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Should you be afraid of small business hackers?

60% of small businesses go bankrupt after a cyber-attack by small business hackers. These businesses lack the money to recover from the data breach. A surge in security breaches followed the onset of the pandemic, making basic protective measures against hackers essential.

It is almost impossible to run a business in the 21st century without the help of a business computer network. As organizations to grow more dependent on the internet and online communications, it is important to take adequate measures to protect yourself from black hat hackers and cybercriminals.

Small business owners lull themselves into a false sense of security because they do not see themselves as likely targets. Hence, they spend very little time and capital on cyber-security measures. In fact, this makes small businesses easy targets for hackers. Larger businesses equipped with the latest online security technology takes a lot more time, risk and effort.

What are the consequences of a security breach?

A sudden attack can put your company’s information database at risk. This includes access to your company’s banking details, client lists, yearend rollovers and other sensitive data. This can result in huge financial losses and revenue drops.

It can also hurt your company’s reputation which can impact your long-term revenue. Customers value their privacy over than anything right now. Therefore, a company with shoddy data security would not be their number one choice. 

Small business hackers can also target intellectual property like design blueprints, company strategies and internal policies. Rival companies may be willing to pay for this stolen information.

How do you protect yourself from small business hackers?

Hackers normally tap into the system through phishing emails, poor payment getaways, cloud apps and unsecured devices. Naïve owners, staff and obsolete cybersecurity can make the company a target for small business hackers. Here’s how you protect your digital assets.

1. Train your staff

Employees are the most common entry points for hackers. This means your company’s security is as vulnerable as the least informed employee in your work force. Cybersecurity training is essential in a corporate environment. Workshops can educate your staff on the importance of being vigilant and enforcing digital security strategies. Keep staff informed about online safety practices, warning signs and suspicious activity. This enables your staff to react appropriately to an intrusion and report it as soon as possible.

Use complex passwords. Simple usernames and passwords are a hacker’s dream as they allow easy access to operating databases. Strong and unique passwords minimize online threats. A strong password consists of the following attributes:

  • 12 characters or more
  • Uppercase letters
  • Lowercase letters
  • Symbols
  • Numbers

Make sure that employees have access only to the information they need. Limit the number of people who can access and edit extremely sensitive data. Make sure your staff never use default system generated passwords when they create an account. Change login details on a monthly or a weekly basis to keep the internet opportunists away.

2. Check and update your tech

Strong passwords and educated staff do not deter committed small business hackers. Invest in the right IT security and maintain regularly. Implement the following to prevent unwanted ransomware attacks.

3. Update your software

Always use the latest version of any software used by your company. Older versions can be vulnerable to attacks because of security loopholes. Make sure you scan for new versions and security patches on a weekly basis. Adding extra layers of security like firewalls and software scanners can boost your resistance to malicious attackers. Anti-malware software can detect and minimize the harm of trojans and viruses.

4. Encrypt and backup software

Running a regular back up allows you to limit losses and recover quickly after a data breach. However, you should encrypt sensitive data like customer passwords before uploading them to a cloud server. This way, the data is useless if it falls into the wrong hands.

5. Choose the right internet service provider (ISP)

Your company’s ISP is the foundation of your network. Research internet service providers in your area carefully. Choose a package that offers built-in security features and sufficient speed at affordable prices.

Should you be afraid of small business hackers?

Yes. The requirement for a fool-proof cybersecurity equipment and strategy is only going to increase. Take steps to protect your corporate data and information before it is too late.

Feba Maryann
Feba Maryann is a freelance journalist who writes for websites and magazines in Asia and North America. She is currently pursuing her Integrated Masters on Computer Science Engineering with a specialization in Data Science from VIT, Vellore.

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