While large enterprises realize that cybersecurity threats are a massive liability, many small businesses do not often realize that this applies to them too. This is because many small business owners think that they are too small to be targeted. We now have evidence that shows criminals do not discriminate and will actually target small businesses because they know there is a likelihood that they do not take their cybersecurity seriously. Below, we will look at the common cybersecurity threats that small businesses face and what small business owners can do about them.
Phishing attacks are the biggest threat small businesses face. Phishing attacks happen when a malicious actor pretends to be a trusted contact. They will usually send a malicious file or ask that someone opens a link, after which malware is downloaded to their computer. This malware then spreads through the network and can wreak havoc. In some cases, the malware is designed to steal sensitive information or credentials.
Having strong email security as well as educating employees on how to identify attacks can help businesses protect themselves. Businesses can also test whether employees can identify phishing emails and teach them how to do so and report if they receive one such email. It is also important to install software that helps identify malicious files and links before receivers open or click on them.
Malware attacks can be attached to phishing attacks or happen in other ways, such as using thumb drives that are infected. Malware includes several cybersecurity threats such as viruses and Trojans that can gain network access, open back doors, steal data and destroy equipment.
Businesses should encourage people to take precautions on their personal devices if they use these devices to access company networks. They can also hire a managed IT services company to keep an eye on their networks and deal with any malware when they see an infected system.
Even when a business has robust cybersecurity measures in place, the weakest link will often be the system’s users. One threat associated with people is weak passwords or passwords that can be guessed easily. This problem can get a lot worse in cases where businesses use cloud infrastructure that requires employers to have personal passwords. Because these systems often contain sensitive data, having them compromised can be devastating for businesses of any size.
It is important that businesses carry out a password audit to weed out weak passwords. It is also important that they teach their employees the difference between weak and strong passwords and encourage employees to switch to the latter. For smaller businesses, employers can also ask employees to use password management services that help create and store strong passwords.
The biggest cybersecurity threats in small businesses are usually due to either the infrastructure in use or the people using this infrastructure. Because the consequences of a data or cybersecurity breach are monumental and devastating, businesses should do everything they can to protect themselves, even if it means hiring outside cybersecurity or IT companies.