How Small Businesses Can Be Protected From Cybercrime

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Cyber security has always been an important part of any business strategy since the inception of the internet. It is a different reality, however, that very few organizations actually invest in consolidating their cyber security. The stories of a large number of organizations getting scammed by the ‘Nigerian Prince Fraud, are very much news, and a prevalent risk in present internet based business ecosystem. Having undergone numerous modifications since their introduction, the ‘Advance Fee Scam’ is one of the riskiest scams of 2019, rivaled only by Ransomware, which is equally popular a scam.

The risk small companies face

According to a recently conducted study as many as 40%-45% of all cyber-attacks, are targeted on medium to small businesses only. The concept that small businesses are unaffected by cybercrimes is complexly erroneous. The reasons which make small businesses amongst the most vulnerable include:
  • Big companies have ample resources to consolidate their cyber security, a privilege not enjoyed by smaller ones.
  • Small firms pose least resistance to a hacker.
  • Smaller firms and startups at times don’t even have a robust internet security plan or policy, making them easy preys.

Attacks are evolving with time

As developments in the world of coding goes on increasing, so does the sophistication level of modern cyber threats! One of the most popular cyber threats that you would face in 2019 is the Advance Fee Scheme, which is a type of phishing attack, making you think a dubious page to be genuine. You would end up giving up important personal and financial information about yourself to a webpage which is recording such information for nefarious reasons. Malware attacks are another great risk that plague as many as two thousand different cases of banking fraud.
Ransomware is a similarly popular method, which again is a type of malware. The ingenuity of this malware lies in the fact that it downloads itself onto the user’s computer in the form of an embedded file sent with an email, and then proceeds to lock the user’s computer until a certain amount of ransom is paid. Small businesses, if not the large ones,who have major operations based on the internet will be crippled if such a situation takes place.
What precautionary methods can be adopted?
All this being said, it is not a hopeless situation for small businesses; there are still many methods which could be utilized to conceal vulnerabilities and secure your small business. Certain action items along with some general policies need to be adopted by any small business to best lower the chances of a cyber-attack.

General Policies

  • Adopting a strategy for cyber security- Small businesses are no longer alien to taking advantage of the internet in order to conduct their businesses. Therefore, it is important to secure this important platform with the adoption of a robust cyber security strategy and certain important directives that will mitigate major cyber risks to the business need to be ensured.
  • Find an expert to best locate vulnerabilities- A onetime investment that is worth the money. Hiring a professional will best enable you to locate the vulnerabilities that your business faces on the internet. An expert will also guide you to adopt the best security measures to secure those vulnerabilities.
  • Choose diverse security methods- Reiterating the fact that methods of cyber-attacks are evolving with time, adopting various methods to improve the business’ security is the best step to take. A single tool cannot provide you the most effective protection. Adopting a combination of tools like spam filters, firewalls, backup, automatic data encryption etc. equipped to handle various threats is the best approach to solidifying your cyber protection.

Action items that should be implemented regularly

  • Train employees in basic cyber security- A staggering figure of 90% is the recorded as the percentage when a cyber-security breach has occurred because of negligence on the employee’s end, especially those with non-IT training. It is important to train these elements in your staff in basic cyber security measures, how to implement them, and distinguish and identify a cyber-threat.
  • Secure all devices- Many devices are used to conduct business transactions, with even phones and tablets being prevalent in small businesses. All of these devices, which are at times even connected to solitary WiFis can pose to be a loophole and therefore need to be secured adequately to leave no room for errors.
  • Update your applications and operating systems- Outdated software have very little resistance to the constantly evolving types of cyber-threats and therefore it is important that you update them constantly to keep the latest defenses up and running.
  • Back up data that is important at numerous locations- Having a backup never hurts, especially if it is data that is very important to your business. In order to not be forced into a sudden halt and spare your business from suffering irreparable damage, make sure that most important data is always backed up and at numerous locations for easy access during a crisis.
  • Employee access procedures need to be made strict-Certain regulations need to be kept in place as far as employee access is concerned. It is important to implement these so that no breaches are made by hackers. It is important to advice every employee to have unique passwords and user names which should be changed on a regular basis. Various hacking software has made it extremely easy for hackers to guess generic or easy passwords. Downloading software must be limited by employees and authorization coupled with physical access must be ensured.