Small businesses may think they do not need to worry about computer hackers because they are small, but hackers think that small businesses are an easy mark.
Running a small business is full of challenges. There are plenty of things to worry about every day. One of the biggest challenges for a small business is avoiding mistakes. Mistakes that impact the small business’s customers are often catastrophic for the business. A large business has the resources to overcome these types of mistakes. The small business ay not They have to find a different approach to these types of problems.
The threat of computer hackers attacking a small business is a threat anyone do not think about. Small businesses assume that they are not a target because of their size. The opposite is actually true. There are reasons a small business is a bigger target for hackers. Small businesses need to recognize this threat and have a plan to protect the information they have.
What Makes Small Businesses a Target?
A data breach at a large company or a government agency can impact millions of people. A small business thinks that because they only have information on a much smaller pool of people, it is not worth the hackers effort. That sense of security is one of the things that puts a small business at risk, but there are other factors that make small businesses an easier target for hackers than a large company or government agency.
- Connections to Bigger Businesses – One thing that a small business does not realize is that they can serve as a conduit to the bigger businesses. They may work as sub-contractors for a larger firm or have some other type of connection that allows the hackers to go from the small business to the larger business.
- Less Training – Big businesses spend a lot of time and money training people how to avoid the dangers that hackers present. They have policies in place to prevent the threats of malware and other hacker tools. A small business does not spend the time or money to make sure that all the employees understand the threats to the business from hackers.
- Less Oversight – Although a hacker may get more information when they attack a large company, they are also more likely to get spotted earlier. Large companies are on the alert for breaches from hackers. A small business is not always as diligent in their effort to make sure their systems are safe and hacker free. The breach at a small business can last a lot longer as a result.
Vulnerability of a Small Business
Hackers are thieves. A thief will always look for the easiest target. If they have a choice between a home with an alarm system and a home without one, they will choose the one without the alarm even if it is smaller. The same applies to the cybersecurity threats that small business face.
Small businesses are often much more vulnerable to attacks from hackers. There are many reasons for this. The employees often lack the training in internet security. The business fails to spend the money on software that can keep their data safe. A small business person wears many hats and cannot devote the full-time efforts often need to ensure cyber security. All these reasons make a small business an inviting target.
A big business can survive the damage that a hacker causes. They may have some damage to their reputation, but it is not likely to last for long. People have short memories about cyber attacks and a big business has the resources to get through an attack. A small business can face financial ruin in a hurry from one attack. They may not have the time to recover and restore the reputation of their business after an attack.
Know the Threats
Knowing the threats a small business faces can help them prepare and identify the things they need to do. The most common threats include:
- Phishing – This is a common tool for hackers that works against any size business.
- Malware and Ransomware – These are often combined with a phishing attack and work in a similar way.
- DDOS – Distributed denial of service is a hack that has impacted both big and small businesses.
- Insider Hacking – A disgruntled employee could end up hacking a small business to get even if they are mad at the small business.
- Man in the Middle – A small business relies on other businesses for many things.
- This is a place where a hacker can breach the small business network.
Once a business understands the threats they can take steps to prevent any problems from hackers.
How Small Businesses Can Increase Cyber Security
Even though the small business lacks the internal manpower and the money that big businesses have for cyber security, that does not mean they cannot protect themselves. There are plenty of steps that a small business can take that makes them less likely to become a victim of a hacker.
- Policies – All employees of any business should sign off on some form of internet security policies. These policies can cover password use and sharing, use of email and other messaging systems and use of internet on the businesses computers.
- Training – Although a small business may not have all the resources for training the employees on cyber security, there are ways they can do it. Online course and written material are available for increased training of all employees.
- Network Security – If a small business uses any type of computer systems, they need to invest in some form of network security intelligence. There are specific types of network security intelligence software available that can protect the data a small business has from the dangers that hackers offer.
A big business can have an entire department dedicated to protecting the data and information the business has. A small business does not have that luxury, but that does not mean they can ignore the threats. Instead, they have to learn other ways to protect their network and the data they store. There are plenty of tools that they can turn to that offer them the protection they need.
Hacking into the computer systems of any business is often a crime of opportunity. Although there are some hackers that hold a grudge and want to hurt a specific company, most hackers are just looking for the easiest victim they can find. That explains why the majority of data breaches and hacks on business now occur against small businesses. They represent the easiest target.
Most people put locks on their doors of their home and use them when they leave. They want to protect what is inside their home and figure that a locked door is a good defense. A thief may never try to break into their home, but if they do, at least it is a little harder and may deter the thief.
Small businesses need to look at cyber security in the same way. They need to put a lock on the front door of their computer systems and network. They may or may not ever face the threat of a hacker, but at least they are ready.