4 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

The following is a guest post from Chelsea Lamb of Businesspop.net

Many SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) severely underestimate the gravity of cybersecurity risks. Research shows that most SMB leaders, around 66%, do not think they will become a victim of a cyberattack. But this misconception can be incredibly dangerous. Around 67% of businesses face a cyberattack in a given year! Cybersecurity should be one of your top priorities, especially considering the fact that a single attack can mean the end of your business.

SMBs must prepare for cyberattacks in the same way that large enterprises do. Establish a recovery plan, implement cybersecurity policies for your employees, and work with reliable technology companies when it comes to sensitive projects like migrating to the cloud or deploying wireless infrastructure.

Raleigh Business Broker invites you to explore some of the most common cybersecurity mistakes made by small businesses, as well as some steps you can take to avoid them.

Lacking a Recovery Plan

Good cybersecurity preparedness means planning for the worst. How would your business recover from a cyberattack? Attacks can take many forms, from computer viruses that delete essential files to spyware attacks that transmit sensitive data to cybercriminals. Make a plan to deal with different types of attacks, addressing all issues an attack might create.

Many cyberattacks result in data loss. Establish an effective data recovery plan now so your business can get back up and running ASAP after an attack. Commvault recommends enhancing your IT security and recovery plan by identifying the critical systems and data you need to recover first, defining Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO), and determining who will be involved in these recovery efforts.

Relying Solely on Free Antivirus Programs

Free antivirus software can give you a false sense of security. Although any antivirus software is better than nothing, free programs tend to be outdated and vulnerable to today’s increasingly sophisticated threats. These free programs might be enough for individuals, but businesses carry a much larger volume of valuable data and are more vulnerable to complex threats. Free programs typically are not designed to withstand the advanced attacks targeting businesses.

Also, when using antivirus software, make sure you stay on top of updates. When new viruses and exploits arise, these updates are crucial in preventing them from attacking your system. If necessary, create an online calendar and set a schedule; this way, everyone on your team can ensure that these important updates have been downloaded and installed.

Building a Vulnerable Website

Your business website is a critical point of entry into your business. According to eWeek, over 56% of CMS-based websites—such as those made with WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace—are out of date and vulnerable to cyberattacks. Keeping your CMS installation up to date is vital to fending off threats.

Here are some other effective ways to improve your website security:

  • Use secure socket layer (SSL) protection. SSL certificates establish an encrypted connection between your website and its users to prevent hackers from intercepting sensitive data.
  • Specify parameters when creating website forms in SQL to prevent hackers from using your forms to access data.
  • Hire professionals who can assess your website for vulnerabilities and improve your protection.

Not Creating Remote Work Security Policies

Remote work poses many new cybersecurity threats to businesses. Working from home—or the library, coffee shop, or local co-working space—increases the vulnerability of your sensitive business information. For example, if an employee leaves their laptop unattended in public, a cybercriminal could tamper with or steal the device. Hackers can also use unsecured public Wi-Fi to distribute malware or steal sensitive information from connected devices.

Create a thorough remote work security policy so your employees know how to best protect themselves and your company when working from home. Include policies on the creation and use of strong passwords, device controls, and internet usage. Regularly educate your employees about cybersecurity best practices and empower them to protect your business.

Investing in cybersecurity upgrades is one of the best things you can do to ensure the longevity of your business. Even if you get lucky and never experience a cyberattack on your business, implementing security procedures will lend some valuable peace of mind. Chances are, however, that prioritizing cybersecurity today will save you a lot of money down the line.

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