What Small Businesses Should Know About Cybersecurity

Written By Alla Levin
December 15, 2020
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What Small Businesses Should Know About Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is critical for any business that aims to grow in the digital era. The digital era has made it almost compulsory for businesses to have an online presence to succeed. Although it comes with its perks, such as a wider reach and a bigger customer base, it comes with the risk of cyberattacks that threaten your company’s growth.

With this in mind, every business must protect itself against cybercrime by taking a proactive approach. The best way to do this is to learn more about cybersecurity to help you make informed decisions. Here are some of the things you should know about cybersecurity as a startup.

Small Businesses Cybersecurity: Small Businesses Are the Most Vulnerable

As an entrepreneur, the first step to protecting your small business is acknowledging that cyberattacks can happen to any business regardless of size. Both large companies and small businesses are equally at risk of cyberattacks. However, small businesses are the most vulnerable as they lack the resources to adequately invest in cybersecurity and the ability to mitigate the effects of cyberattacks.

It would help if you prioritized your small business’s cybersecurity as it plays a role in its success and growth. According to recent statistics, 60% of small businesses that faced cyberattacks go out of business for 6 months. To keep your business thriving, you should take advantage of the easily available cybersecurity best practices and focus on the human factor to help protect your startup.

Types of Cybersecurity ThreatsTypes of Cybersecurity Threats

To effectively protect your startup, you need to understand what you are up against. AS such, you need to know the various types of threats that your small business faces. Below are common types of cyber threats you should be aware of.

  1. Malware and Ransomware

Malware is malicious software that attackers send to company systems with the intent of causing damage such as stealing money and business data. Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to businesses currently. It is a type of malicious software that encrypts files on compromised devices such as computers and mobile devices.

Once ransomware attacks your device, you lose the ability to view your files unless you have a decryption key from the attackers. Cybercriminals usually demand that you pay a ransom so you can access your encrypted files. Note that paying the ransom does not guarantee access to the files. Ransomware and malware not only cost your business money but also disrupts your business operations and may even stop them indefinitely.

  1. Data Breaches

Data breaches happen when attackers try to access your business data by accessing your database. Cybercriminals then sell your personal and business data to facilitate fraud and identity theft. If your business has an eCommerce website or a website with customer information, it targets such attacks.

Most data breaches occur due to phishing, where attackers use hidden tactics to gain access and steal your company’s data. Usually, phishing targets the curious nature of humans. Attackers send malicious email attachments, links, and ads on websites so that you can click on them and compromise your cybersecurity.

  1. DDOS Attacks

As the name suggests, distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks make your network unavailable to the users. Cybercriminals do this by overwhelming your company servers, website, or network with a huge amount of traffic to crash them. The result is downtime and disruption of businesses that will cost your business a huge amount of money in terms of profits.

Startups with eCommerce websites, online customer support, or CRM are prone to DDOS attacks. Although they may not directly target your small business, attacks on your infrastructure providers can affect your small business.

Loopholes that Enable CyberattacksLoopholes that Enable Cyberattacks

As an entrepreneur, you need to seal all the loopholes that make your business vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. By doing this, you protect your startup from attacks that could result in losses and stunt your business growth.

Note that humans are the weakest links when it comes to exposing your startup to cyberattacks. According to research, 90% of IT security breaches occur as a result of human lapses. Human error includes when your employees click on malicious links that introduce malware to your company’s system.

Besides clicking on links, your staff can introduce viruses and malware to your system by connecting infected devices like storage devices and mobile phones into your computers and network.  Other than human error, cybersecurity loopholes include weak passwords and using unsecured networks that allow cybercriminals to gain access to your online activities.

Measures to Prevent Cybersecurity Attacks

Human error is the major cause of cyberattack exposure; employee education and sensitization on cybersecurity best practices are necessary. Also, consider coming up with cybersecurity policies that govern the use of your company’s IT resources.

Other ways to prevent cyberattacks include using strong updated passwords and utilizing security software such as VPNs, antivirus, firewalls, and antispyware. Finally, controlling access to your startup’s network and also coming up with non-disclosure agreements will help protect your business from unscrupulous leakage of information and data by individuals who have access to them.

Small Businesses Cybersecurity: Invest in Cyber Security-as-a-Service (CSaaS)Small Businesses Cybersecurity

As a startup, you may not have the resources to hire an in-house cybersecurity team for your IT security. Investing in cyber security-as-a-service is an effective and inexpensive way to protect your business from cyber threats without inflating your company’s expenses.

Cybersecurity-as-a-service gives you access to cybersecurity specialists who provide a full range of security services, so you don’t have to manage it in-house and spend money on applications and appliances. Some of your options include subscribing to scalable security services like web firewalls and DDOS mitigation to protect your online infrastructure.

As an entrepreneur, the above information will help you protect your small business from cyberattacks and increase your chances of success. By being proactive about your startup’s cybersecurity, you save on time, effort, and money, which allows you to focus on your business’s growth.

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