As cybercriminals tend to frequently target big companies, many believe small businesses are immune to it or are less targeted. However, that is far from the truth. As much as big companies are targets of cyber-attacks, small businesses are 3X the targets of cybercriminals.  According to a survey conducted by AdvisorSmith, 42% of small businesses were victims of cyberattacks in 2020, while 69% are concerned about being victims of cyber-attacks. The breakdown of these attacks includes phishing attacks (23.7%), data breaches (18.6%), malware attacks (16.5%), DoS attacks (14.8%), ransomware attacks (11.3%), and other cyber-attacks (15.0). These statistics show that small businesses are not immune to cyber-attacks.  These attacks can be a result of various reasons; however, it has been found that over 70% of the reasons small businesses are targets of cyber-attacks are due to some of the big cybersecurity mistakes they make. These mistakes open their businesses to vulnerabilities cybercriminals are happy to exploit. As a result, the best way to mitigate and protect themselves from these attacks is to have a clear knowledge of these cybersecurity mistakes as well as the best ways and IT support needed to fix them before an attack occurs.

6 Big Cybersecurity Mistakes Small Businesses Make

1. Failing to Back Up Data

Today’s businesses continually collect and create vast amounts of data. Data helps businesses make informed decisions, provides insights about financial records, and allows them to track customer interactions over time.  However, one of the most common cybersecurity mistakes among small businesses is failing to back up their data. Many small businesses believe that the data and information stored on their devices are always safe and accessible. As much as this is true, devices might get stolen, damaged, or hacked, resulting in data loss. This can cause the business to suffer severe downtime, financial loss, as well as loss of customer trust.

2. Using Weak Passwords

Using weak passwords for business accounts or systems leaves the business open to cybercriminals. This is because weak passwords are easy to guess and have little complexity, giving hackers access to your data, such as credit card information, emails, or the ability to reset crucial information on your account.  It can also provide hackers easy access to your computer or network, allowing them to compromise the entire network. Due to the fact that their passwords are weak, they are less likely to put in effort to breach the network and cause a cyber-attack.

3. Not Using Multi-Factor Authentication

Aside from using weak passwords, one big cybersecurity mistake small businesses make is not using multi-factor authentication. Many small businesses believe that since they have usernames and passwords in place to secure their accounts or networks, there is no need to implement or use multi-factor authentication. It is important to note that usernames and passwords are vulnerable to brute-force attacks since cybercriminals can use automated password-cracking programs to guess and locate the correct sequence. As a result, hackers can easily compromise the account and steal sensitive information, which could ruin the business’s reputation.

4. Not Having Security Devices

Security becomes increasingly vital as networks get more complicated and organisations rely more on their networks and data to do business. However, some small businesses fail to invest or continuously postpone investing in essential security tools like firewalls and antivirus software due to budget constraints. The lack of these security devices can lead to various problems, including identity theft, data loss, and reputational damage.

5. Ignoring Software Updates and Patches

Small businesses often use various software applications, and over time, they fail to update or install updates and patches that can secure their networks, leaving them susceptible to known vulnerabilities. This is one of the easiest entry points for cybercriminals.

6. Lack of Training

One of the most significant cybersecurity risks businesses face is a result of human errors from employees, such as unknowingly downloading malicious content, clicking phishing emails, or creating a weak password. In light of this, one of the mistakes small businesses make is failing to provide adequate cybersecurity training to their staff, leading to a lack of awareness about phishing scams, social engineering, or other security risks.

Best Ways to fix these Mistakes

Below are some ways how to fix the cybersecurity mistakes:

1. Conducting Regular Training Programs

Businesses are responsible for educating employees about prevalent cyberattacks, such as phishing attacks, ransomware, or other cyberattacks. Therefore, develop a comprehensive cybersecurity training program for all employees. This should include best practices for identifying and reporting suspicious emails, recognising phishing attempts, understanding social engineering tactics, and what to do in the case of a cyber-attack. Also, conduct regular training sessions and workshops to keep employees updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends. The training could be quarterly, twice, or once a year.

2. Regularly Backing up Data

Data backup is necessary to save the business from data loss caused by device failures or cyber-attacks. You could use various backup solutions, such as hard drives, USB drives, and cloud services. Cloud services are recommended as the #1 backup solution because it is one of the best ways to protect your data. Therefore, set up regular backups, as well as an automated backup system for critical business data, to keep your data up to date. You can consider protection for physical storage. 

3. Regularly Install and Update Software Updates and Patches

Establish a patch management process to regularly update software, operating systems, and applications across all devices and systems. Also, enable automatic updates where possible to ensure that critical security patches are applied promptly.

4. Implement the use of Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication offers an additional level of security to your system. This requires additional information before a user may access your account. Enforce multi-factor authentication because it helps prevent unauthorised access from compromising the account. Also, enforce a strong password policy that requires complex passwords with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

5. Use Network Security Devices

Network security devices are devices used to protect the network from cybercriminals. They create efficient systems to allow devices, apps, users, and applications to operate safely. Security devices like firewalls or VPNs can reduce the risks posed by unauthorised access, insecure vulnerabilities, and fraudulent traffic and secure your network.

6. Hire an IT Professional

IT professionals are experienced workers who can fix any IT problem an organisation may have. The advantages of having them on hand cannot be overstated since they assist in safeguarding businesses against cyberattacks that can result in financial loss or reputation harm.

Secure your business with Managed IT Asia.

Managed IT Asia has IT professionals and specialists with expertise in managing your business’s cybersecurity and can assist you in ensuring that all of your technology assets are secure.  Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you develop a solid security system.

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    MANAGED IT ASIA, we are an IT Support, IT Solutioning and Managed IT Service Provider specializing in serving Small Businesses across Asia. Call us at +65 6748 8776 and let us manage your Small Business IT today!