Key Features of a Strong Cybersecurity System for Small Businesses

Small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than large enterprises are. The main reason for this is that many small businesses don’t think that they are likely to be a victim of an attack – ever. 

Another common reason is that they have a lot of other tasks to do and departments to manage, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for dealing with their security.

Regardless of the reason, the pattern is clear. Companies that neglect security have more vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. 

It’s easier for cybercriminals to target smaller businesses than larger enterprises that have top-notch security.

Every business has valuable data that can be stolen and used for extortion and monetary gain.

And only one breach is enough to put unprepared companies out of business. Forever.

How can a small business protect its network against hacking and cyber breaches? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Layered System of Security Protects Your Network

A layered cybersecurity system is about not putting all of your eggs in the one basket. Instead, businesses should have multiple tools and protocols that protect their company. 

For most businesses, this means that they need to start with basic firewall and antivirus programs

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to protect all devices that you and your employees use for work — any mobile phones, computers, laptops, and tablets.

Additional tools you’re going to use will depend on your company’s needs. For example, a company that relies on cloud technology to conduct it business should set up unique cybersecurity protocols and software that are designed to protect the cloud.

Protection Systems You Have Are Suitable for Your Company

Every company uses different systems, software, hardware, and tools to run its business. Depending on the way they operate and the devices and tools they use, vulnerabilities in their security will be different.

Therefore, the cybersecurity of a company should suit the different needs of said company. It has to be focused on the most likely flaws that will exist within that system.

For example, the companies that have adjusted their work for telecommuting and have multiple employees that remotely connect to their network should focus on endpoint security.

Endpoint users (AKA remote teams) may access the network from their home devices that have malicious viruses on them. Hackers can breach your network through their less secure devices — use them as a pathway to your company’s systems.

To combat this issue, most companies give their remote employees separate devices or invest in the protection software for workers’ home devices.

Employees Passed the Cybersecurity Training

True, your IT teams or specialized cybersecurity team are the ones who are responsible for cybersecurity. Regardless, other employees that connect to your network can unintentionally cause major vulnerabilities in your system. 

To avoid that, keep all teams up to date with the latest basic cybersecurity hygiene.

This means that they need to learn how to: 

  • Set strong passwords that aren’t easily hacked
  • Recognize widespread cyberattacks such as phishing
  • Use their device for work to reduce chances of hacking

By making everyone aware of possible cyber threats and establishing a learning environment, you create a good cybersecurity culture for your company. 

Such practices greatly increase the chances that your employees will report a suspicious email that contains possible malware that collects passwords.

Security is Tested on a Regular Basis 

The only way to know whether the systems you have truly work is by testing them. A common way to test security is via Continuous Security Validation

Penetration testing (AKA pen testing) is often required by law. This type of testing is done once or twice a year because of its high cost. You have to employ cybersecurity professionals to do breach simulations and test parts of your network.  

Continuous Security Validation is the cost-effective technology that simulates attacks on your system in a safe environment. It can detect vulnerabilities even before hackers do. 

Also, it can test your network 24/7 to be up-to-date with the changes in the systems that can occur within minutes. As your systems are constantly changing, updating and employees are logging in and out of the network, regular security checkups are crucial. 

How do you decide which part of the network requires testing?

Continuous Security Validation uses MITRE ATT&CK Framework as a reference to decide what should be tested. The MITRE Framework is a collection of the latest techniques that real hackers have used to breach networks.

The Framework is helpful for discovering flaws in the systems that led to recent attacks. It aims at discovering different and new hacking approaches. 

However, you also need to test your network against common cybersecurity risks such as phishing, malware, and DDoS. Hackers have been using them for years because they are effective.

Setting up Strong Security Sets up Your Business for Success

In a nutshell, to achieve strong cybersecurity, you need to ensure that you have the software suitable for your business and make a habit of testing the systems you have in place in order to improve your security.

This means that your security has to be layered with multiple tools that are suitable for your business. Also, your employees need to have basic cybersecurity training, and you have to continually test your security against common and latest attacks.

If the Continuous Security Validation shows that you have flaws in your system, your IT team has to decide whether the vulnerabilities are likely to lead to a breach. In case of a high-risk vulnerability, it needs to be patched up.

The process of setting up security tools, continuous testing, and making tweaks to your security is the key to having cybersecurity systems that are difficult to breach.


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.