Small Business Security
Let’s say you own a small business with 25 employees. Nothing too dramatic happens, your computer systems work as you need them to (minus the occasional hiccup here and there), and you feel good overall. The last thing on your mind are cybersecurity threats. Why would anyone go after you when there are so many bigger businesses with deeper pockets to target, right? Consider the famous Target hack of 2021, with data from tens of millions of credit and debit cards stolen. THAT’S a big fish.
The picture we just painted is exactly why you’re more at risk than you know.
Think of it this way: why would someone rob a house when they could rob a bank? Well, it’s easier to break into a sliding door from the deck than it is to crack a secure vault, and small, consistent strikes in low-risk areas can be a lot more appealing.
As a small business owner, you have to be aware of the risks. They may not be particularly fun to consider, but trust us: you want to be aware of the danger that cyber attacks can pose, and have the right controls in place to protect yourself.
Why do hackers target small businesses?
1. Poor security measures
Overall, small businesses just aren’t as well-protected as their larger counterparts. Sometimes that’s due to complacency, but it can also be due to the practical fact that the owners of small and mid-sized businesses often don’t have the same budget as larger companies for IT teams and extensive cybersecurity protection. They also may just not be aware, especially if they aren’t tech-savvy.
2. Inconsistent employee training
Employees are actually one of your greatest cybersecurity liabilities. It’s often not malicious, but a simple lack of knowledge or training can open the door to ransomware or phishing email tactics. IT oversight, firewalls, password policies, and more vigilant network monitoring is woven into the fabric of larger businesses, but not smaller ones.
As a side note, you can greatly improve your own security by taking passwords seriously, and implementing multi-factor authentication. In conjunction with current antivirus software and some basic awareness training, you can strengthen your organic protection and network security.
3. Gateway to larger attacks
A small business’ network and data is oftentimes linked to that of a larger business or financial institution. As an example, let’s say you provide services to a large vendor, or maybe even to a client with substantial online assets. Hackers know that you can be the weak link, using your softer security measures as a backdoor to a more profitable attack.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks
Your operations are essentially frozen until you meet a specific demand (often a very high price tag). The perpetrators know that in more cases than not, the small business owner will panic at the prospect of substantial lost revenue and meet the demand, really because they aren’t sure of what else to do or what their options are. A large business or organization, on the other hand, will likely have extensive access to security measures, cybersecurity liability coverage, and the full support of an IT and security operations center.
How to protect your small business from cybersecurity attacks
Never assume that it won’t happen to you, and take the steps necessary to prevent a preventable disaster. If you don’t have an in-house IT team, look into outsourcing these services, and make sure that your security needs are met (not just service and maintenance).
To go back to our opening analogy, sometimes all that’s needed to deter a theft is a locked door. Many don’t have interest in breaking in, and are simply looking for the easiest, low-hanging fruit.
Have more questions about cybersecurity and how to protect your assets? Contact the Teltek team with any questions and to discuss the right solutions for your business or organization.