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Working from home is not going anywhere. In fact, research shows that post-pandemic 42% of employees who worked strictly from a company-based location will not return to the office. Do you know how this will impact your business? Learn more about the tools needed to protect your client data and improve employee productivity.
Check out the latest happenings in the world of IT from our Locknet® experts. In this issue, we highlight some topics your organization should be aware of to minimize risks. Specifically, mitigating insider threats to your security and the risks of hanging on to legacy data.
Cyberattacks against small businesses have been on the rise in recent years. Depending on the study you read, anywhere from 40-60% of small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) have experienced a cyberattack in the last year. Whether it’s on the low end or the high end, the percentage is significant.
Despite the rise in cyberattacks, a 2022 CNBC poll asking small business owners about the biggest risk to their business listed cybersecurity fifth after supply chain disruptions, inflation, COVID-19, and the labor shortage. While it wasn’t their top priority, almost four in 10 small business owners said they were very or somewhat concerned their business would be the victim of a cyberattack in the next 12 months. It’s obvious there is a disconnect between the concern about cybersecurity threats and prioritizing it within their small businesses.
And there is reason for concern. When small companies experience a security breach, it’s difficult for them to recover. The US National Cybersecurity Alliance found that 60 percent of small companies are unable to stay in business six months after a cyberattack. Clearly, the risk is real.
What makes smaller businesses at higher risk for a cyberattack? We take a closer look.
Underestimating the risk. One significant reason SMBs are increasingly becoming victims of cyberattacks is because they don’t see themselves as a potential target. Many business owners hear stories in the news of large enterprise businesses with a wealth of customer data experiencing an attack and don’t see themselves as having the same level of valuable data for hackers. Even though your customer database may be in the hundreds or thousands instead of the millions, hackers would still consider that an impressive payload to either use themselves for exploitation or sell for a profit. Because hackers know SMBs have often underestimated the risk and not prioritized security, they are an ideal target for hackers.
Limited resources. As a small business, resources are often limited. As noted earlier, cybersecurity tends to fall down the list of priorities. While there is a cost to allocating budget and resources to cybersecurity, the cost isn’t as great as the ramifications of a data breach on an SMB’s reputation, data loss, and downtime. For many SMBs, outsourcing to an experienced managed service provider can be a cost-effective option.
Pathways to larger enterprises. Cybercriminals are aware of the poor security habits of SMBs, so they take advantage of this negligence to hack into the systems of larger enterprise companies. Larger corporations typically partner with smaller companies as vendors or contractors with shared network access. When hackers gain access to the IT systems of smaller businesses, they can then infiltrate larger organizations.
As hackers have learned about the vulnerabilities within smaller businesses, there are some common ways they use to target them.
Employees. It’s important to create a culture with your employees that demonstrates the value placed on cybersecurity. Consistent security education and awareness training is key for helping employees recognize a cyberattack. Additionally, employees should understand how to create and use strong passwords. And finally, companies need to recognize that employees can also pose a threat by attacking a company from the inside.
Technologies. With limited resources, it can be difficult sometimes for smaller businesses to stay on top of technology changes. Cybercriminals love to look for openings in a business’s technology infrastructure. Areas they may target include ineffective firewalls, unpatched software, and outdated systems access.
Social engineering. Hackers are banking on the fact that your employees will click on anything that comes their way. They use social engineering to trick people into giving them the information they need. For cybercriminals, phishing emails are an easy way to breach a company’s infrastructure. It only takes one person to click on a malicious email to start a catastrophic chain of events. Most of us have now heard about being watchful of suspicious email, but a malicious email can look completely legitimate these days. Employees often don’t think of social media as an attack mechanism, but they should. After all, it’s how we connect with people we know. Hackers then use this trust to access networks, steal information, and compromise sensitive data.
Best practices for small to medium-sized business cybersecurity focus on taking a proactive stance long before a threat becomes an attack on your system. By preparing systems and employees, a breach can be prevented or minimized.
Conduct a security assessment. A security assessment is an honest, transparent analysis of the strength of your network defenses. Vulnerabilities are identified which may include employee training, applications, and practices that put you at risk.
Invest in security education awareness and training. Empower your employees by making them a central component of your cybersecurity culture through awareness training and education. Once employees understand what the various types of threats may look like, they become your first line of defense in preventing an attack.
Understand when you need additional resources. Often the risks presented in a vulnerability assessment can be eye opening for a small business. But it doesn’t change the fact that resources remain limited. Partnering with a trusted managed service provider can add resources to your team for things like enhancing your firewall security, securing your network, backing up your data, and keeping anti-virus software up to date.
The reality is that if you are a small to medium-sized business today, you are under attack. It’s just a matter of whether the cybercriminals have gotten through yet. Proactive prevention is the key for cybersecurity threats to your small business. Whether you have 15 or 150 employees, you likely don’t have the resources needed to address today’s ever-changing cyber threats. Our team at Locknet can assess your current cybersecurity risk and identify the missing pieces in your current program. We are SOC 2 Type 2 audited, MSP Verify certified, and FFIEC examined. These third-party audits review our internal controls for security, confidentiality, processing, integrity, privacy, and the availability of customer data. We offer a comprehensive managed service solution for small to medium-sized businesses who understand the risks and value security as much as we do. Contact us today to get started with a security assessment of your organization.