Did you know the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission reported small businesses (SMB) were the majority target of cyber criminals in 2015?
The New York Times, in its article, “No Business Too Small to Be Hacked,” also stated that over 60 percent of small businesses would be severely crippled after a data breach.
If you are a TechSeven (T7) client, you’ve been hearing us talk a lot about cyber threats and security. Although we hate to sound like a broken record, we do this because these threats are not only increasing worldwide, but are hitting home as we have seen local businesses and clients affected.
In today’s business climate, SMB’s utilize technology just like large corporations. They rely on computers to carry out daily tasks such as maintaining a client database, ecommerce, digital forms, payment processing, scheduling, payroll, and accounting. The more we as SMB’s use technology, the greater the threat and potential for cybercrime.
At T7, we believe knowledge is power and with a little awareness and planning, you can better protect your business and technology from an attack.
The Advancement of Hackers:
Hackers are becoming more efficient and organized. Data and information is becoming the new currency within their circles.
In regards to SMB’s, hackers are spending a considerable amount of time targeting single users rather than an entire network. They know a key entryway to hacking a network is by sending a simple email. These emails may pose as banks, false invoices, and other important or time sensitive data.
You can also get viruses from infected websites, even legitimate ones. If you work in the medical or dental fields, health insurance websites are prime targets due to the high traffic they attract.
Online shoppers are another easy target. Watch out for those enticing advertisements as they have can become a source for viruses.
Social Media and Viruses:
More and more businesses are using social media as a way to advertise and create brand recognition.
A shocking statistic reveals Facebook alone is hacked over 500,000 times a day. If your SMB uses social media, be cautious of what you click on and stay clear of anyone who wants to gain personal information such as passwords or banking information. Also, watch out for unusual or suspicious Facebook or Twitter messages from friends and family. They too can be hacked and an infected link or email can be sent on their behalf from the hacker.
What Small Businesses Can Do To Protect Themselves
We’ve included best practices that you and your staff can implement to further prevent viruses and malware. If you have a managed IT service plan with an IT provider, some of these may already be in place:
- Use commercial-grade antivirus and anti-malware software and make sure to keep it up-to-date.
- Make sure you have a schedule in place to update patches on your operating system.
- Train your employees to become aware of suspicious unsolicited emails.
- Create rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect client information and other vital data.
- Make regular backups, and keep at least one offsite to ensure your data is current and available in the event of a breach.
- Establish an internet policy for your employees. Set boundaries on what type of content your staff can view online or contact an IT professional to set up policies to block particular websites.
- Utilize password management tools and create protocols for strong passwords.
- Make sure your network and Wi-Fi are secure. An unprotected network is an open door for cyber criminals.
Please remember that no software or protocol is 100 percent, but a little planning can go a long way in the prevention of cybercrime and security threats. If you have any questions, or would like more information regarding how T7 can partner with your business, please contact us.