Is your business at risk of a data breach? Small businesses are often targeted for cyber attacks because they are much more lax about security than larger businesses. If any of your competitors are enterprise-sized businesses, your smaller firm could be an attractive entry point for hackers who want to break into their data banks.
Small Business Engaging in Risky Cyber-Security Activities
It’s not just your customer data that’s at risk. Your business’s financial accounts could be vulnerable as well, and commercial accounts don’t carry the same fraud protection as personal accounts. Here are some mistakes your business might be making.
Not Training Your Staff
Almost one in four data breaches are initiated by accident from within your company. Do your employees store their passwords in plain sight? Do they know how to sidestep sketchy e-mail attachments and pop-up warnings? If you have a lot of millennial employees, surveys suggest they may be downloading apps without IT permission, which could put your data at risk.
One popular scam spoofs e-mail from a boss asking for an urgent transfer of funds; well-meaning employees could instantly send cash to a hacker if they’re not thinking critically. Minimize your exposure by training your staff to recognize risks and controlling their access to apps and downloads.
Lack of Management Knowledge
If your top brass aren’t aware of the risks of cyber attacks, they can’t properly protect your data. Not understanding the threats at hand could lead to poor decision making regarding staffing, hardware purchases, and budget.
Companies that handle sensitive financial data or health records should have a dedicated cyber security professional working to protect those records. If your firm is too small for that, you’ll at least need to be sure that someone in the IT department is receiving adequate ongoing training and taking responsibility for your data’s safety.
Trusting Data to Cloud Services
An increasing number of attractive cloud-based services are available to help you manage your business, but at what risk? If you’re using online tools to manage your team, coordinate your contacts, or track your finances, you’ve entrusted your data security to strangers. How much do you know about their security? Be very careful about putting sensitive data in the hands of firms you don’t know much about.
Lacking an Incident Plan
Without a plan, a data breach can throw your company into a tailspin. Some staff members may be in denial and refuse to do anything to mitigate the damage until an investigation reveals every detail of what’s happened, while others go into panic mode and overreact.
A well-thought-out plan will guide you through the first hours and days after a breach. Your incident plan should prepare you to secure your unbreached data, communicate with your customers, handle the media, and curb the damage as much as possible.
Cyber attacks against small businesses are on the rise. The best way to defend your organization is to be sure that everyone in your organization is aware of the risks and knows how to safeguard the data in their care, and have a plan for dealing quickly and effectively with any breaches that occur. 🙂