Less is Starting to Become More for Cybercriminals These Days.
Just because you run a small-sized business doesn’t mean that you are immune to cyber crime. In fact, cybercriminals are more sophisticated than ever, and they’re smart enough to understand that small businesses are more likely to ignore the possibility of being hacked because they are less likely to have adequate resources to make cybersecurity the priority it needs to be.
It’s a scenario and disturbingly rising trend that presents cybercriminals with a world of opportunities with which to inflict the kind of damage they love to inflict. Oftentimes, they do it because they more easily can. They also know that breaching numerous small businesses – with less effort – can add up to some serious bank.
Small business owners often believe that they are not yet financially prepared to create a solid infrastructure and protocol for network security. They short-change this critical area because they feel they can’t afford it and/or that they have higher priorities for how they spend their money. Yet what they actually can’t afford are the risks.
A Verizon 2021 Data Breach and Investigations Report indicated that 46% of cyber breaches occurred in businesses with less than a thousand employees. Malicious emails, phishing, social engineering and the like are fairly common tactics cybercriminals use when attacking smaller businesses. What’s even more concerning is that it stands to reason that small businesses that have fallen prey to cybercriminals and security breaches are less likely to recover than larger organizations and may go out of business altogether if they cannot sustain the resulting losses.
According to a cnbc.com article from December, 2022, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center “…received 847,376 complaints regarding cyberattacks and malicious cyber activity…” in 2021 representing “…nearly $7 billion in losses, the majority of which targeted small businesses.” And, “The losses from hacking incidents were up 65% year over year.” The trend is alarming, and many small businesses do not comprehend the magnitude of potential risk. They also may not realize even basic steps they can take to mitigate their risks and may overinflate the expected costs.
Are You Scared Yet? Well Then, Here Are Some Best Practice Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses That are Really Huge:
- Make it a requirement that employees change their passwords frequently and use ones that cannot be guessed (we know, we know…but there are good password management tools that make it less painful). Think of it as adopting good password hygiene practices.
- Adding two-factor authentication for logins is even better.
- Update your technology, devices and software on a regular basis in order to minimize vulnerabilities and patch the holes, so to cyberspeak.
- Back up, back up, back up…and then back up again offline.
- Encrypt your data using trusted encryption software.
- Use a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, that is highly reputable yet cost-effective if you don’t have an internal network or have employees working remotely, something that has become ubiquitous since the beginning of the pandemic.
- Avoid using public wifi and any wifi that is not secure.
- Install antivirus software to protect your sensitive data and network against malware (malicious software) and ransomware (being held hostage). These are nasty terms and nasty actors coining and exploiting them!
- Add firewalls in order to protect your hardware.
- Make sure that ALL internal and external human resources are being uber vigilant, are adhering to a “zero trust” mentality with regard to cybersecurity, and are thoroughly trained in all aspects of your cybersecurity protocols and tactics.
- Don’t panic; help is on the way.
We’ve Saved the Best Tip for Last: Make It Easier on Yourselves and Outsource Your Cybersecurity Practices to an Awesome Managed Cybersecurity Provider Like ITque.
At ITque, we pride ourselves in being a leading Silicon Valley-based managed services provider, with an emphasis on managed cybersecurity services and solutions. Our sweet spot is businesses with 100-500 employees, because we have a proven track record of adding value and boutique-quality expertise to smaller businesses without breaking the bank. We develop customized solutions for airtight cybersecurity readiness and compliance so that our clients can continue to operate and grow their businesses with less exposure to cybercriminals and breaches, less risk, and more confidence.