how to configure a network-based firewall and proxy settings.
These are the most relevant and important to a small business owner keen to manage their own antivirus. Depending on the needs and size of your business, some security solutions offer further features and options for more technical application and management.
Adding new computers and devices to your antivirus protection
A great benefit to endpoint security is that you can add new devices remotely. For example, if you open a new office, you can deploy the endpoint security protection to new machines from wherever you are. This also highlights the importance of adding all new computers and devices; they can make your business vulnerable if they are not protected.
Keeping your antivirus software up to date
Part of what IT support does is make sure antivirus software is up to date. It’s easy for employees to dismiss pop-ups issued by product manufacturers, but this can mean their machines don’t receive important updates - which are often made because of potential security risks. If their machines are vulnerable, then all endpoints and confidential company data they contain are made vulnerable.
Some updates are automatic, but many need to be manually initiated and involve computer restarts. By managing all of your devices from one dashboard or management console, you ensure continuity and seamless protection.
Training: the final piece of the puzzle
Endpoint security is an essential foundation for small business cybersecurity. But it won’t protect you if your employees aren’t up to speed on the latest threats.
To support you as you manage your cybersecurity, you should create a company security policy and instigate a training program for all employees that is updated annually or whenever necessary.
What should be in that training?
Some of the most important elements of staff cybersecurity training include:
How to spot social engineering scams like phishing emails
What is acceptable internet usage at work (including social media usage)
How remote workers should access the network securely
What password management systems might be utilized
How to report security incidents
Information about antivirus management policy and procedures.
You don’t need IT support to protect your small business against cyberattacks
Invest in easy to use endpoint security for your business to immediately and comprehensively protect your business from a range of cyberthreats
Train your employees so they don’t put your business at risk from attack.