3 Reasons Why Cybersecurity Threats Target Small Businesses

A few months ago, we shared the four common cybersecurity attacks recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. While many different companies suffered at the hands of cybercriminals, additional studies found that 43% of cyber-attacks were aimed at small and growing businesses of which less than 20% had the means to defend themselves. In addition to causing major financial losses, cybersecurity attacks are also responsible for:

  • Impacts on Brand Identity
  • Prolonged Downtime
  • Increasing Legal Fees and Expenses

Typically, six out of ten small businesses close within six months after a cyber-attack due to heavy losses. With hundreds of attacks happening every day, it is imperative small-and-medium-sized businesses understand attacks to prevent drastic consequences. Despite varying motives, most cybercriminals target small businesses due to the following factors:

  1. Less Likely to Draw Attention from Law Enforcement – Although major corporations often hit our newsletter after experiencing a data breach, most attacks focus on smaller companies that may not have the bandwidth or money to dispute and seek restitution. The US Department of Justice estimates that as much as 85% of attacks go by unreported, suggesting many businesses may not even be aware an attack has happened until it’s too late.
  2. More Likely to Lack Clear Data Visibility – Without a clear view of data usage, access history, and update status, it is difficult to recognize vulnerable areas in your network. As a result, many businesses must resort to reactive measures instead of proactive approaches to prevent attacks. Unsurprisingly, 45% of small businesses admit that their security processes are not effective to prevent attacks. Consequently, vulnerable networks are left unchecked and exploited by threat actors.
  3. Frequent Use of Unverified and Personal Accounts – Small businesses are also more likely to employ personal accounts when dealing with sensitive information. As a result, personal accounts become affiliated with many high-value assets, making hackers’ jobs easier since they only need access to one account to access data.

How to Secure Your Data

Awareness of vulnerabilities is the best place to start protecting your data. When working alongside managed services teams, small businesses may leverage dedicated IT specialists to track and manage weak endpoints, enabling a more proactive approach to cybersecurity. When planning a scalable data security strategy, consider implementing the following initiatives:

  • Detection of Suspicious Behavior – Unauthorized user access, file deletion and sharing, and device usage are a few behaviors to note within your workflows in the event of anything unusual. Robust IT security services can help with this by tracking behavioral patterns across your digital fleet and reporting out-of-norm actions.
  • Tougher Password Requirements – While simple, tougher password requirements can help curb external attacks while keeping employees engaged in securing data. Besides adding special characters, mixed-case, length requirements, and numbers to your password, it is also recommended that you update passwords frequently to further protect data.
  • Ongoing Employee Training and Risk Assessments – Cybersecurity attacks evolve seemingly overnight. Therefore, it is crucial employees are aware of the latest best practices and permitted sites within your business. Along with frequent training, experts recommend performing risk assessments to pinpoint hidden vulnerabilities.
  • Access Segmentation – Lastly, to further the effects of tougher password requirements, data access should be segmented by user intent. Privileged access management solutions often support this initiative by assigning access credentials to specific users, maximizing accountability, and mitigating the chances of accidental leaks.Whether big or small, it’s crucial that every business understand the importance of cybersecurity. For more prevention strategies, feel free to reach out to our cybersecurity team.
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