It’s no surprise that as the internet has become essential to our lives professionally and personally, cybersecurity threats have also been on the rise. In 2020 alone, there were over 1000 data breaches, with more than 158 million sensitive records exposed as a result.
While these cybersecurity attacks have happened to individuals and organizations across different sectors, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) seem to be a primary target. The statistics show that small and medium-sized organizations experience over 50% of cybersecurity attacks worldwide. It gets worse when you realize that 60% of these companies shut down one year after a cyber attack.
In light of these facts, it becomes necessary for SMBs to take proactive measures to safeguard organizational data and information. While investing in different types of cyber security and hiring a cybersecurity services company to oversee the security of a company’s digital infrastructure are some significant steps to take, several tips could also help SMBs protect themselves from cyber-attacks.
This article will discuss some of these tips in detail. Before then, though, let’s look at the various cybersecurity threats SMBs face in today’s world.
Understanding the Different Types of Cybersecurity Threats
There are different types of cybersecurity threats, each targeting a particular aspect of an organization’s structure. Before SMBs can proactively protect themselves against these attacks, they must understand the scope of what they face. Briefly, here are some of the major cyber threats businesses and organizations encounter:
Man in the Middle Attacks
Man in the Middle (MITM) Attacks are cyber threats that involve hackers intercepting two-party interactions or transactions. Generally, these attacks take place when one or both parties use an unprotected or public wifi network. Typically, hackers interrupt these interactions to steal sensitive information about businesses or individuals.
Denial of Service Attacks
Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks flood a computer network with enormous traffic to cripple the system and prevent it from responding to requests. Hackers carry out these attacks using several methods, such as Ping of Death (PoD), ICMP Flood, UDP Flood, and Slowloris. In addition, some cybercriminals may also launch other destructive attacks on a computer network while it is inactive.
During SQL injection attacks, hackers upload malicious SQL codes into an SQL server. After successfully infecting the system, the hackers can view sensitive information in the SQL database and use it against the organization concerned.
Phishing involves the use of fraudulent emails to steal sensitive financial or personal data from individuals or corporate organizations. Typically, to carry out these cyber-attacks, hackers impersonate high-profile individuals or businesses and send fake emails to their targets.
These emails contain links that trick the target into providing their financial details, such as credit card numbers or other personal financial data. Phishing is one of the most popular methods hackers use to infiltrate businesses and steal data. It accounts for over 80% of cyber threats worldwide.
Malware involves malicious computer software, such as ransomware, viruses, and spyware. Typically, computer systems get infected with malware whenever a user clicks on a link carrying the program. Once in the system, malware damages or blocks vital parts of a computer network or steals valuable data. Malware is also one of the most common cyber threats worldwide.
5 Essential Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses
With the overall increase in cyber-attacks on small businesses globally, these organizations must take the necessary measures and steps to safeguard themselves and relevant organizational data. Below are some tips that could help SMBs protect themselves from the different types of cyber threats:
Backup Organizational Data
Most cybersecurity attacks lead to small businesses losing all or a significant amount of sensitive company information in their database. Before these attacks, some corporate enterprises make the fatal mistake of not having separate backup files for organizational data. As a result, they cannot retrieve any lost information after a data breach.
To prevent this occurrence, it’s vital SMBs take steps to backup company and employee information in a separate database. This way, they can easily retrieve these pieces of data when a hacker infiltrates the system and deletes valuable files. In addition, SMBs can be proactive and hire a cybersecurity services company to put high-profile security systems in place to protect company databases and websites.
Use a Password Management System
One of the problems SMBs have to deal with is the abundance of database passwords they have to manage. The fact is, having too many passwords can be overwhelming even for the most organized companies. To deal with this, SMBs should utilize a password management system.
These tools can help businesses generate strong passwords, store already-existing security codes, and offer regular reminders to change database passcodes. Some cybersecurity consultants also help SMBs develop and implement a password management system/plan. Depending on your needs, you could hire any of these cybersecurity professional services for your company.
Educate Employees on Cybersecurity
Most organizational data breaches usually occur due to individual carelessness. As such, SMBs can significantly reduce cyber-attacks by investing in cybersecurity education for every staff. This way, every hand is on deck in safeguarding the company from cybercriminals.
Exercise Caution With Suspicious Links and Emails
One significant way to protect your company from data breaches is to be cautious with clicking links on the internet, especially those embedded in a suspicious email. These links are often tools hackers use to carry out phishing and malware attacks. To be safe, avoid all emails or instant messages with suspicious links from unknown individuals.
Keep Computer and Mobile Phone Software Packages Updated
Mobile phone and computer software updates aren’t all about new features. These upgraded app and OS versions often come with security patches that offer heightened safety for your devices. Rather than ignore system updates notifications like we usually do, it’s vital to upgrade your apps and device OS as soon as new versions are released.
In today’s digital world, the persistent rise of cybersecurity threats has made it needful for SMBs to invest in cybersecurity infrastructure. Without these systems in place, the corporate existence of your business is at risk. The tips we’ve provided in this article can help you protect your company and employees from cyber-attacks.
To be a hundred percent safe, though, it’s best to hire a cybersecurity services company for your firm. Cybersecurity services for small businesses specialize in the techniques and methods needed to protect organizational information from data breaches. As a result, they’re your best bet of full-proof security.