Small business owners might assume that their business is not noteworthy enough to be hit by a cyberattack – but that is not the reality. In fact, it is often easier (and more profitable) for cybersecurity attackers to breach dozens of small, unprotected business networks than it is for them to breach one big company with a cybersecurity program. Additionally, cybercrime is on the rise. Businesses today contend with dozens more unique attacks than there were a decade ago.

Given this new reality, for a small business, choosing an internet service provider is about more than finding the best network connection. A fully formed network solution should also offer 24/7 protection from cyberattacks. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are a few tips for businesses looking to shore up their cybersecurity plans:

Create protocols that can handle current and future challenges

When it comes to cyberattacks, it is not a question of “if” but “when.” Proactively defining a plan before an attack will positively impact the speed of a business’ recovery time. A key step to this planning is developing a flexible cybersecurity system capable of addressing both immediate network security concerns as well as potential future security events that come with a business’ growth.

The past few years, alone, have demonstrated that operational changes, and related network needs, must be resolved in a timely and effective manner. Hybrid work environments still pose a particular challenge for IT teams, as they are now responsible for monitoring networks more often to ensure that each individual employee – a potential vulnerability point to the networks – don’t compromise a network’s security. Some of these concerns can be mitigated through the use of a Virtual Private Network, which helps to create a secure, encrypted connection for employees to use while they remotely work. Additionally, workforce tests like fake phishing emails are an important part of a robust cybersecurity system, as they help employees proactively recognize future security concerns.  

Establish a dedicated security remediation team

The burden should not be on internal IT teams alone to protect a company from a cyberattack. Attacks can happen at any moment, and while IT teams work hard to always be on the defense, a dedicated security remediation team can make a big difference when coordinating a cyberattack response.

No one knows the backend of a business better than IT – but if a member of the team who is responsible for a critical element in cybersecurity planning leaves without setting their replacement up for success, that organization is put in a vulnerable position. Businesses with established security remediation teams can promote best practices sharing among team members, so that anyone is able to quickly and effectively respond to a security breach.

Businesses can, and should, lean on their IT teams (or vendor partners) to help address security breaches. However, a comprehensive security remediation team should be broader in its scope so that it can address challenges beyond just the security breach itself. For example, including a legal professional on a remediation team can help mitigate negative business effects after a cyberattack.

Pursue a quality vendor relationship for further network support

Finding a vendor partner with a strong national stake like Comcast Business is an effective way to ensure not only a strong internet connection, but that a business will have a 24/7 system of support in place helping to protect data and address security breaches. Larger vendors, in particular, are especially helpful partners for managing a business’ already-existing network protocols, as they have the industry knowledge and service capabilities from protecting their own sizeable network connections.

National technology solutions experts can help own the management of networks, alleviating some of the burden from businesses’ IT teams. Businesses that manage their own networks often experience network issues but must troubleshoot on their own, which can lead to costly operational delays. This situation is mitigated with a large vendor partnership, as they can work with partners across multiple departments to identify and resolve issues.

Not long ago, small businesses were less likely to invest in a full-service provider than their enterprise-level counterparts, due to the high cost of the solutions. That reality no longer exists – now, cybersecurity solution packages are more customizable to fit the security and budgetary needs of a small business. As a result, more small businesses can be empowered via their vendor partners to make critical investments in their cybersecurity defense plans.

The strength of connectivity solutions is defined by their cybersecurity capabilities

When it comes to implementing connectivity solutions, a fiber network is just one part of the equation. Network maintenance and protection, paired with support from third-party service providers, are increasingly key elements and will maintain relevance in today’s climate of increased cyber threats and attacks. Although the future of cybercrime is unknown, the optimized combination of cybersecurity solutions paired with thoughtful security protocols can help any organization be better prepared for what’s ahead.

Based in Indiana, Jeff Marston is Vice President of Comcast Business’ Heartland Region which encompasses Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan.

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