For a small business, the topic of cybersecurity can seem stressful and overwhelming. After going through a day of routine operations, countless priorities, and sales, some even consider it the least important thing. However, cybersecurity can impact your business bottom line.
Cyber-attacks such as hacking or phishing emails not only cost your sensitive data but also impact your finances and business reputation. Despite that, most businesses skimp on their cybersecurity budgets, trimming costs rather than investing in their security assets. Some of them are even unaware of the threat that cybersecurity issues pose.
Why is cybersecurity still so undervalued and underused, what are the most common cybersecurity mistakes many businesses are making?
Here are the answers…
Thinking It Won’t Happen to You:
First of all, you need to change your approach towards Cybersecurity. If you think that your business is too small to be attacked by cybercriminals, you need to think again. According to one report, over 40% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Even worse over 60% of victims go out of businesses within six months of attacks.
Cyber breaches against small businesses have increased by 400% over the past few years.
Why small businesses are on the radar of cybercriminals?
The reason is pretty simple — small businesses lack sophisticated cyber tools and often use outdated tools.
Therefore, regardless of the size of your business, make sure to have the right strategy and tools in place to strengthen your cybersecurity.
Ignoring the Insider Threat:
While outside threat actors are more likely to attack the network, another, closer risk that is quite real: the internal user. They are called insider threats.
Insider threats are threats posed by your current or former employees, partners, and contractors. These individuals can misuse access to networks and infrastructure to intentionally or innocently disclose, delete and modify sensitive data.
Wicked insider threats can be malicious employees and contractors who leak confidential data or misuse their access for personal gain or inflict damage out retaliation.
Not all insider threats are malicious. Even innocent employees who pose threats out of their negligence can be termed as insider threats. For example, they might be opening phishing emails or sharing data on insecure devices and flash sticks. Many of them don’t realize their mistakes until it is too late.
Therefore, you can’t afford to ignore this cybersecurity risk.
To mitigate the risk of insider threat, make sure to closely monitor and manage all the accounts.
Besides, change the credentials and security codes every time an employee leaves your company. Conduct penetration testing at least yearly to help identify security issues. Cybersecurity training is also important to make your employees aware of the threats.
Cybersecurity is Just an IT Issue:
Do you think that cybersecurity is an IT issue?
Although installing antivirus and protecting network might seem the job of your IT department, a data incident can lead to the loss of important information, wrecked financial conditions, and shattered business reputation.
Everyone in the organization, from leadership to the front office employees, has a responsibility to protect the company’s data.
The cybersecurity risks should be explained to the highest levels of the decision-making body so that they can implement the right strategies accordingly.
While business leaders aren’t required to go through technical details, they should have enough threat awareness to be able to frame adequate cyber-response plans.
Through simulations, training and awareness, teach the whole organization — from top to the bottom — about the right cybersecurity practices.
Not Updating Your Network:
Networks are too vast and there are many loopholes to be leveraged by the threat actors. Not understanding your network and keeping your software updated make you highly prone to the data incident.
Your IT team is required to incorporate strong protocols to ensure all software is updated timely.
You should know where your sensitive data is, how vast your network is, where the outlets are and how the network is categorized. A lack of understanding of the basic network principles and basic network management can risk your company.
Relying Only on Anti-Virus:
Relying only on antivirus was the best solution in the 90s. But it is not a feasible solution for today’s threat landscapes. Today’s security concerns are so advanced that they can easily outwit your basic antivirus. In other words, antivirus tools alone are not enough to prevent advanced and persistent attacks.
For example, a simple antivirus can detect run-of-the-mill malware but is no match for sophisticated threats being equipped with clever intrusion methods.
Early on, antivirus companies have managed to stay updated with the development of new cybersecurity risks. But over the past some years, the boom in malware has made this nearly challenging. Data incident can still take place even if antivirus tools detect instantly and stop every new malware. The recent attack can do more damage beyond installing malware to spread spam and malicious website links that are usually conducted from the browser.
Organizations need to deploy solutions that can identify adversary objectives and the impact of the attack, even if there are no known signs.
Not Having a Proactive Approach:
Let’s admit it.
Most of us only get serious about cybersecurity when a threat is detected. For having efficient and robust cybersecurity, make sure to do it proactively. You need to put measures in place long before you encounter a data breach or opportunistic attack. Otherwise, it could be late if you wait unless you know for sure your system is in danger.
Most companies get serious only after having a data breach, prompting them to invest in cybersecurity solutions to prevent similar threats in the future. But if they had done this in the first place, they could have escaped that attack and saved data and money.
Therefore, it is better to create a cybersecurity routine even when things are protected.
The businesses are being operated amidst the ever-increasing new cybersecurity challenges. The types of risks being faced by each industry are diverse and evolving, as is the technology that must be protected.
There is no right time to invest the time, money, and training to strengthen your cybersecurity. After all, those risks are inevitable and it might be too late by the time you detect the attack.
Cybersecurity calls for a holistic organizational approach. From the CEOs to each rank employee, a solid effort should be maintained to create and implement a plan to address cyber risks from all parts of the organization.
Robust cybersecurity not only protects your data but also makes you a credible business in the eyes of clients, investors, and prospective partners.
You can start from the basics such as password protection, firewalls, two-factor authentication, and encryption. It is also important to consider your cybersecurity needs and how they should be incorporated across your business.
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