Many small business owners falsely believe that a large majority of cyber criminals target big businesses. Well think again! According to an internet security threat report by Symantec, half of all attacks in 2012 were aimed at businesses with fewer than 2,500 employees.
The report also revealed that attackers are increasingly setting their sights on companies that employ fewer than 250 people.
Why Target Small Businesses?
Many hackers go after smaller companies because generally, they don’t have as many resources to protect themselves.
In some cases, a hacker that is deterred by a larger company’s superior protections may choose to target a smaller business that has a relationship with that company. He’ll use the small company as an entry point to the large one.
Employee Blunders Pose Threats
In many cases, a small company’s employees turn out to be bigger threats than hackers. Employees click on spammy links, leave their systems up and unattended for long periods of time, and neglect to periodically change their passwords. These are the kinds of actions that put critical data at risk.
Telecommuters also put companies at risk by storing sensitive data on their personal mobile devices. Sometimes, these devices end up in the wrong hands when lost.
We’re Not Worried About It…
The results of a survey of small business owners by Symantec revealed that most of them believe they are immune to cyber attacks. A whopping 83% of surveyed business owners had no formal cyber security plan.
Many small businesses feel that they don’t have much to offer cyber criminals. However, they gloss over the fact that they store money in the bank, store customer information, and other sensitive data that a criminal can turn into cash.
Small businesses that don’t have adequate protection against cyber attacks are putting the data of the business, their partners, and their customers in jeopardy.
Simple Protection Tips
Know what to protect. Look at where information is stored and used. This will tell you which areas really need to be protected.
Establish safe password policies. Passwords with a minimum of eight characters and a combination of letters, numbers and symbols are most secure.
Have a plan for security breaches. Identify critical resources, invest in effective security and backup solutions for archiving files, and run frequent tests.
Implement encryption technology. Do this on laptops, desktops, and removable media to prevent unauthorized access to confidential information.
Educate your employees. Employees need to be informed about the newest types of threats, internet safety guidelines, and what needs to be done if they lose information or suspect that malware is on their computer.
It doesn’t matter how large or small your business is; the possibility of being a victim to a cyber attack is real. It’s very important to secure your business as soon as possible.
More tips and advice can be found at stopthinkconnect.org.