Businesses globally are going through a tough economic period and as a result, budgets are being cut. Cybersecurity can be one of the first departments to see cuts, as they don’t directly contribute to increasing revenues. However, given the cost of cybercrime is growing year on year – the global average cost of a data breach grew to US $4.35m in 2022 from $4.24m in 2021 – it could negatively affect a company’s bottom line if they stop investing in cybersecurity completely.

Here are some ways that companies – especially SMBs – can enhance cybersecurity on a budget.

  • Educate employees. Given that many cybersecurity attacks occur as a result of successful social engineering tactics, training your employees to spot phishing emails, teaching them about using strong passwords and teaching them to consider what information they’re sharing on social media can go a long way in protecting your business.
  • Use security software. For those with very small budgets, there are free security solutions available. Whilst the protection might not be as comprehensive as more expensive tools, it’s still better than nothing. But, make sure you do your research when choosing a security tool, and always download it directly from the supplier’s website. Don’t use pirated copies of more expensive software, as these can often contain trojans.
  • Keep your software updated. Make sure you update your device’s operating systems, antivirus software, applications etc as soon as an update is available. Often they contain security upgrades.
  • Regularly back-up your important documents. And make sure you back them up on a cloud storage service or on separate hardware. Although this won’t prevent a ransomware attack, it means that you will still be able to access your data in case you’re targeted. Make sure you choose cloud services with two-factor authentication, especially for important files.
  • Use a VPN. This is particularly important when you or your employees are working outside of the office and are connecting to public WiFi.
  • Protect yourself from inside threats. Whilst you might not think that any of your staff would be actively seeking to steal data or share confidential information, it’s worth covering yourself by limiting access rights to only those who need it for their work. Also, train employees to lock their computers when away from their desk to ensure no-one else can easily access their work (this is also relevant when working in a public space). Once an employee leaves the company, terminate all access rights, disable remote access and change the password on their corporate accounts as soon as possible.
  • Hire a specialist. If you have slightly more budget, you can consider hiring a cybersecurity specialist – either an external consultant or an in-house employee – that can keep up to date with current cybersecurity trends and monitor for threats. To begin with, focus on what exactly needs to be protected, and prioritise budget accordingly. 

These are just a few of the ways that you can begin to improve cybersecurity within your business on a budget. In many cases, these actions don’t cost anything making it even easier to implement.