If you assume that your small business will glide peacefully under the radar of the hacker community, you’re not alone. And unfortunately, you’re setting yourself up for nothing less than a catastrophe.
The numbers speak volumes:
According to Keeper Security’s 2019 SMB Cyberthreat Study, nearly 70% of senior decision-makers at small businesses believed they were unlikely to be targeted by cybercriminals.
But they’re wrong. CNBC found that hackers target small businesses at least 43% of the time, yet only 14% of companies were prepared to defend themselves.
And what happens when cyber criminals attack unprepared small businesses? More than half of the time, it’s the worst possible outcome.
According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of companies go out of business within six months after falling victim to a data breach.
And that’s because the costs of such a breach are often overwhelming.
If you own a small business, you must take the ever-growing cyber threat seriously.
The Top 5 Reasons Hackers Would Target Your Small Business
1. Lack of Cybersecurity Systems
This might seem obvious, but that’s not always true with small companies. Business dealings were already increasingly taking place online when the pandemic hit. Transactions, communications, and data storage have taken an even more drastic shift into the cyber realm, and hackers have taken notice.
It’s time for businesses to react accordingly. At the very least, every small business should invest in a quality cybersecurity system. Without one, you’re begging someone to steal and hold your data behind a stiff ransom request.
You must protect yourself, whether cloud-based security, anti-virus software, or firewall protection.
2. Untrained Employees
This is perhaps the most vulnerable and overlooked area for businesses. Some of the biggest hacks we’ve ever seen were not the result of expert hackers infiltrating complex security systems. The cybercriminals simply tricked employees into handing over their sensitive information.
That’s how one teenager breached the Twitter accounts of celebrities like Elon Musk and Barack Obama.
You should train all employees to spot social engineering. While there are often tell-tale signs of a phishing attempt, many people aren’t prepared to spot them. A little training can go a long way in keeping your business safe.
3. Unsecured Accounts
We all hate forgetting our passwords. You must reset it, check your email, click a link, and remember the new one. That’s why so many people create familiar passwords containing something like their address, pet, or family member.
This tactic might help you remember your passcode but also makes it far easier for hackers to guess it. Whether it’s a bank account or an employee’s work email, every account related to your business should contain a long, varied password.
The difference in the time it takes to hack a 10-character password vs. a 12-character password is centuries.
Never use the same password; don’t use personal information or predictable patterns.
But passwords shouldn’t be your only line of defense for sensitive accounts. Always enable two-factor authentication when applicable. That way, even if your password is cracked, hackers still have another, much more difficult wall to breach.
4. Insufficient Upkeep
Let’s say you install the latest and greatest cybersecurity system and train your employees to spot phishing attempts. You should be golden, right?
Hackers constantly discover new vulnerabilities, so cybersecurity companies are updating their software.
You must be diligent in updating these systems. Ideally, you would hire a cybersecurity expert to help keep your company safe. Knowing that’s not always a realistic option, be sure to take due diligence in reminding your employees about the dangers of cyber theft.
Here’s a short video of tips from an NSA hacker:
5. Lack of an Action Plan
While cyber thieves might not know whether or not you have an action plan in the event of getting hacked, they’ll find out soon enough. These are just a few of the important questions you should ask yourself well before you get hacked:
- If a hacker steals your data and holds it for ransom, will you pay? (We strongly recommend against it.)
- How will you respond to customers if their information is stolen?
- How will you even know you’re being hacked?
- Will you shut down your entire network if you discover a breach?
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