Small businesses are common targets for cyber-attacks as they often have bigger bank accounts than individuals, but weaker security measures in place than larger corporations. Often times, small businesses can't afford the business-grade products that are created with business and client or customer information protection in mind. Without the proper security measures in place, small businesses can fall victim to fraud, phishing, denial of service attacks and data loss.
Scary Stats for SMBs
Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated and companies that provide security software are looking for ways to stay ahead of threats. If you think your business's information, data and online presence are secure with a consumer-level cyber security system, think again. Small businesses are on the front line of attacks and the number of SMBs being targeted is only increasing with time. A 2012 Symantec report published this year found that:
- The volume of attacks against SMBs increased threefold, compared with 2011 resulting in its percentage almost doubling from 18% to 31% (Tweet this stat!)
- The average number of identities exposed per breach in 2012 was 604,826
- There were 116 average targeted attacks per day globally
- 24% of targeted attacks were destined for the manufacturing sector, followed by finance, insurance and real estate at 19%
- 40% of all data breaches in 2012 were caused by hackers (Tweet this stat!)
Stepping Up Cyber Security
When it comes to operating a small business, there's a lot to keep in mind. Having the right insurance, the best marketing strategy and connecting with new customers are all crucial sectors of a business. However, you can't ignore the influence of the internet. While online marketing and social media can connect you to your customers, an online presence puts your business at risk of being attacked. Here are four steps you can take to step up your cyber security.
- Assume You're a Target: By assuming you're a target, chances are you'll look for ways to immediately update your security. Keep your firewalls and security software updated regularly. Anti-virus software, malware software and password protection are the basics your business should be using.
- Get in Depth with Defense: Have a multi-layered approach to your cyber security setup. Overlapping, mutually supportive systems are a strong defense should something happen. Integrated software or an internet security consultant can help you set up a hard-to-breach business network. Also consider encrypting emails and sensitive information.
- Educate All Employees: Make employees well aware that passwords should never be shared via an e-mail as this is how phishers often gain access to a company's network. Have data and information sharing policies in place and educate your employees on the steps they should be taking to protect themselves, customers and your business.
- Create a Data Loss Plan: From prevention to action to take should data be compromised or lost, your small business should have a data protection and loss plan. If you backup data in the cloud, make sure your provider has a data loss plan. If you host your own data, make sure you are backing up regularly to a secure server or system.
Don't assume a cyber-attacker, hacker or phisher won't come after your business because it' small. This fact actually makes your business even more likely to fall victim to an attack. However, with the right security software, systems and strategy in place, you can reduce the risks your business could be susceptible to.
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