Gone are the days when one of the only means to rob someone was with a weapon. As beneficial as it is, widespread penetration of technology within every aspect of our businesses and lives has opened us up to a host of potential pitfalls. The greatest of them being unauthorized access and theft of sensitive information.
The past 18 months have not been very rosy on the cybersecurity front. Some of the biggest business names such as: Google, Chipotle, Kmart and Brooks Brothers have been shamed by massive data breaches.
This underscores the fact that cybersecurity is not to be ignored and must be given its due share in time and resources. Sharp focus on cybersecurity is just as crucial for small businesses as it is for a large corporation. In fact, according to 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon over 60% of data breach attacks were targeted at small businesses. Within this article, we intend to discuss a few cybersecurity best practices for small businesses.
Why Small Businesses Are A Hacker Magnet:
It is important to first understand why hackers often gravitate towards small businesses. To start off, small businesses can be quite complacent about cybersecurity-allocating very few resources to it. They often believe that since they are a small business they are not “juicy” enough to be breached. This mindset makes small businesses a soft target for hackers.
It is also easier to extort a ransom from a small business since even a minor cyber breach can shatter them.
Key Categories Of Cyberattacks:
In most instances, the end goal of any cyber breach is to gain access to sensitive business information such as customer information or financials. Although cyber protection techniques and protocols have come a long way in recent years, hackers have also kept up with the latest technology. With every passing day, they refine their ways. Following are some of the most common ways a cyber breach happens:
Phishing: This is the go-to cyber theft technique for most hackers. It involves collecting sensitive information such as login information or credit card information through a fake website disguised as a legitimate business.
DDoS: An acronym for “distributed denial of service,” DDoS attacks occur when a server is intentionally overloaded with requests until it shuts down the target's website or network system.
Inside attack: This is when someone with administrative privileges, usually from within the organization, deliberately misuses their credentials to gain access to sensitive information. Resentful employees could present a serious concern here in the absence of relevant cybersecurity protocols.
Malware: It stands for "malicious software" and refers to any program or software placed within the target's system with the objective to cause damage or gain unauthorized access. It includes: viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware.
Ransomware: One of the most widespread cybertheft methods, ransomware is a type of malware that infects the system and, as the name implies, demands a ransom. Usually, ransomware locks you out of your system and demands money in exchange for access or threatens to publish sensitive information if you don't pay.
What Cybersecurity Solutions Are There For Small Businesses?
Here are a few key measures that you must consider for your small business:
Antivirus: The very first step should be to install a strong antivirus program on your network. It will keep you safe against most types of malware. There are plenty of well known antivirus programs available for affordable prices, and be sure to keep the program updated.
Firewalls: A firewall provides an added layer of safety by denying system or network access to an unauthorized user. Most current operating systems such as Windows 10 come with firewall software.
Data backup solutions: Back up your data to ensure that any sensitive information can be retrieved quickly and reliably if a cyber breach takes place.
Best Practices For Small Business Cybersecurity:
It’s paramount to your business’s safety that you employ company-wide safety practices and onboard all the stakeholders including your employees. Following are some good places to start:
Updated Cybersecurity Software:
Most small businesses do not pay attention to their cybersecurity, those that do often only have the bare minimum safety measures in place. Many run their websites and other digital assets with outdated anti-virus and protection programs. This makes them an easy target for even a novice hacker. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to keep your protection programs updated, it takes almost no effort and is not resource intensive.
It’s crucial to your business’s safety that your employees clearly understand how such attacks happen and how to stay safe while using the business’s systems. This does not need to be an exhaustive exercise, a regular quarterly course/seminar would fit the bill.
Create A Preventive:
Make sure that every employee and other stakeholders such as suppliers and business affiliates understand what’s at stake. A conscious effort should be made in order to create a culture that places high importance on cybersecurity. This can be achieved by implementing company-wide security policies, starting with something as simple as password creation protocols.
Although understanding every aspect of cybersecurity is beyond the scope of a single article we hope that we have managed to open your mind to the crucial importance of digital security for your small business’s success.
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