Cybercrime is an ever-present danger to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). It is often ignored until the company becomes the victim of a ransomware attack. Although high-profile cases such as Colonial Pipeline tend to grab the headlines, small organizations are equally vulnerable. It may be surprising to learn that 40 percent of companies with 50 or fewer employees have no cyber defense plan in place. Securing data protects the business as well as customers who expect their information will be safe.
While it’s commonly believed that hackers prefer to go after bigger fishes, criminals know that small businesses can be easy targets. Almost 20 percent of small businesses have been victims of cyberattacks. Here are six tips that can help protect your organization.
1. Develop a Cybersecurity Threat Prevention Plan
In a recent survey, about 60 percent of participants think it is unlikely that a cyberattack will victimize their establishments. However, being overly confident opens the door to criminal activity since hackers can easily collect data by simply being near unsecured locations. It’s best to be proactive and prepare a cybersecurity threat prevention plan.
- Identify the assets you need to protect
- List and prioritize assets, risks, and threats
- Set goals and develop a timeline for execution
- Integrate goals into business objectives
- Document policies and share with employees
- Test plan for potential weaknesses
2. Watch out for phishing emails
Be careful opening emails with attachments. The majority of ransomware attacks begin with official-looking emails that contain a file, invoice, or report. Opening the attachment spreads the ransomware throughout the device. The virus locks all files and leaves behind a note with instructions from the criminals. Train employees not to open attachments from unknown sources and questionable websites.
3. Train Employees to Secure Passwords
According to the VIPRE Small and Medium size businesses (SMB) Security Trend Survey, almost half of the CISO and IT professionals who responded believe keeping data secure is their biggest problem. Preventing data loss came in second at 42 percent, followed by increasing employee security awareness (41 percent). It also found that 70 percent of SMBs Employee Passwords were lost or stolen. It’s vital to every organization’s security to emphasize to employees the importance of protecting and securing passwords.
4. Avoid Data Breaches
Data breaches can often be prevented since some result from human error on the users’ end. The problem can begin with something as simple as sending an email to the wrong person that includes log-in information and other credentials. Companies should also evaluate how easy it is for employees to access personal and sensitive information. Businesses often rely on social media to reach out to customers. Be careful when posting information about the company online to avoid sharing anything helpful to hackers.
5. Use the cloud and security software to store data
Owners are aware that the security threat has gotten progressively worse during the past year. Many of them are putting measures in place to protect their assets and sensitive information. In its 2021 State of SMB Digital Transformation Report, ECI Software Solutions exams how businesses are using technology to combat cybercrime. It’s a timely topic of discussion since 80 percent of SMBs feel cybercrime is a greater threat than in previous years. The fact that 74 percent of those surveyed have updated their security system indicates how serious the threat has become.
“SMBs don’t have it easy today. On top of the challenges created by the pandemic, the high profile cyberattacks on airlines, Colonial Pipeline, and even NATO show that every organization is vulnerable,” said Trevor Gruenwald, CEO of ECI Software Solutions, “By working with technology partners like ECI, SMBs can further identify the risk and work together to make the investments that will help them focus on getting business done rather than looking over their shoulder for the next crisis.”