Think small businesses are safe from money-hungry hackers? Think again.
SMBs are popular targets for malicious cybercriminals. Why? Because they are data goldmines that, unlike their larger counterparts, don’t always have the resources necessary to implement sophisticated security measures.
In short, they are easy targets – and profitable ones.
If you own or operate a small- to medium-sized company, you are at risk of a cyberattack. There are no two ways about it. That being said, there are systems and strategies you can put in place to mitigate risk.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the vulnerabilities that could be leaving your business exposed. But first, let’s examine the possible repercussions of a successful attack or breach.
Don’t underestimate the detrimental power of a cyberattack
Cyberattacks are no joke – they can leave your business in shatters. In fact, more than half of all businesses that experience a breach shut their doors for good within six months.
Let that sink in.
The repercussions of an attack are far-reaching. Best case scenario, you lose some non-business-critical data. Worse case, you experience significant data loss and downtime that not only puts you, your employees, and your customers’ private information in the hands of criminals, but also cost you a significant amount of money in lost sales. Either way, your brand’s reputation will most likely take a serious hit.
What’s more, cyberattacks are diverse and evolving at a rapid speed.
“As technology improves and becomes more prevalent, cyberattackers are becoming more sophisticated in terms of their tools, techniques and nefarious payloads.” – Forbes
Businesses must continually adapt to changes in security best practices if they are to block new threats.
With all this in mind, understanding the potential vulnerabilities that could be leaving your business exposed is vital if you are to survive now – and in the future.
Is my business at risk of a cyberattack?
Unfortunately, all businesses – and their data – are. However, if you and your employees practice the following common security missteps, you could be putting a red-hot target on your own back.
Do you use weak passwords?
This might sound obvious, but weak passwords are still a significant means for malicious users to gain access to business networks. Ensure you and your team use strong, unique passwords for their accounts – a long, random mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters (@, $, &, etc.) is best.
Do you connect to public Wi-Fi networks?
Public Wi-Fi networks – such as those at the airport or your favorite coffee shop – are not secure. Avoid connecting at all costs. If you absolutely must, refrain from logging in to any critical accounts. Instead, use your cell phone as a hotspot.
Do you skip software updates?
Applications are vulnerable to data breaches – especially if they aren’t up-to-date. Software updates include vital security patches that protect users from incoming attacks. If you fail to update your software as patches are released, you are putting your network at risk.
Do you have a bring your own device policy?
More and more businesses are switching to a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. And while this has many cost-saving benefits, it does increase the need for thorough staff education.
Do you receive a lot of junk emails?
Many cybercriminals gain access to a business network via email phishing attacks. This involves a seemingly legitimate email from a financial institution, service provider, or major company (like Google) that prompts the receiver to click a link or download an attachment.
If you receive a lot of junk emails, chances are, some of them are attempting to kick-off a phishing attack. The best way to safeguard your company against these types of threats is to invest in a professional-grade email filter and keep your team up to date with the latest email best practices.