Data security is increasingly becoming a big problem for businesses of all kinds. Of course, as the world becomes increasingly digital, the danger present within that digitization only becomes apparent in real-time. While experts have uncovered many safeguards and patterns to cybersecurity, it is still only a reaction to criminal action.
Thus, as security improves, cyber attackers create new attack techniques and strategies every year to steal valuable data from businesses across the globe. It is a catch twenty-two, evolving into more advanced practices and safeguards.
Although small-business owners are a diverse bunch, they all share a few characteristics. First and foremost, they want their businesses to succeed. Second, they use their websites to promote their brand and reputation while attracting new clients and generating transactions, much like a digital business card.
Regrettably, as the threat landscape evolves, cybercriminals become increasingly adept at devising new ways to hurt businesses of all sizes, and small businesses are no exception.
Even though many small businesses endeavor to educate themselves, they frequently get confronted with a slew of cybersecurity myths. These misconceptions might drive small firms to make risky judgments about data security, leaving them even more vulnerable to attack than safe.
Thus, it is critical to understand these common small business data security misunderstandings before attempting to dispel them.
Misconception 1: Small Businesses are Too Small to Be a Target
Several small-business owners assume their company is too relatively small to be a target for cybercriminals; however, being a smaller firm does not safeguard nor make their website less desirable to attackers.
Because they generally lack in-house security experience or do not have a cybersecurity solution in place, small businesses are appealing targets for cybercriminals. According to a recent study, small businesses are the target of 43% of cyberattacks, and the implications of such an attack can be severe. The average cyberattack costs a small business over $188,000.
This misunderstanding may persist as a result of the fact that small business hacks rarely reach the news. On the other hand, small firms are great targets for hackers, primarily because many believe they are not targets and consequently fail to take the essential security safeguards.
Cybercriminals will attempt to steal any credit card and banking information that a small business may have. Yet, they are also prone to extorting money from small businesses by infecting their systems with ransomware. Once on the network, ransomware encrypts all of a company's data, with the attacker offering to release the encryption key in exchange for a hefty ransom.
You should adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity to secure your consumers and company data. This online premeditation approach does not necessitate the addition of security staff to your workforce. Businesses of any size may benefit from the same security that major corporations use to protect their data, secure communications, and defend their websites by implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity solution.
Misconception 2: An Antivirus Software and a Firewall is Enough to Keep a Small Business Safe
Firewalls are an excellent security tool that may protect a company's data from various external threats. However, no single security layer will be able to protect you from all threats.
Many small businesses believe that if they implement a standard endpoint security solution, their website will be completely safe from intrusions. Antivirus software and a firewall, on the other hand, are insufficient to protect a company's website. Small businesses must take a more holistic approach to cybersecurity as cybercriminals become more sophisticated. This opportunity entails putting in place many layers of protection and securing all entryways.
Antivirus software mostly detects threats in executable programs or macros that operate inside common document types such as Microsoft Word. On the other hand, today’s cybercriminals have penetrated web applications, including WordPress, to install malware that can compromise these systems and inflict severe damage. Unfortunately, traditional antivirus software cannot detect these threats, leaving users' websites vulnerable to infection.
Small firms should invest in automated website screening solutions to combat these risks. Scanning the site files and database for malware and other cyber threats goes a step farther than standard endpoint security. Businesses can choose a scanning solution that automatically patches security flaws detected in obsolete software for added safety.
Misconception 3: Using the Cloud is Less Secure than Using In-House Hardware
Security is a long-standing worry with cloud services when compared to firms that manage their hardware. Although, this management is not the point. Rather, few small businesses can afford to recruit professional security staffers with the skills and experience to properly defend their organizations from cybercriminals, let alone set up their own IT department.
Cloud organizations have every motivation to protect their infrastructure against attackers and allocate additional resources to monitor for breaches and respond to any intrusions that occur. Because the cloud gets based on economies of scale, this accomplishment comes at a lower cost than equivalent arrangements such as an on-premises deployment managed through a managed services contract.
Large cloud-based services like Gmail and Office 365, which run on infrastructures provided by Google and Microsoft, respectively, demonstrate the cloud's superior security. With cloud services, small businesses are certainly relieved of the need to constantly monitor new security patches or upgrades. This also removes the necessity of scheduling service interruptions to install patches and updates.
However, keep in mind that no company, not even specialized password management organizations, billion-dollar security firms, or even the National Security Agency (NSA), is immune to security risks. On the other hand, a huge cloud provider is in a significantly better position to defend its digital territory.
Misconception 4: Cybersecurity threats for Small Businesses are limited to External Attackers
While external attackers pose a major threat, inside team members can also create significant security concerns by making various unintentional mistakes. Employee error is responsible for 60% of data breaches. Thus it is critical to educate your personnel about cybersecurity.
Employee cybersecurity training should take place at least once a year. Your annual sessions should contain lectures on how to spot a phishing scam, how to use a password manager to keep track of unique and secure passwords, and how to connect to public Wi-Fi networks via a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Misconception 5: The Cost of Cybersecurity Solutions Is Too High
A significant majority of small and medium-sized enterprises believe that cybersecurity solutions are simply too expensive to employ. Yet, this belief is to protect your data is misguided. Your company does not need to spend a lot of money on cutting-edge technologies to protect your data.
Any solid cybersecurity strategy should be tailored to your company’s specific needs and include a mix of personnel training, enhanced processes, and new technology. This option can be cost-effective with the appropriate advice and assistance.
Protecting Small Businesses from Cybercrime
Now that you know some of the most pressing cybersecurity myths in circulation, it is time to understand what you can do and take action.
Here are some things you can do to ensure that your small business gets protected against cybersecurity threats and attacks:
- Assess the data you generate, acquire, store, access, and transfer, and then classify it according to its sensitivity level so you can take necessary security precautions.
- Educate every employee at every level of the organization on their role in helping to protect all corporate data. Before entrusting someone with managing your social media, website, network, and so on, make sure they understand your usage expectations and cybersecurity best practices.
- Create and implement cybersecurity policies and procedures, such as limiting administrative and access privileges, enabling multi-factor or 2-factor authentication, training employees to recognize malicious emails, and creating manual backup procedures to keep critical business processes running during a cyber incident. Payment processing may be one of these techniques if a third-party vendor or website is unavailable.
- Make doubly sure you have detailed agreements in place with all vendors, including how corporate data gets handled, who owns and has access to it, how long data gets kept, and what happens to data once a contract gets canceled. A lawyer should also review any vendor agreements. Furthermore, speak with your insurance representative to see if you already have cybersecurity insurance and what kind of policy will best suit your company's needs.
- When assessing your threat environment, keep in mind that internal cybersecurity incidents can occur and build ways to mitigate those threats.
Getting to the bottom of small business data security myths can help owners make smarter decisions about safeguarding their data. Knowing the fallacies can help small businesses avoid the most common data security blunders, such as not implementing any data security at all.
While you may develop your cybersecurity strategy in-house, there is no substitute for working with a highly qualified and experienced technology professional who can tailor a plan to your company's needs.
There are far too many cybersecurity misconceptions floating around, making small businesses vulnerable to attacks. Small businesses can defend themselves and their brand now by debunking common security myths and ensuring they have the finest cybersecurity procedures in place to help them weather and thrive through the ever-growing threat of cybercrime.