Businesses are facing a rising risk of cyber-attacks with new hacking tactics being deployed using nasty malware, spear-phishing with small and medium businesses becoming easy targets to such rising crimes. In fact, some of the Ransomware used today to encrypt your desktop or laptop but exploit the file servers as well, which can ruin your small business. SMB’s need to safeguard their business using the best cybersecurity measures for boosting data encryption and privacy of confidential information. There are domain validated certificates such as GeoTrust SSL Certificates that offer industry-standard encryption suitable for safeguarding traveling information.
Small businesses are more vulnerable to cyber attacks
According to Accenture reports, cybercrimes are likely to drain valuable resources of organizations worldwide leading to exorbitant business costs of nearly $5.2 trillion in the next five years. Over 43% of online attacks are targeted at small online businesses whereas only 14% of them are equipped to tackle them effectively. With an increasing number of devices including laptops and smartphones, cyber attackers have also found out new ways to launch digital attacks causing serious business disruptions.
Common types of cyber attacks
Malware is a malicious form of software which may include worms, trojan horses, viruses, spyware used for stealing, encrypting, and deleting data or tracking users’ activities on the computers without their knowledge. Small business owners need to have anti-virus and anti-malware protection for their systems and need to update their operating systems and firewall while enforcing strict password policies.
Ransomware is usually spread through phishing emails or by visiting infected sites and it typically involves locking the target computer or files and holding such information for ransom. Moreover, this type of attack can cause a severe blow to small businesses as it might be difficult to recover the data easily as there is no guarantee that the information will be handed over back to the victim.
Over the years, phishing attacks have become more advanced where the hackers use a false identity to trick users for providing information. Spear phishing is a more sophisticated kind of phishing and a targeted attempt to steal sensitive information including account and financial details through a specific victim. Some of the largest cyberattacks in human history include attacks on companies such as JP Morgan, eBay, Target, Sony, and other government departments in the US.
The DDoS attack is a type of cyber attack which can crash websites using fake requests and traffic from multiple sources. In such attacks, multiple infected computers across different networks flood your website with requests at the same time. These requests can take a toll on your website and result in a slowdown of performance or crash. Small businesses are specifically targeted using DDoS attacks as most of them have smaller budgets and find it hard to invest in solid security infrastructure for their websites.
Top 5 Essential cybersecurity practices for small and medium enterprises
There are many factors that have contributed to the cybersecurity attacks on SMBs with the digital transformation taking place. With greater reliance on mobile devices along with cloud-based services have made these companies more vulnerable to a growing number of cyber-attacks. Moreover, most of these companies lack clearly defined strategies to tackle cyber-related issues. Hence, SMBs need to take stock of the current situation and be prepared more seriously using the right cybersecurity measures suitable for their organizations.
Update your software regularly
Software applications are critical to all kinds of businesses operating today as hackers tend to look out for vulnerabilities and steal valuable data. They may look to have access and control over your data and encrypt your files to demand money in exchange for information. Software updates may also be used to fix security loopholes and keep hackers away from such malicious activities. It is imperative for companies to update their software application installed at your workplace and enable your remote employees to keep their software up to date.
Provide firewall protection and use security systems
The first step for defense against cyber attacks is having a secure firewall that can help in protecting your vital data against thefts. Firewalls can prevent unauthorized access to websites, mail services and other information that otherwise may be targeted by hackers. SMS must consider investing in quality security systems that include malware protection along with viruses and the detection of harmful malware. This could save companies from associated financial and legal costs resulting due to data breach. Also, you should buy SSL certificate for your website that will help you with better liability protection against being stolen from your personal data.
Create a backup of critical business data
The US Small Business Administration recommends taking regular backup of data for word processing documents, databases, spreadsheets and accounts receivable and payable files. Small businesses need to have storage of backup data on the cloud and need to have a regular backup with data encryption and sufficient protection. Moreover, it is crucial for SMB’s to have a solid backup strategy in place for the security of their website.
Use solid password protection and authentication
Strong and complex passwords are key to keeping hackers at bay from accessing critical business information. On the other hand, weak passwords may be easy to guess and can be easily figured out by cybercriminals to break into your networks easily. A strong password needs to contain a minimum of 10 characters with numbers, symbols along with capital and lowercase letters included. Companies may also have to use multi-factor authentication which may be essential for accessing sensitive areas on the network.
Educate and spread awareness among employees
Employees within SMBs need to be given training regarding the use of safety procedures to be followed and know about the company’s cybersecurity policies. In addition, it’s necessary to ensure that employees are accountable and have a thorough understanding of all the security measures used within the organization.
In today’s competitive era, every small business needs to aware of the inherent threats to its website and strengthen its defense against hackers to rule out any loopholes in their security systems by laying a strong foundation of cybersecurity strategies.