Small businesses are a prime target for cybercrime, as they tend to have more security vulnerabilities. According to research, 52% of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack. About 43% of those businesses go out of business within six months of an attack.
One of the most significant mistakes small business owners make is assuming that their business is too small to be a target. On the contrary, with little to non-existent technological defenses, and few resources to put into security, they’re the easiest targets.
You may also think that you don’t have much for the hackers to target. However, a breach can be quite lucrative for a hacker even with the little customer data you have. The worst part is that small businesses lose as much as $200,000 from a cyberattack, hence business closure.
For these reasons, it’s integral for small business owners to be aware of the most common security vulnerabilities. Read on as we discuss common security vulnerabilities that you should watch out for.
1. Lack of Security Protocols
Many small businesses don’t have any security measures in place, making them an easy target for hackers. Make sure you have security protocols such as firewalls, anti-virus software, and password protection measures. Furthermore, it’s integral to educate your employees on cybersecurity threats and how to avoid them.
Human error is the leading cause of 95% of data breaches, so it’s crucial that your employees are aware of the risks. Educating your employees on security protocols can be as simple as holding monthly meetings to go over best practices.
Ensure that your employees know not to open attachments from unknown senders. They should not click on links from unfamiliar websites, and never give out company passwords.
2. Unsecured Wi-Fi
One of the most overlooked network vulnerabilities small businesses face is unsecured Wi-Fi. When setting up your Wi-Fi network, it’s important to choose a strong password and enable security features such as WPA or WPA encryption.
Additionally, ensure you’re using a reputable router that’s up-to-date with security patches. Ensure remote employees understand the importance of having a secure Wi-Fi network. If you have guest Wi-Fi, be sure to set up a separate network for them with its own password.
This will help prevent unauthorized access to your company’s data. In addition, limit the type of data that’s accessible on your guest Wi-Fi network. For example, you may want to disable file sharing to prevent the transfer of sensitive data.
3. Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are a type of cyberattack that involves sending fraudulent emails. Their main aim is to steal sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers. These emails often look like they’re from a legitimate source, such as a bank or popular website, which makes them all the more convincing.
The thing is, phishing accounts for 90% of all the breaches businesses face, and that number is only increasing. You need to take these attacks very seriously and do everything you can to protect your business.
Here are a few things you can do to help prevent phishing attacks:
- Educate your employees about the dangers of phishing emails
- Use security software that includes anti-phishing features
- Be cautious about the emails you open and the links you click
- Don’t respond to emails that ask for personal or sensitive information
- Keep your computer security software up to date
If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a phishing attack, change your passwords immediately. Even better, contact your IT department or security team. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself, as you could end up doing more harm than good.
4. Ransomware Attacks
About 71% of ransomware attacks target small businesses with an average of $116,000 in ransom.
Ransomware attacks are a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files, making them inaccessible. The attacker then demands a ransom to decrypt the files, and these attacks can be devastating for small businesses.
The thing is, small business owners are likely to pay the ransom because they need to get the business up and running as soon as possible. However, this is not advisable, as there is no guarantee that the attacker will decrypt the files even after receiving payment.
5. Weak Passwords
Weak passwords are by far the biggest network vulnerabilities small businesses face. In fact, about 60% of all cyber-attacks are carried out using brute force methods, which involve trying to guess common passwords.
The thing is, most people tend to use the same password for multiple accounts. This makes it easier for hackers to gain access as soon as they hack into one account.
It’s imperative to use a different password for each account. Moreover, ensure that they’re at least eight characters long with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
6. Insider Threats
Insider threats are security risks that come from within an organization. You see, about 60% of data security breaches are carried out by insiders, which could be current or former employees.
They can be intentional, like when a disgruntled employee wants to harm the company. Or accidental, like when they accidentally download malware onto the network.
The thing is, most insider attacks are carried out for financial gain or revenge. These attacks can be prevented by ensuring that only the necessary people have access to sensitive data.
Also, go the extra mile and monitor employee activity. Employees should also feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity. Even better, there should be clear procedures in place for doing so.
7. Unpatched Security Vulnerabilities
Out-of-date software is one of the primary ways hackers gain access to small business networks. By taking advantage of known security flaws, attackers can easily bypass security measures and access sensitive data.
To protect your business, keep all software up-to-date. Install security patches as soon as they are released and ensure that all employees are using the latest version of their software.
Additionally, consider investing in workstation solutions that can automatically update your software.
The Most Common Security Vulnerabilities to Be Aware of
Small businesses are often the target of cyberattacks because they lack the resources to properly secure their networks.
By understanding common security vulnerabilities, you can take steps to protect your business from potential threats. Keep your software up-to-date, invest in security solutions, and educate your employees about cybersecurity threats to reduce the chances of a data security breach.
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