Small Business Cyber Security and Data Breach Risks

As a small business, you may think that you’re too small to worry about cyber security and data breaches. What kind of hacker is going to go out of their way to attack a small business? Unfortunately, the truth is that small businesses are more likely to be the victim of data breaches and theft than larger companies.

As a small business, you may think that you’re too small to worry about cyber security and data breaches. What kind of hacker is going to go out of their way to attack a small business? Unfortunately, the truth is that small businesses are more likely to be the victim of data breaches and theft than larger companies.

Why are small businesses targets?

Small businesses make very appealing targets to hackers. Small businesses have limited resources to direct to cyber security, and many small businesses think that because they are small they do not need to worry about it. As a result, they are extremely soft targets for hackers who can get in easily.

Most cyber security breaches are automated systems crawling the internet looking for targets with systems that can be exploited or mass-emailing systems sending out hundreds of millions of emails with dangerous links.

What easy steps can businesses take?

Addressing the low hanging fruit of cyber security will go a long way to ensuring that your business will not be the victim of ransomware or losses of sensitive company or client data. A few steps that can be taken include:

Strong Passwords

Strong passwords that are unique is a cyber security best practice. Using the same password for every account means that if hackers get access to one password, they have access to everything. While it can be difficult to remember unique passwords for every system you use, there are great password vaults available like Keepass.

In addition to ensuring you are using strong passwords, you must have custom passwords for everything. Using default passwords is a critical vulnerability. Do you know what your router password is? Have you changed it? Chances are strong your router login is admin/admin.

Up To Date Software

Keeping your software up to date is critical. There are three reasons that software gets updated.

  • To close security vulnerabilities
  • To fix bugs
  • To add new features

Fixing security vulnerabilities is one of the primary reasons that software updates get rolled out. These companies will find a hole–or be notified of one–through which a hacker can infiltrate or otherwise compromise the system, and they will fix it and roll out an update. Without installing the update, your system will be vulnerable to attack.

This is an especially big problem for public-facing systems like websites. What version of your website software are you running? Is it up to date? What about your plugins? These must be kept up to date.

Avoid Sketchy Links

The easiest way for hackers to get into a system is to be invited. People are the weakest link in every security system. The Russian hack of the DNC in 2016 happened as a result of a phishing scheme. In other words, John Podesta clicked on a link in a sketchy email that compromised his system.

Do not click on links or download attachments unless you’re absolutely certain of the source. Phishing emails are getting more and more advanced, so be vigilant. Additionally, if someone you know has their email compromised, hackers will send emails from their email trying to get you to click on a link. Don’t.

While these are strong basic steps that you can take to protect yourself and your business from security breaches, there is much more that should be done to further fortify your cyber security. To find out more about how you can further fortify your business against cyber threats, contact us for a free consult.

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