Warning! Top Cybersecurity Concerns You Need to Consider

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for businesses of all sizes, but small-medium sized businesses (SMBs) are particularly vulnerable to attacks due to a lack of resources and expertise. Cybercriminals know this, and they target SMBs more frequently than larger organizations because they are seen as easier targets. In this blog post, we will explore the top cybersecurity vulnerabilities that SMBs face and offer tips on how to address them.

LACK OF CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS

One of the biggest cybersecurity vulnerabilities that SMBs face is a lack of cybersecurity awareness. Many small business owners think that cyber attacks only happen to large corporations and do not take the necessary steps to protect their business. In fact, according to a 2022 Forbes article, 1 in 5 small-medium sized businesses have had at least one account compromised. That same article goes on to explain how companies with less than 100 employees are 350% more likely to fall victim to a cyber attack. This lack of awareness makes SMBs easy targets for criminals.

Solution: SMBs should take cybersecurity seriously and invest in employee training to educate their staff on how to identify and prevent cyber attacks. This training should include topics such as password hygiene, phishing, and social engineering.

WEAK PASSWORDS

Weak passwords are a common vulnerability that cybercriminals exploit to gain access to a network. Cybercriminals use automated tools to crack weak passwords, and once they have access, they can steal sensitive information, install malware, and even take control of the network.

Solution: SMBs should require strong passwords that are at least eight characters long and include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Passwords should also be changed every three to six months. SMBs should also implement multi-factor authentication to further layer their security.

LACK OF SOFTWARE UPDATES

Software updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. However, many SMBs do not keep their software up to date, leaving their networks vulnerable to attacks.

Solution: SMBs should regularly update their software and hardware to ensure that they are protected against the latest security threats. This includes operating systems, web browsers, antivirus software, and firewalls. SMBs should also implement patch / vulnerability management to ensure that new software updates aren’t accidentally being delivered with malicious code in them.

PHISHING ATTACKS

Phishing attacks are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to steal sensitive information. Phishing attacks often come in the form of emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, but they contain malicious links or attachments that can install malware or steal sensitive information.

Solution: SMBs should educate their staff on how to identify phishing attacks and avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. This can include implementing email filtering software to block suspicious emails.

SOCIAL ENGINEERING

Social engineering is a tactic that cybercriminals use to manipulate people into divulging sensitive information. Social engineering attacks often come in the form of phone calls or emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, but they are designed to trick the recipient into giving up sensitive information.

Solution: SMBs should educate their staff on how to identify social engineering attacks and avoid giving out sensitive information over the phone or email. This can include implementing policies that require staff to verify the identity of the person they are communicating with before sharing sensitive information.

LACK OF BACKUP AND RECOVERY PLAN

Data loss can be catastrophic for SMBs, and without a backup and recovery plan, businesses can suffer irreparable damage. Cyber attacks, natural disasters, and hardware failure can all cause data loss, making it essential for SMBs to have a backup and recovery plan in place.

Solution: SMBs should develop a recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). RTOs and RPOs will help guide SMBs in their decision on how frequently they should perform backups, and how much of their data they should back up each time its performed.

IN CONCLUSION, there are endless vulnerabilities and threat that SMBs must face every single day. We’ve highlighted just a few, including cybersecurity awareness, password management, patch management, phishing, social engineering attacks, and disaster recovery and business continuity. It is imperative that small-medium sized businesses seriously handle their IT and cybersecurity. Not only could clients’ information be compromised, but so too could your business data. The result could spell disaster reputationally and financially for you and your clients.

Segal, Edward. “Small Businesses Are More Frequent Targets of Cyberattacks Than Larger Companies: New Report”. Forbes. 16 March, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2022/03/30/cyber-criminals/?sh=6688a88a52ae. Accessed 03 March, 2023.