Protecting Small Businesses From Cyber Threats

Protecting Small Businesses From Cyber ThreatsYou would be surprised to know that a simple data breach or cyber-attack or phishing email affects millions of people globally. With cities becoming smart and digital, there is an increased dependency on the internet and technology. Although a positive development, it also results in increased vulnerability as more people are connected to the internet.

Be it a large corporation or a small business, everyone is dependent on the internet today. News of cyberattacks keeps cropping every other day which is why small and medium-sized businesses need to stay prepared and protected. You would usually know about large corporations getting affected by such attacks, but small businesses are equally vulnerable today. As per a report published by the Global State of Cybersecurity on Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, it was found that over two-thirds of small businesses had experienced a cyberattack last year. When you consider data from the United States of America, the percentage increases to 76% which is almost 20% more than the last three years.

Such attacks damage a business in several ways, including employee downtown, cost of restoring operations, and data loss. There are other damages which a company might have to deal with. It includes reputation damage, legal or financial losses, etc. As per estimates, the total cost of a single data breach averages around $149,000 for SMBs. The attack is devastating for businesses having limited resources. As many as 60% of small businesses have closed their doors after a cyberattack.

The rapid increase in risk and financial impact due to cyberattacks indicates that as a business owner you have to take proactive steps. These steps will allow you to locate possible threats and protect your company’s data and assets. Risks associated with a cyber-attack aren’t only a problem for your IT department but a destructive event for your business as well.

Cybersecurity Should Be A Business Priority

Results of a survey conducted by the U.S. Small Business Administration indicated that over 88% of small business owners believed that they were vulnerable to a cyberattack. The apprehensions shouldn’t be a surprise as the pandemic has already forced people to work remotely. In most cases, organizations do not have cybersecurity infrastructure or adequate employee training to stay alert and protected. Another survey by cybersecurity experts indicated that almost 20% of the security breaches last year were a result of remote operations.

With the increased number of cyberattacks, small businesses need to understand the vulnerabilities of their specific business and educate themselves with the available resources to prevent, identify and respond to such attacks. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is a US federal agency that focuses on the security, reliability, and resiliency of cybersecurity and communications infrastructure. They help small businesses develop and deploy customized cybersecurity programs after conducting self-assessments, best practices, and preparing a resource road map. There is a high possibility that unmanaged cyber risks could expose small businesses to numerous vulnerabilities.

Educate Your Employees

Businesses need to start educating their employees by raising awareness about risks and mitigation steps throughout their organizations. Strategically businesses need to determine the level of risk within their businesses and take it beyond technical conversations. Employees being your first line of defense need to contribute and help your company stay protected against cybersecurity attacks. Some important steps to educate them includes:

Install Software Patches and Updates

Timely operating system updates and patches to software applications are important to protect the assets of your company. This allows you to address the latest known threats and vulnerabilities.

Create Strong Passwords and Protect Against Disclosures

Now that more employees are working remotely, and using their devices to work, it’s important to separate personal and work passwords. This can substantially reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your company’s data or systems.

Trace Suspicious Activities Like Emails and Unknown Website Links

Sophisticated phishing attacks are the biggest reason for attacks on small businesses. Your company needs to simulate your real scenarios along with samples of sophisticated phishing emails. Small businesses can eventually help their employee to recognize the risks and evaluate the mitigation steps for preventing unauthorized access to your company’s data.

With the increased number of cyberattacks and most of them being sophisticated, small businesses need to take adequate action to protect their company’s data and assets. If you are looking for expert advice with regards to doing business online and staying protected, you can consult IB Systems USA. With decades-old experience, the company has been serving clients in the US and across Tampa Bay, FL.

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