Small businesses have needs and challenges their larger counterparts will never experience, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. That means you need to get creative to protect yourself, your employees, your customers, and your business overall. Here are a few cybersecurity tips tailored to fit small businesses!
Do Small Businesses Face Unique Cybersecurity Risks?
Although small businesses have different needs than other companies across the board, this is uniquely true when it comes to cybersecurity. That's because hackers see you as an easy target.
Now, that's not always the truth--but unfortunately, it doesn't matter. Hackers will still assume that, because you're a smaller business with a presumably smaller budget (and maybe even less knowledge about cybersecurity overall), you won't have the proper defenses. This means you could have the best defenses in the world and still be seen as "more of a target" than bigger businesses.
The good news is that you don't have to cross your fingers and hope the hackers don't notice you. Instead, you can get prepared--and to do that, you need to know what to look out for.
Cybersecurity Risks to Anticipate
Everyone should know what kind of cybersecurity risks are lurking around the corner. However, being prepared is especially important for small businesses--not just because you may be a bigger target to hackers, but because a little extra planning helps you use your limited time and budget more effectively.
Here are the top cybersecurity risks to research and anticipate:
Malware is short for "malicious software," and it does exactly what it promises: It causes trouble for your computers or other IT equipment. The goal is usually to damage your machines or create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.
Here are a few different types of malware:
Advanced persistent threats (APT)
An APT occurs when a hacker breaks into your network slowly and carefully. They don't want to get caught, so they make gradual progress instead of attacking all at once--and they've often gained complete access before you even notice they're around.
Phishing attacks rely on social engineering to trick employees into giving up sensitive information. Often, a hacker will pretend to be from a trusted partner company or will even pose as an internal teammate to send an apparently trustworthy email asking for key information.
Inside risks come in two basic types: accidental and purposeful. An accidental risk can be caused by innocent human error, but it still leaves your network and data open to attack. A purposeful risk usually occurs when someone with sensitive information (like passwords) leaks those details to a third party for profit. Regardless of whether the risk was accidental or purposeful, the result remains the same: Your company suffers a massive blow.
What You Can Do to Prepare for Cybersecurity Threats
Once you know what to look out for, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get prepared. Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your small business from cybersecurity threats:
Get managed IT services.
There's a lot to know when it comes to cybersecurity. Although you should always try to research what's coming around the corner, don't try to face it alone--instead, rely on managed IT services to help you out. Managed IT providers have all the expertise they need to help you navigate threats, challenges, risks, vulnerabilities, and more.
Prioritize employee training.
Employees can be your biggest cybersecurity asset. Help them feel responsible for protecting your small business and give them the information they need to eliminate risks wherever they see them.
Take baby steps.
Even the smallest things--like improving your password habits or creating reliable data backups--can lead to stronger cybersecurity. Don't get caught up in making huge changes; start with baby steps and see how much progress you can make.
Cybersecurity is a uniquely big deal for small businesses. From malware and phishing to inside risks and APTs, you might feel like you're always under attack. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to prepare and protect yourself.
Need a little help with cybersecurity? Contact us today to see what managed IT services can do for your small business.