Cyber Security Threats to Small Businesses

You may find this hard to believe, but the fact is that the global economy is largely dependent on small businesses. A research carried out in the US revealed that nearly 67% of small businesses are increasingly becoming dependent on the internet and nearly same amount are dependent on it for their daily operations! This emerging trend is least surprising given that the internet provides many small businesses a vast gateway using which they can scale up faster and be more productive than they have ever been. It has become a sort of trend that small businesses are tapping into the potential of internet to find new customers and serve the existing ones in a better way.
However, with the growth of the internet and the increasing dependence of small businesses on it, there comes the threat of cyber security that cannot be taken lightly. Small businesses, no matter which industry they belong to; need to identify these threats and address them quickly and effectively if they want to stay afloat and continue to prosper.

Top Cyber Security Threats for SMB in 2016

  • Mobile malware attacks : As small busineses are targetting to move their
    business to the mobiles and due to lack of knowledge they are at the higher risk.
    Theft of Business secrets stored on digital Network due to the weak security
  • Ransomware – Hckers can encrypt data which can only be decrypted by paying
  • Extortion with Stolen Data

What are major loopholes for these threats

  • Ignorance of Cyber Security.
  • Absence of password policy.
  • Absence of Cyber Security Policy.
  • Insecure website.
  • Employees and Former Employess

Tips for Small Businesses to Prevent Cyber Attacks.

  • Conduct a Risk Assesment and implement cyber security policy.
  • Use a paid internet security suite instead of free or cheap antivirus and keep that
  • Use a paid antimalware software alongwith your internet security suite.
  • Backup up your data regularly to an offline external storage device.
  • Secure your website properly.
  • Secure your Wireless Access Points.
  • Mainatain a Secure Database.
  • Keep an eye on employees and implement access policy.

Why do Cyber Criminals find Small Businesses Attractive?

With more than 100 million computers already under their control worldwide, cyber criminals are increasingly looking at individuals and small businesses as their potential target. Yes, the larger firms promise these criminals a larger opportunity. However, these companies have adequate online security in place and that they have contingency plans ready all the time. But small businesses that are limited with finance, manpower and technology infrastructure, are least protected and therefore become an ideal target.
A close look at small businesses will reveal that they suffer due to cyber criminals and other attackers, largely due to lack of cyber training and insufficient cyber security policies. These businesses also find it hard to hire cyber experts that can beef up their online security or install proven and reliable internet security software. It is this lack of investment that puts businesses in an environment that is prone to cyber threats.

According to research carried out by Strategic Research Corporation, nearly 70% of businesses that reported loss of data went on to lose their business within a year.

In another survey conducted in the UK, nearly 37% of respondents admitted taking backups of their business data, at least once a month. On the other hand, it is sad to see that there are still businesses that do not install anti-spyware and anti-virus software in their computers. These are the businesses that run the risk of being victims to cyber threats.

Small businesses suffering from cyber security threats are real. These threats not just affect the profitability and business operations but also spoil customer experience. Recent years have seen several small businesses losing their hard earned money due to internet scams and cyber criminals. As seen in most of these cases, it is not just the businesses that are compromised, even the safety of customers is not guaranteed. There have been several instances in the recent past of identity theft of customers. Given that these threats are real and are fast catching up with small businesses worldwide, it has to be understood that anyone can be susceptible to them and that there is an urgent need to address these threats in a positive manner.

Cyber criminals make use of various methods and tools available to them to strike small businesses all the time. It is not just the experienced even novice cyber criminals are increasingly using dynamic and more sophisticated methods to steal information from various small businesses and make them susceptible to dangers that arise out of such a situation. For these criminals, the size of your business does not really matter. What really matter to these people is the ease with which they go about stealing your information online.

Making Internet Security a Priority

As cyber threats keep evolving, new threats keep popping up as soon as the older ones disappear from the horizon. Therefore, it is imperative for small businesses to acknowledge the security threats that loom large at them and seek adequate knowledge pertaining to them. Investing wisely on internet security solutions is one way to look at things for small businesses. In addition to this, they need to take steps to educate their staff in following best internet practices and guidelines. For example, they need to be taught on how to choose username and passwords securely, how to keep their PCs and network security up-to-date and so on.

Last but not the least; small businesses need to realize that cyber security is not an option for them but a necessity in this fast changing world. Securing information and data is an ongoing process and therefore requires constant updating and monitoring.

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