A widespread misconception for small businesses is the notion of security through obscurity - that your organization is 'not big enough' to be a target. On the contrary, the reality is that SMBs are hit hardest by cyberattacks.1
It's no secret that incidences of cybercrimes have continuously been soaring in the recent past. According to the Insurance Business Magazine, there has been a 400% spike in cyberattacks reports to the FBI since the beginning of Coronavirus.2 The bad news is that up to 60% of small businesses shut down within six months of experiencing these breaches.3 This is why we believe that there can't be a better time to interrogate the impacts of cyberattacks on small enterprises - and how to avert them.
Why Are Small Businesses A Prime Target For Bad Cyber Actors?
Imagine you have been tasked to break into two houses. The first is a bungalow with several glass windows and doors. The other one is an underground banker with only one steel door that is heavily guarded. Which one do you think will be easier to break into? The bungalow obviously provides an easy target; it has several vulnerable entry points without robust security measures.
The same logic applies to small businesses - most of them have not made adequate investments in cybersecurity. Without proper security protocols in place, you're more susceptible to hacks and data breaches. The first step is to understand the various types of threats you are facing. Next, you must have deliberate proactive and fallback plans. From our almost ten years of experience in IT support, we know for sure that even a lousy strategy is better than none.
Common Cybersecurity Risks To Small Businesses And Their Solutions
- Phishing Attacks: Data from the X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2020confirms that phishing is the most prevalent attack vector in the US today.4 Typically, your end-users will receive a message that asks for personal information, such as passwords. The most common type is email phishing - the attacker attaches malicious links or images. Upon clicking the attachments, your users are directed to a page that requests their credentials or automatically 'phishes' them.
Prevention: Your users should be on the lookout for spelling or grammatical errors. Phishing messages are also often rife with a sense of urgency in demanding consumer credentials. A reliable help desk for reporting any suspected phishing attempts will come in handy.
- Malware: Here, a malicious piece of programming or software installs itself on your computer systems. Depending on the attacker's intentions, this may deny you access to programs, slow down internet access, delete or steal corporate credentials. A more prolific form of malware is ransomware attacks; a malicious software introduced into your servers encrypts your files and prevents access to functionalities. The attacker then demands a ransom in exchange for control of your systems. The most recent casualties were Mississippi schools that were forced to pay $300,000 as ransom.5
Prevention: Deploy reliable spam filtering tools to keep off malware-infected emails. You can also use DNS filters or other available web filtering options to block employees from accessing malicious sites when using your computers.
- DDoS: Distributed Denial of Service involves bad cyber actors infiltrating your servers and overloading them with synthetic user traffic. With time, your systems will not be able to handle any more incoming requests. This causes snarl-ups or a complete shutdown of your network.
Prevention: Again, spam filtering and web filtering tools will come in handy to identify malicious sites and halt access.
The truth is that your company is a potential target. You wouldn't want to undergo the harrowing experience of a hack or a data breach. Aside from massive financial losses, cyberattacks will most likely tarnish the good reputation you've worked so hard to build.
You Are Counting On The Competence Of Your IT Team
It's your IT team that will handle every aspect of your data security - from website design to cloud support, email support, development, and implementation of various security protocols. You cannot afford to work with a service provider that lacks the requisite expertise or subject-matter experience.
LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast, and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 10-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.