Small businesses are often very vulnerable to exploitation from cyber-criminals
Cyber attacks are a serious threat to any business -- large or small. However, small businesses are especially vulnerable because they often don't have the financial backing to fix damage caused by cyber-attacks and may not have enough resources to detect or prevent malicious activity. Smaller organisations can also be easier for criminals to infiltrate because their security measures are not as sophisticated, making it easier for intruders to bypass firewalls, network security measures and other protective barriers. In addition, small businesses may have fewer employees with IT skills who can help protect against intrusion into company systems by hackers. The good news is that it's not hard for small businesses to take steps to protect themselves from these cyber threats. In fact, there are several easy ways you can help protect your company from cyber attacks.
Many small business owners do not have the knowledge or experience to recognise cyber threats. You may think you are immune because you don't have as much sensitive data about your customers, but this is far from true. Even if your business is a home-based operation, you could be at risk of losing valuable customer information, intellectual property and financial data through malware attacks or phishing scams.
While it's not possible to prevent all cyber-attacks, there are steps you can take to reduce their likelihood:
A strong password is a vital tool in protecting your business from cyber-attacks. If you don't have one, you're likely vulnerable to hackers and other online threats. But what exactly is a strong password?
The last thing you want is for someone else to be able to log in as you on all your accounts! So make sure that if there's an option to use two-factor authentication (2FA), then do so!
An important measure any small business can take is to make sure all their devices are up to date with software updates. Software updates fix security vulnerabilities and protect your computers from threats, like viruses, that are released regularly. If you do not update your device, it leaves you vulnerable to attacks. To update, go directly to the manufacturer’s website and download an update that applies only to your model of computer or phone.
Firewalls are a type of technology that filters network traffic, blocking suspicious or malicious traffic while allowing safe data to pass through. Firewalls can be installed on computers, phones and tablets, routers, switches and servers. They are also available as cloud services or virtual machines.
A firewall protects against malicious attacks by analyzing data packets as they enter your device or network and comparing them against known rules (such as "we don't accept packets from this IP address"). If a packet doesn't match the rules set up by IT professionals, or if it's an attack, the firewall will stop it from getting through to your computer or another device.
Phishing is a form of social engineering and it's one of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive information. The goal of phishing attacks is to trick users into giving up personal information, like credit card numbers, passwords and account credentials, by posing as a legitimate company or website.
Phishing emails are often sent from a fake email address that looks similar but is not identical to the real one. For example, if you're getting an email from us that says "@mailer-daemon" instead of "@xero", then it's probably not really us sending you an invoice or asking for your password!
Phishing emails often include links to fake websites where they ask users for sensitive details like passwords or credit card numbers - don't click on these links! If you receive one of these messages in your inbox, delete it immediately!
Cybersecurity is a regular task that you should think of as part of your daily routine. Automate many of the steps that you take on a regular basis and consider outsourcing some of the tasks to professionals with more expertise if necessary.
You may want to use a checklist so that you can remember all the steps required for protecting your company's data and assets from cyber threats.
After reading this post, you may feel like there is a lot to keep track of. However, the good news is that most of these measures are relatively easy to implement and don't require much time. If you're not sure where to start or what measures apply specifically to your business, it's best just to get in touch with an IT expert at 4th Platform who can help guide you through it all!
Phone: 0333 240 8139