Research distributed by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) indicates that 71 percent of security breaches target small businesses, and around half have been the victim of cyberattacks. One of the main reasons for this is that small businesses tend to have fewer mobile device and network security tools and resources than their larger counterparts.

Many small business owners don’t realize the risks that they face, yet most would agree they have vital information to protect, including intellectual property and personal information related to customers and employees. A security breach can have devastating consequences, and some small firms never recover from a serious security incident. Small business owners can guard against security threats by following the tips.

Create a Culture of Security

One of the key ways to improve security posture is to create a culture of security throughout the business, ensuring that everyone — from executives to part-timers to contractors — is aware of the risks and their role in safeguarding the firm. Every business needs to create a risk management plan that both identifies critical information and defines the firm’s security policy. It’s vital that this plan be adequately communicated to all and that everyone be trained in security procedures. The only way a business can forecast and prepare itself for the likely consequences of a successful attack is to identify and quantify the associated risks.

Develop an Internet Safety Policy

Internet safety is another important consideration in preventing cybersecurity incidents, but joint research by the NCSA and Symantec has found that 77 percent of small businesses report they don’t have a formal written internet security policy, and 63 percent don’t have policies regarding the use of social media. Additionally, just 37 percent provide internet safety training to their employees.

Internet security is particularly important since attacks are increasingly targeted at specific individuals, and the majority begin with a web-based exploit or targeted phishing email, often using information relevant to the recipient in order to make the communication seem more authentic. In many cases, that information is gleaned from personal details that can be found online. Small businesses must make their employees aware of the dangers of posting too much information online, both about themselves and about their company.

Provide Highly Secure Tools

Another key security practice is to ensure that employees are equipped with effective mobile and network security tools. Small businesses can choose whether to invest in such tools and provide them to staff, or allow staff to use their personally owned devices, but limit their use to only secure, work-related applications. For example, employees could only be allowed to use devices that support Samsung Knox, which is highly secure in terms of both hardware and software.

Samsung Knox allows small business to provide employees with tools such as Knox Premium, which combines enterprise mobility management capabilities with separate containers on the device to ensure that business and private data and applications can’t intermingle. Data held in the work container isn’t only isolated, but is also encrypted. Additionally, if the device is compromised, the work container can be locked to prohibit access to the data. Such a service is easily affordable for small businesses.

Cybersecurity is too serious an issue to be left to chance. While many believe that large organizations tend to be the primary focus of cybercriminals, small businesses can be viable, and in many cases easier, targets. No matter what its size, the onus of every business is to ensure that its sensitive information is adequately safeguarded.

Linking security to business objectives is crucial for businesses of all sizes. That’s why it’s important to develop a mobile security assessment that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole.