If someone were to ask you who is affected by security breaches the most, chances are your first thought would be of large organizations. Perhaps companies like Yahoo or Facebook come to mind – businesses that are huge and hold untold amounts of confidential data. While stories of multinational breaches often get the most press, in many cases it’s the small-medium businesses (SMBs) that are most at risk. In fact, one in three breaches involves SMBs. A study by Visa estimates that roughly 95% of credit-card data breaches discovered by them are from its smallest business customers. But why is this the case?
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Why are SMBs at risk?
Contrary to Enterprise security which deposits substantial investment in cybersecurity specialists and programming, SMB security, or lack thereof, poses a risk to confidential data. SMBs are attractive targets for cybercriminals as they are often unaware of the vulnerabilities they possess or the steps needed to protect themselves. The lack of resources for investing in security services makes SMBs ideal for exploitation. Nonetheless, being a small to medium business does not mean you cannot arm both yourself and your employees with the tools needed for protection. There are several SMB security best practices that can easily be implemented in your company to improve online security. This article explains five simple ways to do so. To learn how to improve your SMBs’ online security, read on.
Understand the Risks
Knowing the threats that impact your industry can help you get ahead of the game in protecting yourself. Cybercrime has increased by 600% since the beginning of 2020 with 43% attacking small and medium businesses. The most common cyber attacks SMBs face are ransomware, social engineering, and credential stuffing. Subsequent data breaches, on average, cost SMBs $108,000 per breach. For small businesses that cannot afford such a substantial loss of financial, legal, and reputational damage, these losses can result in permanently closing doors. By understanding the risks, SMBs can equip themselves with the knowledge, tools, and practices necessary to improve online privacy and security.
Perform Due Diligence
Take the time to ensure that your virus scans and other security protections are not only in place but also up to date. By updating all security protections, SMBs can minimize the potential risks to their online security to work confidently and securely. Following the three main principles of due diligence, small and medium businesses should identify and assess potential threats, prevent and mitigate the effects, and take accountability for the results. For example, performing an annual security audit, setting up a proper framework, like ISO 27001, and researching the security infrastructure of your SMB are all due diligence to improve online security.
Businesses that take a proactive approach to security have a greater chance of preventing loss and decreased costs associated with breaches. Why? If you spill less, the clean-up is easier.
Create a Security Policy
Creating a security policy helps you lay out your expectations for employees, including proper use of email, work devices and creating secure passwords. Security policies should address standards, baselines and procedures for all employees. For example, ensuring employees with company computers have updated anti-virus software, such as Norton, downloaded onto their devices to prevent viruses, attacks and/or vulnerabilities. As well, if your SMB is operating from a remote work environment, verify that employees are within the allocated region- if an employee decided to work from Hawaii without notice and your company is based in Canada, this could cause serious security violations.
A proper security policy outlines what threats exist to an SMB, how to handle situations as they occur, and how to proactively protect against them. Providing clear regulations helps everyone play by the rules.
Training your Employees
Work with your employees to ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to work confidently and securely. A report by McAfee suggested that 43% of data loss comes from people within the organization, primarily due to accidental incidents. Employees should be provided with basic cybersecurity training to ensure they know how to prevent falling victim to social engineering attacks, such as phishing attempts, credential stuffing, or other human-element security threats. In addition, once a security policy has been established, employees should be expected to follow all best practices within the policy.
Training your employees goes beyond ensuring they have the knowledge to work securely, ensuring they have the skills and tools to do so is equally as important. 63% of SMB attacks were a result of stolen, weak, or default passwords set by employees. To improve online privacy and security, employees should create strong passwords- please, do not include your street name, birth date or family pet. In addition, two-factor authentication should be enrolled to secure login credentials; 2FA requires all employees to receive a unique code on a secondary device to be entered when logging in. Hackers may be able to penetrate passwords, however, without access to your secondary device or code, it is useless to them.
Hire Expert Help
Oftentimes, SMB owners are left responsible for managing the online security of their business – even when they do not have formal training. As a result, their online confidential information is susceptible to cyberattacks and breaches. Whether it’s a contractor or a cloud computing provider, such as TitanFile, get the help you need and protect your assets by hiring an expert.
TitanFile is an award-winning file-sharing service created with security and data privacy as a priority. SMBs use TitanFile to send and receive confidential information with clients with ease. The platform is SOC 27001 certified and compliant with HIPAA, PIPEDA, and GDPR data privacy regulations to ensure data is protected at the highest level of security. When it comes to protecting the online security of your SMB, it’s the easiest and most secure solution.
Ensuring your SMB has solid security practices protects against the risk of cyberattacks. Considering that SMBs are the most common victims of attacks, implementing five simple solutions into your company practices is the greatest preventative measure one could take. It’s time to dive in and start protecting your business.