Some of the biggest dangers to businesses occur online. Cyberattacks are becoming more common even for those who don’t have major online presences. If you want to make sure you are protected against these threats, you need to know the ways in which your business may be at risk. Below are just three of the most common issues with which small businesses must deal.
Lack Of Proper Precautions
You run a small business. The last thing on your mind is a cyber-attack, if only because you don’t think you are a target. It is increasingly common for small and mid-sized businesses to be the targets of these attacks, though, and largely because of that attitude. If you want to stay safe in the face of online criminals, you’ll need to start taking basic precautions.
You need to follow the same best practices followed by larger businesses. Putting a robust firewall in place around your network is a good place to start. You also need to start encrypting all of your customer and operational data. Make it harder for criminals to get what they want and there’s a good chance they’ll leave you alone. While there are certainly attacks that can get around your security, the majority of attacks rely on your unwillingness to prepare appropriately. Always make sure that your foundations are solid when it comes to basic cybersecurity.
Lack Of Training
As a business owner, you already know that training is important. It’s amazing, then, that so many business owners fail to train their rank and file employees to recognize the dangers that come from cyber-attacks. While they may make sure that their IT professionals understand everything that’s going on with the system, it’s those on the front lines that tend to be at most risk. Every employee plays an important role in keeping the company safe.
Always make sure your employees understand the basics of cybersecurity. They should know how to make good passwords, how to identify phishing attempts, and what to do when they encounter a potential problem. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the training, you might want to bring in professionals with experience battling cyber crimes to help you create a better program. If your employees understand how to keep your business safe, you’ll have a solid line of defense against those who would do your business harm.
In many cases, it’s not what you do but the software you use that can be dangerous for your business. While you might not be directly targeted by someone with designs on ruining your finances, you might be using programs that are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attack. This type of issue is incredibly common because hackers only need to find the vulnerability once—from there, they can target anyone who uses a particular software program.
How do you protect yourself from this type of attack? Generally, by keeping all of your software up to date. If you tend to ignore all the updates for your systems, what you’re really doing is leaving those systems vulnerable. Companies patch software exploits on a fairly regular basis, but hackers rely on the reticence of consumers to update. If you don’t want to fall prey to a cyber-attack, you’ll need to continually update your software.
Cyber-attacks can happen to any business. While the businesses that are at the highest level of risk generally ignore their vulnerabilities, even those who do everything right can find themselves dealing with these criminals. Always prepare yourself as best as you can for these attacks, as the only way to survive a cyberattack is to be prepared ahead of time.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. Kara is the youngest of four. See her other articles here