Businesses can only thrive if you take necessary precautionary measures. It doesn’t just revolve around having a good support chat, competent staff, or reliable products. There’s so much more that needs to be taken into consideration.
The news always highlights more prominent companies that fall victim to cyberattacks, but no one talks about the smaller businesses that are more susceptible to attacks.
Smaller businesses don’t pay heed to security vulnerabilities, nor can they manage to hire an entire IT team to take the reins. So, cybersecurity measures are often overlooked in these circumstances, not thinking twice about all that could go wrong.
If you’re a business owner to a small start-up or home-based day-job, you’ve probably, at some point, wondered why cyber-criminals would ever place a target on a company that small. Well, it’s because your business is an easier target.
Most cybercriminals know that smaller businesses don’t have the means to significant company-level security, and most don’t even consider any protection. A cybercriminal or hacker will never think twice about a target, regardless of how small or big, the company is. If there is a chance provided, they set to fire. This is why effective cybersecurity measures are essential even in the smallest of situations.
Back in 2019, around 56% of attacks were targeted towards smaller businesses, cause mass destruction and loss of sensitive information. This can revolve around stolen medical records, credit card details, client information, data breaches, and much more.
Attack Rates on Smaller Businesses Increased During the Covid-19
The Pandemic struck in 2019, and even though most businesses are still recovering from year-old losses, the situation is still somewhat the same.
More than half of the world is still working from home, and even though they’re a part of big-league companies or industries, the online security of employees working from home are equivalent to small business security standards, which is minimum to zero.
Cybercriminals are finding newer ways to strike every minute of every day. Vulnerabilities and paranoia were caused by the Covid-19, resulting in online users complying with different pandemic remedies, or phishing tactics, making it easier for cybercriminals to strike. They created malicious websites, sent out suspicious links, phish for information through calls, and so on. It’s still on the rise even after a year.
The fact that smaller businesses aren’t protected makes them easier targets. Think about it – If a massive multi-billion dollar company can be compromised, what is a smaller market in comparison?
What All is At Risk If Ever Your Business is Hit by a Cyber-Attack?
Yes, smaller businesses don’t take active precautions, but that doesn’t mean you avoid recognizing the threat altogether. Most Covid-19 cyberattacks targeted smaller companies because they’re not prepared to identify the threat. They fall for these scams 60% of the time. Regardless of the Pandemic, cyberattacks will always continue to evolve. They know who to target and what tactics to use.
To get a better idea, you need to understand what all is at stake. Cybercriminals will be able to:
- Get a hold of all your cliental information, contact them, or hold it at ransom for a high price. If the payments aren’t met, they can sell this information off on the dark web or to third-parties.
- As part of sensitive information, they’ll have access to credit card and business bank account details.
- If your business phones, laptops, etc. aren’t secured, they’ll be able to hack into your social and bank accounts and transfer funds from and to them.
- In most cases, cyberattacks are commonly targeted towards smaller businesses because their client lists and connections often lead to more significant firms or companies.
The losses are enormous in every situation. In some circumstances, the impact is so terrible that it can result in shutting your business down for months, a year, or for good. Taking specific steps to prevent these attacks isn’t as difficult as you think. Taking precautionary measures might even be free of cost.
Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyber-Threats
Necessary security protection will never cost you a ton of money and are free in some cases. It all depends on how you approach it and handle the situation. Here are a few ways you can actively protect your business from potential cyberattacks:
- Secure your devices and data with top-of-the-line security software. Take note of good VPN software, anti-viruses, ad-blockers, network Firewall, and more. These can help encrypt your connection, scan from threats, and block off any advancing attacks. It’ll also help lower or slow down the attack.
- Update your security software. Just getting one installed on your devices isn’t enough. Regular security updates on both your equipment and software are crucial. Older versions are often vulnerable and prone to attacks, more natural to infiltrate.
- Back up all critical files and data. Never store just one copy of files on vulnerable apps. If a cyber-criminal gets a hold of these files, it’ll either be sold, deleted or held at ransom, causing further damage to your business.
- Most cyberattacks are done through email scams. Some emails might appear to be sent from known or familiar sources, but you shouldn’t respond nor click on links the moment the email arrives. Always take note of the sender’s email, whether the email is encrypted, and look up the primary source to identify whether this sender is a scammer or not. You might receive emails saying someone would like to invest in your business or that you owe a particular client a fee or stipend for a business-related reason. Always think about your options, confirm the source, and then choose what to do next.
- Password protect or add double factor authentication on all accounts. If ever someone tries to hack into your system or accounts, you will be alerted.
- The education of all employees on the matter is essential. It just takes one person who isn’t aware nor informed to jet start the problem.
- Limitation of employees to specific files, documents, etc. is healthy. Never leave access to more than two employees. You’ll never know if the attack happens within the business.
- Scan your devices for threats now and then.
Cyberattacks are an ongoing invasion and will stop for no one, regardless of it being a small business, a large corporation, a home-based freelance job, or just a regular internet surfer.
There’s always something to get out of it, and cybercriminals will stop at nothing to get a hold of it. However, there’s still something each business owner or employee can do about it, and by following the measures mentioned above, is a step in the right direction.
Jade Nazareth is a writer at topvpnservice. She takes a keen interest in writing how-to guides and awareness blogs related to cybersecurity measures and software. To instill a little cyber-knowledge in her readers using layman’s terms is what she aims to do.