Whenever you visit various IT media platforms, you may come across news about a big firm targeted by cybercriminals. Major news feeds have stories about big corporations or governments attacked by cybercriminals. They barely report about small and medium enterprises.
Does the media blackout mean the cybersecurity protocols of small and medium enterprises are immune to breaches?
Short answer, no. Cyberattackers often target small and medium businesses because they are easy targets.
What Makes Small And Medium Businesses Easy Targets For Breaches?
According to Fundera, 60% of cyberattacks target small enterprises. Small and medium businesses are easy targets for cybercriminals for various reasons.
- Scarce Resources: SMEs have scarce economic resources, meaning they must prioritize areas to allocate funds. Many of these entities spend on essential items, such as inventory, equipment, and labor costs. They barely have enough money to spend on excellent cybersecurity — unlike big corporations. Their inability to pay for excellent IT security programs and protocols leaves them exposed to many vulnerabilities, making them easy targets for cyberattackers.
- Poorly Trained Staff: Most SMEs’ limited resources means they cannot hire adequate staff. Workers often share workloads, and they recruit low caliber professionals that accept the pay they afford. The low remuneration and expertise demotivate the workers, and they strive to do the bare minimum. Various cybersecurity threats bypass them.
- Poor Response Time: Inadequate reporting and system analysis mean SMEs take time to identify threats. For example, cybercriminals can bypass their cybersecurity measures and spend days or weeks in the network before someone notices their presence. Cyberattackers can do a lot of harm if they are in a system for extended periods.
Common Cybersecurity Threats To Small And Medium Organizations
Some common threats facing SMEs are:
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks happen when cybercriminals send fraudulent communications that seem to be from a credible source. The preferred method of delivery for cybercriminals is email. They can email team members pretending to be management. The email can have infected attachments or direct recipients to malware-laden sites. Unsuspecting employees open these attachments or links, infecting the network with malware that performs various functions. For example, they can give the attackers remote control or allow them to spy on the company.
- Malware Attacks
Cyberattackers can target SMEs with malicious software, such as ransomware, spyware, viruses, and worms. Malware attacks take advantage of a network's vulnerability when you install compromised software or click dangerous links. The malware can do a lot of harm, including give attackers control and disrupt some components.
- Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks entail cybercriminals taking over networks or stealing sensitive data. Once they achieve one or both targets, they demand payment from an organization to return things to normal. SMEs often struggle to pay the ransom, meaning they risk days or weeks of downtime. An SME's reputation can also suffer if attackers publish or sell clients' data online.
- Weak Passwords
Many SMEs' workers have little to no training on cybersecurity. This unawareness means they can make mistakes, such as having one password for all their platforms. Some use obvious details to generate their passwords, such as their birth date or pet's name. Cybercriminals can crack their password with little of their personal information.
How SMEs Can Improve Their Cybersecurity
According to the SEC, 60% of SMBs don't survive a breach and shut down within six months after an attack. This statistic is alarming, but these tips can help you secure your IT infrastructure.
Here is what you can do to ensure you stay safe:
- Train Your Staff: Many attackers target human weaknesses. Training your employees on cybersecurity threats and protocols can reduce your exposure to attacks.
- Create Backups: Having backups of essential data can ensure your business remains operational after an attack. For example, ransomware may not cause downtime.
- Prioritize Cybersecurity: Limit your vulnerabilities, and use antivirus, antimalware, and antispyware programs.
- Encourage Your Employees to Report Suspicious Behavior: A reporting culture enables you to check out potential threats and develop measures to mitigate against them.
- Instruct Employees to Change Passwords Frequently: This approach ensures cyberattackers have a tough time cracking their passwords. The new passwords should also not be obvious.
- Review and Improve Your Cybersecurity Measures: Securing your IT infrastructure is a continuous process. Reviewing your progress allows you to keep up with the ever-changing threats and seal loopholes.
- Limit Access to Your Network: Employees should only access the parts they need. This approach ensures your entire network is not compromised if cyberattackers compromise one employee.
What Are The Benefits Of Having Excellent Cybersecurity Measures In Place?
Having reliable cybersecurity measures in place can lead to many benefits, such as:
- No Downtimes: Your business can continue normal operations if cybercriminals breach your network. Your backups enable you to operate, ensuring you don't lose revenue through unfulfilled orders or lack of communication with clients.
- Protect Your Clients' Privacy: You will safeguard sensitive information, such as your clients' addresses, contact information, and social security numbers.
- Avoid Financial Losses: You will not spend resources rebuilding or patching your network after an attack. You will not pay ransom to attackers.
- Protect Your Reputation: Your standing with stakeholders can take a hit if they know cybercriminals breached your network. Reliable cybersecurity helps you stop these attacks, preserving your reputation.
- Avoid Legal Trouble: You may face legal issues with government agencies and clients if you fall victim to cyberattacks. These cases can lead to hefty fines, revocation of licenses, or jail time. Reliable cybersecurity helps you avoid these issues.
Get Reliable Cybersecurity Today!
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Contact us today to secure your small or medium enterprise from cyberattacks.