The growing cyber security risks for small businesses and how to counter them

Device interactivity and interdependence is increasing over time as the concept of IoT (Internet of Things) grows stronger over time. While the IoT strives for maximum convenience for individuals and businesses, it also has its attendant challenges. The more interconnected modern devices are, the higher the risk of cybersecurity threats. Small, medium, or large, your exposure to serious web threats does not depend on the size of your business. If you’re a small business, you’re exposed to just as many dangers as large businesses. In fact, the downside for small businesses is that they are not as well prepared for cyber threats as large companies.

So how are cybersecurity risks increasing over time, and what are the risks facing small businesses today? Take a look at the many ways cyber threats put small businesses at risk.

The ever-increasing number of cyber security risks

· The BYOD problem

BYOD (Bring Your Device) is an attribute of IT consumerization. To remain productive and efficient at the same time, more and more companies are allowing their employees to use their own devices to access and use company data. An example of this would be an employee using their tablet to open the company’s employee document archive, or an employee accessing work email from their smartphone. If you don’t have strong policies and standards in place for your BYOD implementation, your organization is at risk of being infected by malware originating from users’ devices.

· Software update delays

Have you ever wondered why companies are so adamant about updating their users to the latest software version? This is because older versions of the same software, application, plug-in, etc. are at risk of cyber attacks. Since small businesses rely on various applications, web applications and plugins for smooth website running, database work, on-site security, etc., they need to be extra careful while updating all of them. Any non-updated software or application is an open window for internet thieves to infiltrate your system.

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· Internal threats

You must be particularly careful when authorizing your employees to access your network and database. Many of the attacks on large companies in the past have allegedly been carried out by “insiders”. Sometimes the threats your employees make are unintentional and rather harmless. The authorized person may have access to their account and forgot to log out when leaving the station. A third person can then take advantage of the situation and damage the system.

· Sophisticated phishing scams

This is a common problem for small businesses because they don’t have strict protocols that employees must follow before opening emails or social media links. While phishing scams have been around for a while, the new form of this scam is called spear phishing. In this type of attack, the scammer sends an email from an address that appears known and trusted to the recipient. This trickes the person into clicking on the link and injects dangerous malware (ransomware in the worst case) into the system.

· Lack of knowledge about cybersecurity

Sometimes the problem is not being prepared to face a problem. This is a common case with many small businesses where owners and managers feel cybercriminals wouldn’t target them – why should they? They don’t see the key aspect of cybercriminals, ie they don’t believe in discrimination. One of the most common indicators of a lack of knowledge about cybersecurity in the workplace is when employees choose common, simple, and predictable passwords for their entry points into the company’s system.

What small businesses need to do to counter these threats

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· Establish policies with a BYOD approach

If you plan to adopt a BYOD approach in your workplace, you’d better document policies and regulations related to this. Have your employees read these manuals carefully so they know what standards and requirements they need to meet before bringing their own devices into the office. Set up a secure VPN for employees who need to access your system from remote locations.

· Provides cyber security training for employees

They won’t know unless you tell them, so make cybersecurity training a part of your hiring process. Make internet safety questions a part of your interviews. Instruct your employees to log out of their accounts and computers when leaving stations. Ask them to have strong passwords. Make it easy for them with applications not only to remember these passwords, but also to generate random and difficult passwords. Explain to them why such measures are important and what the consequences of non-compliance can be.

· Get ​​professional IT help

Opt for outsourced managed services or hire your own IT experts to take care of the security-related issues. An outsourced service or the in-house IT team sets up a complete system of policies, hardware and software technologies to not only protect your database from cyber threats, but also to react in time if you are attacked anyway.

· Give authorized accesses judiciously and monitor them

You can grant access to sensitive company information and the system to only a select few employees. When granting them access to the system, only grant them the permissions appropriate to their role. Second, you should have a monitoring system to keep tabs on the activities of these employees. Also, delete the accounts or change the passwords of accounts that are no longer used because the employees they were created for have left the company.

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· Choose third-party services wisely

Hold appropriate meetings and consultations before subscribing to third party services. To run a business in today’s digital age, you need to subscribe to many platforms or applications as services, e.g. B. Cloud CRM. You want to be sure that you are choosing an industry-recognized and reliable partner. They need to take the right security measures to protect not only their system but all information stored on their cloud platform from your databases.

Don’t forget about the security of your website. In addition to your databases, internal software, applications used by employees, etc., you also want to update your website plugins and applications in a timely manner.