Do Small Businesses Need to be Worried About Cyber Security?
Businesses, irrespective of their industry or size, are prone to cybersecurity attacks. As per research, over 43 percent of cyber attacks are directed towards small businesses. So, if you’re a small business owner and feel that benefit of obscurity would safeguard you against cybersecurity threats, you can’t be more wrong.
It is essential for businesses to proactively take measures to safeguard their digital assets and data from attackers. Ignoring the importance of cyber security can lead to massive losses in terms of finances, data, reputation, security, privacy, business secrets, and more. So, yes, cybersecurity should be one of the major concerns of small businesses.
What are the Common Cybersecurity Threats Small Businesses Must Worry About?
With time, the cybersecurity industry is growing and evolving to offer more comprehensive security and shield against attacks. On the other hand, the attackers are evolving rapidly to find loopholes and gaps in security more innovatively. The attackers use many different ways to infect a system, steal data, and attack the system. However, some of the most common cybersecurity threats small businesses should worry about and focus on primarily are –
It is one of the most common yet highly lethal cyber security threats faced by small businesses. In this form of threat, the attacker disguises themself as a reputed individual or organization and communicates through email, SMS, or other forms of communication to gain access to the system, infected with virus or malware, etc.
Such attacks are often meant to scrupulously fraud the receiver in one way or the other to access financial data or information and transfer funds.
As per the majority of the managed security service providers globally, ransomware attacks are increasing globally and are the biggest threat to small and medium-sized businesses. As per the data, one in every five small to medium-sized businesses are victims of ransomware attacks.
The ransomware makes its way to the system through vulnerable email downloads, emails, and other digital deliverables. Ransomware needs to be activated by clicking, opening or downloading. Once it is activated, it can potentially take over the entire system or maybe even the entire network.
Once the attacker takes over the system, the data and digital assets of the business are encrypted and made inaccessible. Until the business pays the ransom asked by the attacker, the data and the system remain locked and unusable.
These forms of threats are caused from inside the organizations, mostly by employees, vendors, partners, associates, suppliers, etc. The employees may mistakenly open or download an email with malicious malware without scanning it for threats or verifying its authenticity.
At times, inside actors like partners or employees may intentionally harm the business through security attacks, causing data leaks, data loss, data theft, etc. Disgruntled employees are also known to leak sensitive data and information, passwords, business secrets, credentials, and more.
How Can Small Businesses Protect Themselves from Cyber Attacks?
While small businesses mostly don’t have their own IT department or can’t afford extensive cyber security measures, certain small steps can be easily implemented to upgrade and enhance security. It includes
Security Awareness Training
Such training and workshops can help your employees know the dos’ and don’ts and identify a threat when they see one. Most of all, it would alert their senses to recognize when something’s off, including strange emails with attachments or other types of phishing scams. Training employees about ransomware, phishing, security, data storage, etc., play a huge role in improving security and safeguarding against cybersecurity threats.
Many employees often use common, unsecured, weak, or personal passwords for work accounts, making the business systems vulnerable to threats. Moreover, many employees keep very simple and easy-to-remember passwords, which are then shared with other colleagues. Using Password Manager is essential to stop such recklessness and safeguard passwords from leaks or forgetting.
Risk Projection & Discussions
Even if some threats may seem far-fetched, it is essential that small businesses discuss these risks and threats in advance to create a plan. What if the building caught on fire? What if the hard drive crashes irreversibly? What if ransomware hits the system and the compensation asked is $50,000? Having such discussions periodically helps in risk assessment and creating a plan to take preventive measures before it’s too late.
Cyber security needs to be taken seriously by small businesses as the financial cushion to fall back on is limited. Complacency in cyber security would be noticed by attackers online, who would not miss an opportunity to steal data or ask for ransom or cause any other form of damage. It is essential to take preventive measures beforehand to upgrade cyber security, train employees, and be mindful of cyber security threats and corresponding solutions.
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