Many small business owners may not realize the impact and influence they have in the economy as a whole. According to the December 2017 Key Small Business Statistics, small businesses comprise 97.9% of Canada’s economy, making them the backbone of our economy.
Why Cybersecurity Is Essential for Small Businesses
Cybersecurity Risks for Small Businesses
Organizations need to create and practice a culture of security to protect their network, their data, their image, ensure consumer confidence and ultimately ensure their continued existence. Unfortunately, cyber attackers do not stop at targeting large-scale businesses to gather data. It might be easy to think that cyber criminals will pass over attacking small businesses since there is “not much to steal.” However, this false impression has often made small businesses vulnerable victims to cyber attacks. Since cyber attacks on large business organizations attract the most attention, many cyber criminals have realized that targeting smaller-scale businesses leads to higher profit and less attention. Here are the types of information that are most likely to be at risk:
- Financial information
- Customer records
- Customer debit card and credit card information
- Intellectual property
- Business correspondence
- Employee records
- Lack of IT Expertise– An inadequate budget can prevent small businesses from hiring cybersecurity experts.
- Inadequate Computer and Network Security – While many small businesses have some level of security measures in place, , these often fall short, not being able to respond quickly or detect cyber attacks at all.
- Absence of an Adequate Backup Plan – Recovering from a cyber attack often involves retrieving data from your backups. Having a robust data backup plan with regular on-site and cloud backups is a must.
- Lack of Employee Training – When employees lack training, it puts your business at risk from cyber threats such as email, texting, phone, false ads and other types of scams.
Common Cybersecurity Threats to Your Business IT
Here are the most common cyber threats used by hackers to harm your small business computer system:
- Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) – These are long-term targeted attacks that enable hackers to infiltrate into your business network in different stages. Once the hacker successfully enters the network, they will establish their foothold on the system without being detected. Despite the detection and restoration of the breach, the hackers have already found other ways to continue plundering data from your system.
- Malware – Short for “malicious software,” malware is a software program designed to cause damage, disruption, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. It is important to be aware of the different types of malware to be able to determine the type of cybersecurity software to protect your system. There are 5 types of malware:
- Phishing – Phishing is perhaps the most common form of cyber theft used today. Attackers usually disguise themselves as a trusted entity to collect sensitive information such as credit card information and login credentials through deceptive emails and websites.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – This malicious attack targets websites and online services by clogging up the server or network with traffic until these are rendered inoperable. DDoS also prevents regular traffic from reaching its desired destination.
Advantages of Investing in Cybersecurity Measures
- Provide Digital Protection – Cybersecurity protections can help ensure that your employees are well-protected from potential threats, such as ransomware and adware, thus protecting the data they have access to.
- Maintain Business Continuity – Data breaches, malware, ransomware attacks, etc. can all cause major disruptions to your business productivity, profitability and even viability. Having adequate cybersecurity measures in place can help prevent these disruptions.
- Spark Customer Confidence – When your customers see that their information and transactions are protected from potential cyber breaches, they are more likely to entrust their personal data to your business.
- Protect Your Customers – Having cybersecurity not only protects your business but your customers, as well.
Tips to Protect Your Business from Cyber Attacks
Here is a cybersecurity small business guide to ensure optimum protection:
- Ensure your firewall is a business-class device with advanced gateway protection features.– A firewall is meant to prevent attackers from entering a private network and accessing data.. Inexpensive consumer firewalls are not adequate.
- Back Up Your Data Regularly – Hourly backups of your data, during business hours is recommended. Data should be backed up locally and to the cloud.
- Secure WiFi Connections – A WiFi network for your workplace must be secured, encrypted, and hidden. If visitors need access to the Internet, a separate WiFi network should be created so they have no access to your corporate network, and you can control how much bandwidth they can use.
- Limit Data and Information Access – It is good practice to only give employees access to data that they need to perform their job. If their computer is breached, the attacker will only have access to data that employee has access to. It is also best to not allow software to be installed without proper permission.
- Keep Your Computer Systems Updated – Another way to protect your business from viruses, malware, and other online threats is by having the latest security software, updated software patches, plus supported operating systems, and web browsers.
April 30, 2020 4:09:20 PM