The most common mistake a small business makes regarding cybersecurity is the assumption that their business will not be targeted. Unfortunately, hackers do not discriminate based on size. Small businesses often have vulnerabilities in their systems that can lead to billions in losses. Cybersecurity should be a top priority for all businesses.
Many Potential Threats Exist
A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy requires more than the basic security package. Hackers’ techniques continue to evolve, and potential threats are surfacing from virtually every angle. The following is a list of the most common hacking methods:
- APT (advanced persistent threats) – long-term targeted attacks that attempt to access networks in multiple phases to avoid detection
- DDoS (distributed denial of service) – hackers intentionally overload a system to force a network shutdown
- Insider threats – the misuse of network credentials by an administrator or previous employee, to access confidential information
- Malware (malicious software) – any type of program that is introduced to your system to damage or gain unauthorized access
- Password attacks – a variety of means by which hackers can attempt to crack your passwords, including mass theft, Wi-Fi monitoring, and brute force.
- Phishing – an attempt to gain confidential information via what appears to be a legitimate website or email source
- Ransomware – akin to malware, but hackers will demand ransom in return for the release of confidential information or to unlock a system
Although you cannot predict what breach your small business is most likely to experience, the best strategy is to be prepared for any attempts to gain access to your system.
Strategy Depends on the Nature of Business
Your cybersecurity strategy will also reflect the nature of your business, and defining the best security solution will involve an understanding of the risks specific to your organization. How much does your business rely on e-commerce? Do you have sensitive customer data stored on cloud servers or laptops? Do your employees rely on Wi-Fi or personal networks to conduct business matters? Knowledge of these factors, among others, will help give you a better understanding of which resources should be delegated to cybersecurity. Establishing the right framework will help minimize the amount of risk to which your business is exposed.
Implement Best IT Practices
Applying best practices related to cybersecurity is an important tactic that every small business should employ. Rather than rely on certain security recommendations, establish formal security policies to ensure that every department and all personnel are in compliance. This will help reduce insider threats as well as password attacks. Additionally, keep all your software current, including security patches and updates. Failure to do so could create a gap in your security wall could make it easy for a hacker to install malware. Most importantly, educate your employees on cybersecurity strategies and prevention, which will reduce the number of successful attacks.
Do not fall victim to the misconception that small businesses are not a target for hackers. A company with 50 employees is not going to make headlines if their business is attacked due to cybersecurity weaknesses, but it is a common occurrence nonetheless. It is important to recognize that your current security systems may have gaps, and there should be frequent audits of your IT infrastructure to ensure consistent functionality. Make cybersecurity one of your top priorities, regardless of the size of your business. Don’t be the next target.
The ITeam understands the cybersecurity issues facing Canada. We are committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.