It’s time for small businesses to prioritize cybersecurity
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, making up nearly 44 % of our national GDP. With such a significant percentage of our economic output relying on them, it is more pivotal than ever that these small businesses shore up their defenses to ensure they are protected from cyber risks and bad actors, both externally and from within. This is especially important as cybersecurity threats continue to escalate; 43 % of cyber breaches claimed small businesses as victims, according to a 2019 Verizon Study.
Small businesses house both transactional data and consumer data, both of which are more exposed than ever due to risks with new digital capabilities and technologies in the workplace. Data breaches cast small businesses as unreliable partners, forcing their consumers to do business elsewhere.
All businesses, despite their size are at risk. Breaches occur because small businesses make the mistake of assuming it won’t happen to them, they forget basic preventive measures, and they manage everything on their own, failing to invest in a reliable security system.
Here are some of the most common mistakes:
Wire Transfer Issues
Small businesses have continually fallen victim to those requesting fraudulent wire transfers in recent years. This can be avoided easily by carefully reviewing all payments before they are sent and verifying payee details – specifically, location and account information. One incorrect number could result in that wire winding up in the wrong hands.
Overlooking Admin Account Access
Small businesses often give too many employees access to vital services and hardware through admin accounts. These accounts can be easily hacked, however, and are favorite targets of many cyber criminals. Consider dialing back the number of admin accounts your company has and make sure only necessary people are granted access.
Smart Phone Vulnerability
Despite what employees may think, their work phone or tablet are high risk targets. Conducting business or making purchases while using public WiFi could put an individual, and the business they work for, at risk. Malware threats also lurk in third-party app sites as cyber criminals find it easy to trick people into downloading spoof apps.
In recent years, ransomware threats have skyrocketed by nearly 350 percent. These attacks often appear as emails or mobile notifications denying access to an employees’ computer. If you receive a foreign email, don’t be so eager to open it.
When working to combat these issues, it’s crucial for small businesses to invest in cyber security training and have a comprehensive cyber policy in place that is accessible to all employees. Being prepared and proactive can help prevent cybersecurity threats before they happen, shielding small businesses from a potential loss of income, loss of consumer data, and network security and privacy lawsuits.
When it’s all said and done, a cyberattack can significantly impact a company’s reputation and bottom line, and thereby erode consumer trust. The best defense is a good offense, and businesses should be aggressive in finding solutions that fortify their security.