Cybercriminals are capable of launching complex attacks. However, most hacks are able to happen due to poor cybersecurity protocol. This issue is especially true for small to medium-sized businesses. Here are the 10 worst cybersecurity mistakes small businesses make.
Small business owners often don’t prioritize cybersecurity. They usually focus entirely on growing the business. They think they are at a lower risk of a data breach because they are smaller. Or they believe it is an expense they cannot afford.
But, larger businesses are not the only ones who have to worry about cybersecurity. It has become a major issue for smaller businesses. Cybercriminals often view smaller businesses as easier targets. This is due to a number of possible vulnerabilities.
Cyberattacks affect 50% of small and medium-sized businesses. And 60% or more go out of business because of it.
Cybersecurity doesn’t need to break the bank. The main cause of data breaches is human error. And that’s actually good news. This means if you improve one’s cyber hygiene, you actually lower the risk of them falling for an attack.
Which of These Cybersecurity Mistakes Are You Making?
Identifying the problem is the first step toward solving it. Employees at SMBs often make mistakes they don’t know to look out for. The following are some common causes of cyberattacks that small businesses face. See if any of this sounds familiar to you or your business.
1. Ignoring the Threat
One of the top mistakes small businesses make is underestimating the cyber threat. Many business owners believe their company is too small to become a target. A huge misunderstanding.
Small businesses are the easiest targets for cybercriminals. They know these businesses won’t add the resources necessary to avoid their attacks. A hacker will attack any sized business. In cybersecurity, being proactive is your best defense.
2. Putting Off Employee Training
When was the last time you offered your employees cybersecurity training? Or made it mandatory? Employee Cybersecurity Training is often overlooked in smaller businesses. Owners usually assume their employees are cautious enough.
As we mentioned, human error is the cause of most security vulnerabilities. Staff can unintentionally download corrupt files or click on a malicious link. During staff training, it helps them:
- Identify phishing scams
- Learn the importance of strong & unique passwords
- Understand the social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals
3. Using Weak Passwords
A typical mistake users in small businesses make is using a weak password. Most of the time, employees will use a password that is easy to remember, and they’ll use the same one for all their accounts. This alone could expose your business’s private information to hackers.
Passwords are reused 66% of the time.
Promote the use of strong, one-of-a-kind passwords. When possible, consider enforcing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as an added layer of protection.
4. Neglecting Software Updates
A big mistake we see with a lot of businesses is the ignoring of software and operating system updates. Cybercriminals will exploit these well-known security flaws to access systems with outdated software. In order to fix these security vulnerabilities, small businesses need to enforce software updates on a regular basis. This includes antivirus software, web browsers, and operating systems.
5. Lacking a Recovery Plan
Most small businesses don’t have a formal backup & recovery plan in place. They might believe they will never experience data loss. However, data loss can occur due to numerous factors. Including hardware failure, cyberattacks, and even human error.
That’s why it’s important to regularly back up your data. And test these backups whenever possible. Make sure they can be restored in the case of a data loss incident.
6. Unclear Security Policies
Small businesses often lack clear policies and procedures when it comes to security. Without the proper policies in place, employees will lack critical information. Such as how they should handle sensitive data or how to securely use company equipment.
It is recommended that small businesses create official security policies and procedures. Additionally, communicate them to each employee. These policies should include:
- Password management
- Data management
- Incident reporting
- Remote work protocol
- and other security topics.
7. Avoiding Mobile Security
Mobile security is becoming more and more important as more workers use their personal devices for work. Small businesses often ignore this aspect of cybersecurity.
Installing MDM (Mobile Device Management) solutions can help. These enforce security policies when using company-owned, or employee-owned devices.
8. Failing to Monitor Network
SMBs might not have IT personnel available to monitor networks for questionable activity. Resulting in the rise of security breaches due to detection delays.
Set up network monitoring tools. Or consider contracting out network monitoring services. They can help your company identify and address possible threats.
9. No Incident Response Plans
Businesses without an incident response plan tend to panic in the event of cybersecurity incidents. Making their responses ineffective.
Create a thorough incident response plan. One that describes the steps to take in the event of a security issue. This should include a plan for communication, protocols for isolation, and the chain of command should be made clear.
10. Believing They Don’t Need Managed IT Services
The nature of cyber threats is always changing. Which means so do attack strategies. Small businesses often struggle to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Yet, they believe they are “too small” to afford Managed IT Services.
This is a common misconception. Whereas Managed Service packages come in all shapes in sizes and are usually personalized per business. A managed service provider can help protect your business from cyberattacks. As well as save you money by streamlining your IT.
Learn More About Managed IT Services
Don’t risk losing your company to a cyberattack. You might be surprised how affordable outsourced IT really is.
Call us today to arrange an assessment.
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STG IT Consulting Group proudly provides IT Services in Greater Los Angeles and the surrounding areas for all your IT needs.