Small business organizations are extremely vulnerable to security threats given the dated software and less experienced staff to handle the crisis effectively. The notion that small businesses don’t have much to lose to what bigger counterparts could offer leave them exposed both internally and externally. The rising numbers of cyber attacks against small businesses prove the hackers have mastered the exploitation of susceptible targets. The part played by human error is a big talking point. Security experts believe more than half of the cyber risks are triggered by following the wrong practices or ignoring the threat posed by the lack of information on the latest security threats. Small businesses need to invest more in software and staff to maintain brand image and consumer trust.
Studies have also concluded small businesses face the threat of going out of business within the first six months after the data theft occurred. The biggest challenge is to clear the mental block to convince the small business owner of investing wisely in the security set-up. They need to stay updated. What else is a better way to stay informed than following assuredbridge for industry-specific news and the latest cyber threats? Small business organizations need to spend on updating software, hiring internal staff or an agency to thwart any security risks of small or big importance.
1. Measure the Extent of Damage Caused by Major Cyber Attacks
Small business owners need to understand that hackers can cause severe damage by stealing information for different purposes. The risk is not losing information but how hackers intend to use it to extract more money. Small enterprises lose business, brand reputation and at worst, settling claims filed by customers against data theft. The nature of loss would determine the kind of legal action taken by consumers against the company. Hackers compel companies to pay ransom for releasing or returning the files in cyber extortion cases.
2. Introduce a Culture of Clean Security Practices across Teams
Companies should take the responsibility of developing a culture where teams communicate securely internally and externally. The threat looms large with a lethargic approach creeping into day-to-day practices. Hackers pound on silly errors committed by users. Social media etiquette, email protocol, using mobile phones and bringing your own devices are a few to name. Companies should encourage people to maintain proper security measures at work and reward them for ensuring customer happiness and faith.
3. Arrange Cyber Security Training Programs for Employees
What cyber training programs can fix is to train every single member of the organization irrespective of the title or position. The other advantage is companies can conduct regular sessions to test their knowledge. These programs also offer an opportunity to discuss and share issues faced at work. Companies can educate teams on policies related to a security breach, data theft etc.
The sole objective of these training programs is to find the flaws weakening the system from the inside. Companies wouldn’t be able to see things from outside unless they know how employees put these policies into practice, evaluate their knowledge and skills to test the hacker’s patience.
4. Update Software, Antivirus and Spam Filter
How many times and how far we delay the system update message? Every time we borrow more time to update the software, hackers get an additional opportunity to attack the system. These update messages should be taken seriously, followed without any delay. They add an extra security layer to the existing one. A dated machine would fail to withstand any latest cyber risks. The antivirus systems need to be updated too. A spam filter scans the phishing and malicious emails and stops them from reaching the inbox. A big part of the problem is phishing emails with corrupt links hidden inside. The practice of following NIST email security is one way of dealing with the situation. The updated system results in better employee management and an excellent customer service experience.
5. On-screen keyboard Offers an Extra Security Layer
Every single key you press gets recorded through keylogging software installed by hackers. Big financial institutions prefer using virtual, on-screen keyboards to keep the information secure. Hackers cannot access data when virtual or on-screen keyboards are in use. We need to understand companies should keep on inventing ways to stay a step ahead of the hackers making any attempts to steal data.
6. Multi-Layer Data Backup Plan
What are our options in the event of a data breach? Small businesses need to invest smartly in a data backup policy. The job isn’t over with cloud storage or other data backup options. These channels should have password protection and encryption in place. An extra security layer isn’t a matter of choice but a mindset which enables organizations and teams to stay alert all the time. Hackers hate spending time after figuring out the site has security measures in place throughout the system and leave the site the next moment.
7. Avoid Keeping the CVV Number Stored in the System
The war against cyber attacks reaches a stage where you’ve to make information security the top priority. Small businesses should make a wise move and stay away from keeping the CVV number stored in the system. It helps both sides to maintain security and have peace of mind. The customers wouldn’t mind taking the card out and providing the information when asked. On the flip side, companies don’t have to be worried about putting such sensitive information at the risk of being exposed during data theft.
Hackers wait for a single silly error and users take excessive precautions to avoid making big mistakes. The bridge between making silly errors and blunders is paying attention to the details and following certain online practices to secure the information. Small businesses should focus on making employees accountable and take ownership of data available at their end. They should practice the guidelines to help customers have a wonderful time with them.
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About the Author
Lucas is a Senior Content Manager at Assuredbridge where he and his co-partner E.R. Hall work on creating effective and easy to understand information. Connect with them on Assured Bridge.