SMBs Need Cyber Protections, Just Like Big Companies
In the current business environment, big companies maintain large digital databases that contain volumes of customer information. Cyber attackers would love to get their hands on that data. But, thankfully, large companies have the resources to erect defensive solutions against cyber attackers. Obviously, these solutions aren’t foolproof. But they are preferable to having no strategy at all.
Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) might not hold the same volume of information, but the information they store is still appealing to cyber crooks. This is problematic because SMBs rarely utilize the extensive cyber defense mechanisms that big companies employ. It’s not that SMBs don’t care. But rather that they lack the budget and resources to sure up their defenses.
The key takeaway here is that information in an SMB’s database is still attractive to hackers. And that allure is enhanced by the weaker protections that SMBs are able to sustain. Fortunately, SMBs can protect their networks and databases with a number of lower-cost mechanisms and strategies:
Technology solutions are a basic perimeter defense against the lowest levels of cyberattacks. Firewalls protect devices inside of your organization from digital eavesdroppers. Virtual private networks (VPNs) provide a similar service for employees working outside the office.
Antivirus and anti-malware software works to protect your organization from computer bugs and Trojan programs. These defensive technologies automatically detect and quarantine malicious programs before they can cripple your network. Remember to implement updates and patches that are released to guard against newly-discovered weaknesses and holes in network systems.
Strong Password Protection
Weak passwords are a gold mine for cyber attackers. If a hacker can guess or steal a password to get into an SMB’s information systems network, that hacker can then pilfer all the information in your network. The cybercriminal may even slowly bleed information from your device without you even knowing it! Password vaults can help employees by requiring them to remember only one password. The vault then uses recommendations to create different, stronger passwords for all other login sequences.
Cyber Risk Insurance
Many SMBs mistakenly assume that their general liability insurance policies will protect them against losses, liabilities, and legal fees that incurs following a cyberattack. In virtually every case, however, a comprehensive general liability policy will not cover a cyberattack. Instead, small businesses will need to invest in cyber risks insurance. Depending on the policy, coverage could extend to business downtime, reputational damage, network repair, investigation, legal fees, and more.
Employees need to understand the types of cyber threats that the SMB faces every day. This includes phishing emails, ransomware attacks, and social engineering scams. For instance, recognizing the difference between a genuine and a fraudulent email message can prevent major problems for your business. Cybersecurity education is an easy fix to a difficult problem. Hackers aren’t just targeting technologies for potential security gaps. They are also testing people! Raising the level of risk awareness in your organization will be a boon for your company. There is really no excuse for skipping this suggestion. Talk to your staff abut cyber risks, as soon and as often as possible.
Update Application Software and Operating Systems
Computers that run older versions of operating systems are notoriously susceptible to cyberattacks. That’s because hackers are well aware of how to exploit holes in those systems. Software developers routinely release patches to cover those holes, but those patches are useless if they are not installed. SMBs should periodically check their software systems to verify that they are up to date and that all new releases of those systems have been installed. If you have an employee who hats to respond to update prompts, advise him or her to turn on automatic updates.
As you can see, small businesses need cyber protections just like big companies. But since they don’t have the same resources, it is up to small business leaders to make do.