Home Did you know ? For Small Businesses, Cybersecurity is Non-Negotiable

For Small Businesses, Cybersecurity is Non-Negotiable

by Mic Johnson

For many years, it was large businesses and global corporations who were targets for cyber criminals and hackers. But something has shifted over the past two or three years. Small businesses are now very attractive victims. And if you don’t do something soon, yours could become the next one.

The Lowdown on Small Business Cyber Attacks

Small businesses are no longer just caught in the crossfire. They’re the ones being aimed at (and with incredible precision). Here are just a few surprising small business cybersecurity statistics:

  • 43 percent of cyber attacks actively target small businesses.
  • 3 in 5 small businesses victims have to permanently shut down within six months.
  • There was a 424 percent increase in small business cyber attacks over the past year.
  • 2 in 3 small business owners are “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about cyber threats.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 small businesses (47 percent) have no understanding of how to stay protected against cyber attacks.

Cybersecurity is extremely important, yet very few businesses actually have a plan for stopping attacks from compromising their sensitive data and financial systems. And if your business doesn’t take this issue seriously, it could be a very costly oversight.

How to Bolster Your Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a scary topic for most business owners. Not only are the stakes high, but there’s so much unknown. And if you’re wondering where to begin, you’re not alone. But we have several tips that you might find helpful.

  • Get Some Help

If you lack in-house IT expertise, then you’ll find it helpful to hire an IT support company to show you the ropes. They’ll let you know where you’re vulnerable, how to strengthen these weaknesses, and other proactive steps you can take to get ahead. This partnership will be worth its weight in gold.

  • Know What You’re Facing

It’s hard to stand up to security threats if you don’t know which threats you’re facing. You need to get clear on which threats are out there and what your risk level is for different threats.

“An understanding of this risk will guide the implementation of security strategies, process changes, and justify security-related expenditures,” Cyber Security Guide mentions. “Without understanding risk, any security decisions are nothing more than a shot in the dark, hoping to hit the mark.” 

If you’re someone who likes standardized processes, you’ll like the following equation:

Risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Impact

That’s the basic gist of it. You take the threat and look at it through the lens of your vulnerability and the impact it would have on your business. Based on this, each threat gets a risk score. The higher the risk score, the more of a priority it is.

  • Train Your People

More than half of all data breaches in small businesses occur as a result of human error. In other words, your biggest threats are your people. That’s not a knock on them and their integrity – it’s just a statement on their lack of understanding. Thankfully, you can correct this through proper training.

  • Have a Plan for Mobile Devices

Mobile devices are everywhere. And while we used to have the debate over whether companies should allow personal devices in the workplace, there’s hardly any separation between personal devices/data and work devices/data in today’s remote world. It’s all one and the same. The key is to have a proactive strategy that secures mobile devices and keeps them from becoming infiltration points for malicious hackers.

  • Require 2FA

Having complex passwords is important. But even the most robust passwords can become compromised when the right information lands in the wrong hands. That’s why we recommend two-factor authentication (2FA) across all accounts and logins.

With 2FA, you need two items to log in. You need (1) a password and (2) a specific mobile device or email account. This makes it very hard for a hacker to access an account without targeting multiple layers.

Go on the Defensive

Ignoring the threat of cyber attacks won’t do you any good. You can no longer hide behind your small size and perceived anonymity. Hackers are becoming more audacious than ever before and will attack small businesses to exploit their obvious vulnerabilities. 

Now is the time to go on the offensive by being more defensive. Are you ready?

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