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Leveraging Cybersecurity for a Better Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

By Richard Smith
Business.com / Security / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Cybersecurity or as we know it, is actually an integral part of your business strategy and affects SMBs in multiple ways.

Cybersecurity or as we know it is actually an integral part of your business strategy. While it mainly caters to every business module, smaller firms are usually affected the most in both ways.

These organizations are prone to cyber attacks as an occasional breach isn’t that uncommon. Then again, it is imperative to look into the extent of damage and shatterproof the hierarchy for future attacks.

Reports suggest that 50 percent of small businesses have been attacked in the past year making cybersecurity norms, essential.

Why Small Businesses Are Targeted?

Bigger hacks in the likes of Home Depot have made the headlines but Cyberattacks seldom spare the smaller firms. Most attackers consider these startups as Sweet Spots, leveraging the security and privacy for their own good. While a small business has a lot of digital assets to part with, it is often less secure as compared to its premium counterparts.

Related Article:Data Breaches Hurt 43% of Businesses in 2014: Do You Have a Cyber Security Plan?

 Distribution of cyberattack targets in a pie chart

Moreover, most startups are reluctant on investing a lot on security as they hardly consider being targeted. Eighty-two percent of business owners haven’t even thought of safety as they feel there is nothing worth stealing in the ecosystem.

Segregating Cyberattacks

Attackers usually look to exploit higher levels of sensitive information including personal credentials, card details and a lot more. The online identity becomes accessible as cyber attacks are best known for camouflaging themselves with the theory of constant evolution. Despite being outnumbered, in terms of possibilities, small business owners must be cognizant of the lingering mode of attacks

  1. "Advanced Persistent Threats" or APTs are targeted attacks which are undertaken with a long-term goal. The network security is breached in phases which in turn avoids detection.
  2. "Distributed Denial of Service" or DDoS is a voluntary method used by attackers for overloading the server with persistent requests eventually shutting the network system
  3. Inside attack is a threat when someone within the organization can get access to the company details using the administrative privileges. Most of these cases are synonymous to the former employees who left the organization unsatisfied. A clause or protocol in the contract for revoking data access upon termination can take care of this, in days to come.
  4. Malware or malicious software is an umbrella term meant for hiding a faulty program and later introducing it within the company network. This can either damage the system or render unauthorized access to the attacker.
  5. Next in line are password attacks, further segregated into brute-force breach which involves permutations and combinations of guesses. Moving on, we have dictionary attack where the intruder uses a combination of existing words for breaking in. The last one has to be keylogging that can gauge keystrokes and break in using password and login access.
  6. Phishing is certainly the most common mode of cyber theft involving a set of collective details like card info, login IDs and fraudulent websites. Emails are also resorted to and reports suggest that most numbers of cyber attacks are undertaken using the Internet and phishing.

Related Article:The Security Risks in Social Media: Interview with Joseph Steinberg

Cybersecurity Solutions for the Small Businesses

 Percent of organizations report having been compromised by cyberattack in a year

Startups and recently established firms like Showbox cannot spend millions on high-end security measures and therefore we have enumerated some of the most feasible safety options against cyber attacks.

  1. The antivirus software is certainly a common addition then network and online security measures are considered. A good antivirus can easily combat any of the existing malware.
  2. Firewalls can be used for both software and hardware adding an extra layer of protection. Once a firewall is put up it wouldn’t be easy to access the operating system in the first place, let alone attacking it. Operating systems like Windows come with embedded firewalls.
  3. Look out for data backup solutions as these can help combat the likes of DDoS.
  4. Another way out would be the use of an encryption software for protecting sensitive data following two to three step authentication systems.
  5. One can also opt for biometric security which is a new rage owing to the advent of artificial intelligence. Not just fingerprint, voice or iris scanning, newer methods have been developed which are practically impossible to breach.

However, one must know that there is hardly any cohesive security plan for any organization and one must at least zero in on the best possible one, only after gauging the nature of a threat. 

Cybersecurity Insurances

Let us assume that a network has been compromised and heavily losses are incurred. In that case, software and security won’t be of much help but insurances will. These will cover up the losses and offer a new lease of life to the concerned business. While the general policy wouldn’t help recoup the same, a special cybersecurity insurance scheme might.

 graph of increasing cyber incidents

Many business carriers offer coverage for several small businesses based on the risk exposure levels and even budget.

It is always advisable to look for first party coverage which includes breaches based on legal expertise, customer notifications and cases related to business interruptions. Once settled, the businesses must move on to third party coverage for dealing with the likes of exposed information where the affected party can sue the concerned company, incurring huge defense costs.

Do opt for a financially equipped carrier of good repute who will understand the minute loopholes of different policies and find you the perfect one for the given budget.

Related Article:Becoming Unbreakable: 5 Little Ways to Make Your Small Business More Secure

Business Attributes to Adopt

Once the software and security arrangements are put to use and insurances are taken care of small business need to put forth other holistic steps in order to keep the network safe and threat-free, even in the long-run.

  • Updated Software
  • Employee Education
  • Implementing Formal Policies
  • Preach the "Incident Response Plan"

Bottom Line

Every organization must have a mentality that puts cyber security at the forefront of entrepreneurial success. Small businesses might be small but do have a lot to offer and therefore a lot to steal as well. Be on the lookout for threats but adopt efficient methods to nip them in the bud.

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