Cybercrime is big business for bad people. There’s a global increase in the frequency of cyberattacks and a rise in the volume of stolen data. And yet, smaller companies tend to underestimate the value of their data, and many believe that their size makes them less of a target.
That’s a myth. Smaller businesses are especially vulnerable because they underspend on cybersecurity, don’t have dedicated IT departments, and have fewer resources than their larger counterparts.
Whether you’re a large organization or a startup: every business has to face these 5 security challenges and find economical, feasible ways to protect the organization.
Phishing and Malware
Phishing is fast becoming the number 1 threat to cybersecurity because it can be so hard to spot a phishing attempt. Even security experts can fall prey to phishing. A phishing email might appear to come from a trusted source, such as your bank or credit card company, but it’s an attempt by a hacker to trick people into clicking on a malicious link or downloading a malicious file.
Malware can give criminals access to sensitive information stored on your devices—like passwords and credit card numbers—and allow them to use that information for fraudulent purchases online or create fake accounts in your name.
You need a VPN service with a link scanner that can identify and block malicious links.
Ransomware is a type of malware that installs itself on your computer, encrypts all the files, and then demands payment from you to regain access. The only way to recover encrypted files is by using special decryption software.
Always keep your operating system updated with the newest security patches, and invest in a premium antivirus software solution. Advanced antivirus/anti-malware software will stay updated and offer real-time protection. Its job is to automatically detect and block any threats as soon as they come in.
Weak Password Hygiene
Startups and new businesses don’t have their own networks, so they use several different cloud-based services, e.g., data storage, CRM, and invoicing and accounting services. It’s not unusual to share access to these accounts between several staff members. It’s easy to slip into a sloppy password routine with weak passwords and reused passwords.
These services have sensitive content such as client data and financial information. To prevent a breach, enforce the use of strong passwords with a password manager. Password managers create and store strong passwords but can also be used to enforce Multi-Factor Authentication technologies.
Man in the Middle (MITM) Attacks
Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks are one of the most common forms of cybercrime, especially for people who work from home. These attacks involve hackers intercepting data sent between two parties and then manipulating it to their own ends. Hackers perform MITM attacks by inserting themselves into a communication channel as an intermediary between you and your intended recipient.
A VPN service is an indispensable cybersecurity tool. It creates an encrypted connection between your computer, tablet, or phone and the websites you visit. VPNs should be mandatory for all workers who use email and the internet.
It’s not always external hackers who cause security issues. A malicious insider with access to your system can do much damage without even leaving their desk.
Restrict access to sensitive data on a need-to-know basis. Train your employees about what constitutes acceptable use of company resources and how they should handle sensitive data. Set up specific policies for what employees are allowed and not allowed to do on your computers, and enforce the policies through regular audits of employee activity logs.
Takeaway: Cybercrime is here to stay
Businesses that create a culture of privacy protection and cybersecurity awareness to protect digital access (and the privacy of their employees) will have an edge against cybercrime. Better cybersecurity for smaller companies means less downtime, higher productivity, and long-term savings.