Many small-business operators tend to ignore data and computer security, but this mistake could have devastating consequences.
Top cybersecurity experts say that cyber attacks against smaller companies is increasing. Forty-three percent of global cyber attacks in 2015 were carried out against businesses with fewer than 250 workers, according to cybersecurity firm Symantec. Such attacks not only compromise a company's computer security and profits, but can have a negative impact on its reputation. This can lead to a loss of business even if the hackers steal nothing.
So what can smaller organizations do to protect their data, their customers, and their reputations?
Resources at small businesses are often stretched thin, and they may lack the staffing or knowledge for a high-quality security plan. That's why outside help from trusted, qualified IT professionals can ease some of the burden of protecting company assets.
There are other steps that smaller organizations can take to pursue better computer security:
- Watch for phishing scams. These are fake but realistic emails that prompt readers to submit information such as banking, credit card, or personal data. Other emails may ask readers to download a file, which hides "ransomware" that shuts down systems until the company owners pay up. All team members should be aware of what phishing email looks like. Never open attachments from unknown senders or provide sensitive data to unfamiliar individuals.
- Always report incidents. Small businesses may think that a minor breach is not worth the attention, or that local law enforcement lacks the resources to investigate. Stephen Cobb, Senior Security Researcher at ESET North America, disagrees, saying that a failure to report will only encourage further attacks, and will leave police without evidence.
- Use strong passwords, and change them periodically. This applies to the company's wi-fi network, company devices, and employees' personal devices used on the company network. The best passwords use long, random strings of letters, numbers, and symbols. They may take more time to create and use, but are ultimately better for a small business than a convenient "password123."
By far, the best data security for a small business is a partnership with IT experts that can help develop appropriate defense and response. To learn more about IT security for your business, and how DMVG can help make your company more secure, please contact us today.