Cybercriminals can execute highly sophisticated attacks, yet it is inadequate cybersecurity practices that facilitate most breaches. These cybersecurity mistakes are most evident in the case of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).
Small businesses often don’t prioritize cybersecurity measures due to lack of resources or awareness. They might believe they face a lower risk of a data breach or perceive cybersecurity as an unaffordable expense. However, it is essential to recognize that cybersecurity is not exclusively a concern for large corporations; it is a pressing issue for small businesses too. Cybercriminals often view small businesses as attractive targets due to perceived vulnerabilities.
50% of SMBs have been victims of cyberattacks. Over 60% of them go out of business following the attack.
Cybersecurity doesn’t need to be expensive. Most data breaches are the result of human error. But this is actually good news. This means that by taking steps to improve cyber hygiene, SMBs can greatly reduce their risk of falling victim to an attack.
Are You Making Any of These Cybersecurity Mistakes?
To address the issue, you need to first identify the problem. Often the teams at SMBs are making mistakes they don’t even realize. Below are some of the biggest reasons small businesses fall victim to cyberattacks. Read on to see if any of this sounds familiar around your company.
1. Underestimating the Threat
One of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes of SMBs is underestimating the threat landscape. Many business owners assume that their company is too small to be a target. But this is a dangerous misconception.
Cybercriminals often see small businesses as easy targets. They understand that in many cases the company lacks the resources or expertise to defend itself against attacks. It’s essential to understand that no business is too small for cybercriminals to target. Business small and large must be proactive in cybersecurity.
2. Neglecting Employee Training
When was the last time you trained your employees on cybersecurity? Small businesses often neglect cybersecurity training for their employees. Even cautious employees can fall victim to an attack if they aren’t aware of the current threat landscape.
Human error is a significant source of security vulnerabilities. Employees may inadvertently click on malicious links or download infected files. Staff cybersecurity training helps them:
- Recognize phishing attempts
- Understand the importance of strong passwords
- Be aware of social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals.
3. Using Weak Passwords
Weak passwords are a common security vulnerability in small companies. Many employees use easily guessable passwords or reuse the same password for several accounts. This can leave your company’s sensitive information exposed to hackers. Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. This adds an extra layer of security.
People reuse passwords 64% of the time.
4. Ignoring Software Updates
Failing to keep software and operating systems up to date is another cybersecurity mistake. Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems. Small businesses should regularly update their software to patch known security flaws. This includes operating systems, web browsers, and antivirus programs.
5. Lacking a Data Backup Plan
Smaller businesses might lack well-defined data backup and recovery strategies, often under the misconception that they are immune to data loss. However, data loss can stem from diverse sources, such as cyberattacks, hardware malfunctions, or human error.
It is imperative for these companies to establish a routine for backing up data. It’s essential to not only create backups but also conduct regular tests to verify their viability for swift restoration in the event of a data loss incident.
6. No Formal Security Policies
Another cybersecurity mistake made by small businesses is that they often operate without clear policies and procedures. With no clear and enforceable security policies, employees may not know critical information or processes such as how to handle sensitive data or how to respond to security incidents.
Small businesses should establish formal security policies and procedures that are communicated to and accessible by all employees. These policies should cover:
- Password management
- Data handling
- Incident reporting
- Remote work security
- And other security topics
7. Ignoring Mobile Security
As more employees use mobile devices for work, mobile security is increasingly important. SMBs often overlook this aspect of cybersecurity. Put in place mobile device management (MDM) solutions. These enforce security policies on company- and employee-owned devices used for work-related activities.
8. Failing to Regularly Watch Networks
SMBs may not have IT staff to watch their networks for suspicious activities. This can result in delayed detection of security breaches. Install network monitoring tools or consider outsourcing network monitoring services to a Managed Service Provider. This can help your business promptly identify and respond to potential threats.
9. No Incident Response Plan
In the face of a cybersecurity incident, SMBs without an incident response plan may panic respond inadequately. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan. One that outlines the steps to take when a security incident occurs. This should include communication plans, isolation procedures, and a clear chain of command.
10. Thinking They Don’t Need Managed IT Services
Cyber threats are continually evolving. New attack techniques emerge regularly. Small businesses often have a hard time keeping up. Yet, they believe they are “too small” to be targets or don’t have the resources to pay for managed IT services. Managed services come in all package sizes. This includes those designed for SMBs. Synchroworks can keep your business safe from cyberattacks while saving you money by optimizing your IT.