Cybersecurity Risks Facing Small Business
Cybersecurity Risks Facing Small Business
We have all heard of the havoc cyber breaches cause to large businesses. But small companies are often even more vulnerable and susceptible to cyber attacks. Without large budgets to fund cyber defenses and teams of cybersecurity professionals, small companies are more dependent on employees for safe cyber activities to safeguard data and systems. Establishing processes and training employees on best practices for cyber safety is critical to avoiding harmful cyber intrusion.
Below are the top five cybersecurity risks small businesses face and how you can help guard your organization from them.
1. Phishing Attacks
The most rudimentary type of cyber threat is phishing, when an attacker sends messages that appear to be from a “reputable source” that can result in an individual revealing sensitive information or downloading a link that gives network or server entry to a hacker.
Phishing attacks are prolific and can be difficult to detect at a glance, making it important for everyone to learn what phishing scams look like. Develop a practice of paying attention to the subject line and look for oddities in the URL following the sender’s name. Phishing attempts should be immediately reported to your company’s IT manager for deletion and blocking from the server. Recipients can thwart threats by:
- Avoiding opening messages from sources with suspicious subject lines or URLs
- Establishing a practice of not clicking on pop-ups or unknown links
- Follow company procedures for keeping systems and software updated
A grave threat to small businesses is malware. Mostly initiated through websites and servers, malware involves the insertion of malicious code that causes harm or damage to a computer or server while ultimately giving attackers access and control over company data.
Attacks can be direct strikes or imbedded, timed or conditioned events and are enabled through vulnerabilities such as content management systems, freeware, outdated software, downloading a destructive link or email, or by connecting to an already infected network.
Malware attacks can be vicious and disruptive, but certain best practices can help protect networks and systems, such as immediately reporting suspicious content or software behavior to IT management, and:
- Using security software
- Establishing a process of using unique, long, and strong passwords
- Implementing company-wide multi-factor authentication
A ransomware attack occurs when hackers access an organization’s internal data or website, block it from the company, then demand a sum of money in exchange for a key to restore control. This is a common cyber threat to small businesses, who are more likely to pay in the hopes of recovering. To avoid the devastation of this type of attack, companies should perform frequent data backups on separate storage devices and provide cyber hygiene best practices to employees to avoid holes in their networks.
4. Weak Password Policy
By allowing weak passwords, reuse of the same password multiple times, or use of same password for multiple accounts, attackers can more easily gain access to sensitive information and control of your website or data. Follow best practices guidelines for password creation and security, including:
- Avoid using personal information as your password
- Use a unique password for each account
- Never share passwords
- Use a proven, secure password manager to record your passwords
5. Insider Threats
Whether intentional or unintentional, insider threats are an unfortunate, common cybersecurity risk. Sometimes employees, former employees, or associates with access to data about your company, leak sensitive information or carelessly share data. Providing employees access to multiple accounts or access to accounts they don’t necessarily need, increases data security risk. To avoid vulnerability, implement strong security software and account tracking and management, strong access control policies and access control reviews, and timely suspension or deletion of access to company resources once an employee leaves the company.
It’s easy to fall victim to cybersecurity attacks, but small companies can protect themselves by staying up to date and knowledgeable about detecting and preventing threats. Security
software and services range in cost, complexity, and capability, and can be managed by inhouse staff, a certified consultant, or a trusted, third-party provider. Ultimately, systematic, frequent recovery backups are the best insurance against loss and damage.
Here’s How Kreative can Help
Companies can turn to Kreative for expert help with security protocols! We work with corporate leadership to establish cybersecurity best practices, processes, templates, and training programs to empower you with the tools and information you need to protect your company’s data and systems. Call Kreative today to talk about your security concerns.
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