So you own a small business you have put your life’s savings into and are probably chilling with a beer, thinking that you are safe from any cybersecurity threats? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but things aren’t as rosy as they may seem. You may concur with points like your brand isn’t in the limelight, and not many people know about it. But hackers know the importance of data, and if you store customers’ PII (Personally Identifiable Information), your small business could be a hacker’s haven.
4 Reasons Why Hackers Target Small Businesses
As per the findings of a study conducted by Symantec, 36 percent of all targeted cyberattacks have been carried out against firms with less than 250 employees. The problem stands exacerbated by the fact that 83 percent of all small businesses lack a formal cybersecurity plan whereas 69 percent of small businesses have no cybersecurity plan in place. The following are the reasons why small businesses are a haven for hackers looking to make a kill.
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- Small businesses lack cybersecurity measures and are consequently more exposed. Large businesses invest a lot of money and resources in building their cybersecurity paraphernalia; however, small businesses lack such wide and varied resources and are therefore more vulnerable to hacker attacks.
- Vulnerability to spear-phishing attacks. Hackers pose as personnel of authority and seek to acquire sensitive personal information without running the risk of being traced.
- Store sensitive data. Hackers understand the value of acquiring data and target small businesses that own a plethora of data from customers and employees, including credit card numbers, health records, etc. This information sells for a considerable amount of money in the black market, spelling success for hackers.
- Prevalence of DDoS attacks. Using botnets, distributed denial of service attacks can be planned. Regular server traffic gets disrupted by flooding computer systems with unwanted traffic.
9 Ways to Stop Hackers from Playing Truant with Small Businesses
- Install an SSL certificate. The most crucial step towards securing your small business’s website would be to install an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate successfully. This significant step will not only boost your SERP rankings but also ensure an end-to-end transcription of the data being transmitted between the website and the client’s browser.
If you have multiple domains that need to be secured, a Multi-domain SSL certificate would be your best bet. Save money in the process while securing your multiple first-level domains using a Multi-domain SSL certificate from cheapsslshop.com.
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- Ensure that your software is kept regularly updated. Ensure that you update all software, Content Management Systems, forums regularly. This is important for the optimal cybersecurity health of the website.
- Install regularly updated antivirus hardware and software. Your cybersecurity measures are only as strong as the weakest link. Major data breaches occur because of the lack of a proper firewall. Ensure that the files have been duly scanned before downloading them.
- Prioritize the principle of least privilege. Give only the requisite amount of access to individual employees. Employees sometimes unknowingly download keystroke logging malware programs that can intercept, read, and steal information from business computers. To prevent this, limit the access given to employees.
- Use complex passwords. We tend to choose easy-to-remember passwords for the sake of quick recall. However, they can easily be intercepted by hackers. A practical and superior password has a minimum of eight characters, which are inclusive of special characters, a number, and an uppercase letter.
- Ensure that hard drives and data are obliterated before recycling old business machines.
- Discourage the use of personal USB sticks, MP3 players, smartphones on business computers. These may be tainted with malware and infect the company desktop as well.
- Train employees properly. Employees need to be trained regularly in advanced cybersecurity techniques and practices to stay abreast with the latest developments. Give them access to only the fields they need for the day to day activities and train them in basic cyber etiquettes.
- Keep backups of your data. To overcome attacks such as cyber blackmail or ransomware, you need to have copies of your data. Once you have successfully confirmed your system’s health and cybersecurity update of software, you must consider backing up your data regularly.
This article makes it pretty clear that hackers don’t target businesses based on their size. Your small business, if unguarded, is as much at risk of a data breach as a large business. Thus, it is imperative that you up your cybersecurity game protect your small business from such malicious threats.