Did you know small and mid-sized businesses are the targets of 43 percent of cyberattacks? Large organizations like Equifax and Target aren't the only viable targets, and hyper visible breaches like Colonial Pipeline or SolarWinds aren’t the only attacks happening.
Small to mid-sized businesses are regular targets of data breaches. Hackers suspect smaller businesses aren’t armed with sophisticated security systems, and in many cases, they’re correct. Many small businesses struggle to maintain security due to their smaller staff and tighter budgets. As entrepreneurs focus on growing the business, they tend to put off laying a strong cybersecurity foundation.
But with fewer people to manage and assets to track, laying that foundation isn’t as complicated or costly as it seems. Small businesses that allocate resources to security in the early stages benefit significantly. This strategy can also help them gain the trust of more clients, and in turn, fuel growth.
What’s at stake?
What are these menacing hackers after? It’s simple: they want critical information from your business they can use for their financial gain. Here are a few key examples:
- Customer records & payment information
- Intellectual property
- Financial information
- Employee records
How often does your company handle this type of information? How many of your employees touch this type of data daily?
Leaders need a clear strategy for understanding the data they have, assessing its value to the company (and to bad actors), and developing a plan to protect that data.
Where are the gaps?
Threats to your company’s data security are always lurking, looking for a gap or vulnerability in your processes. These vulnerabilities are all around. Let’s look at a few examples.
Something as simple as a poorly executed policy for maintaining passwords can bring down an entire company. In fact, 81 percent of data breaches are caused by weak passwords being compromised. Allowing employees to utilize weak passwords, keep the same password for an extended time, or not sufficiently encrypting passwords leaves a gaping hole in your security strategy. One way companies can solve this is to implement two-factor authentication for all passwords.
Skipping routine software updates is another way to make your company vulnerable. Think software updates only exist to give you access to the latest features or a fresh user interface? Think again. Software updates include the most recent security protocols to keep your devices and your data safe from cyberattacks. Maintaining an accurate inventory of all hardware and software assets within the organization will help close gaps in the security strategy.
You may be surprised to hear that your employees are a common cybersecurity vulnerability. This is not to suggest that they are working as hackers, but rather that many people are unaware of how to identify a phishing scam.
Today’s phishing scams are more sophisticated than previous scams that were easier to spot, such as the mysterious email from a royal ancestor ready to wire you a small fortune.
Imagine receiving an email from what looks like your HR director, with an attachment that reads “Compensation Report.” Would you open that? Without proper training on how to identify phishing emails, you likely would. This is why it’s imperative that companies employ robust cybersecurity plans — to keep phishing emails from hitting your inbox in the first place.
What’s the impact?
A data breach leaves a tremendous and lasting impact on any company. Companies spend a significant amount of money, time, and effort attempting to recover data following a cyberattack, and the reputational damage can lead to fewer new clients and lower revenue generation.
It can take years to establish a brand and build trust with clients, and it can all be destroyed overnight without proper protection against bad actors.
Business owners can face legal woes as a result of cyberattacks as well. Depending on your industry, you could be at risk of violating compliance regulations as well. For example, healthcare facilities that handle protected health information (PHI) or data protected under HIPAA laws are held to certain cybersecurity standards.
When IT departments are stretched thin, it’s nearly impossible to take a proactive approach to data security. We can help your company secure critical data and have peace of mind. We work with businesses of all sizes to identify gaps and vulnerabilities, evaluate risk, and prioritize proactive solutions.
Request an expert assessment and see for yourself how we’re redefining the IT experience.