With cyber-attacks increasing in number every year, it is important for small businesses to understand their risk and take the right precautions.
Cybersecurity is widely agreed to be a number one priority in business nowadays. Business operations are closely tied with digital technologies, thus creating significant vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. Larger and more influential companies are much better at ensuring their organisation is protected with the appropriate security measures. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, are more likely to be operating without any protective measures at all – thus it is especially important for SMBs to invest in the right cybersecurity. We discussed this with TechQuarters a London-based provider of small business IT support London companies have used for over 12 years in order to protect their infrastructures. Below is a breakdown of why small businesses in particular need to be wary of cyber-attacks.
Why Small Businesses are an Ideal Target
There has always been a persistent – yet incorrect – assumption that small businesses are a smaller target when it comes to cyber-attacks. However, the instances of attacks against small businesses have grown steadily over the past decade. Having provided business IT support London based SMBs have used for years, TechQuarters was able to tell us some of the key reasons why small businesses have becoming such an attractive target for hackers and cybercriminals:
- Lacking Resources – This is typically the root cause of why small businesses are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks; they simply don’t have the personnel or budget to create a dedicated function for cybersecurity.
- Customer PII – Nowadays the most reliable way for hackers to make money from a cyber-attack is by targeting personal identifiable information, which can be sold to other cybercriminals. With small businesses typically handling and storing customer information – combined with the fact that they are generally known to not have great cybersecurity – they can be seen as a highly profitable target.
- Gateway to Larger Targets – Many small businesses are associated with much larger enterprises – such as third-party suppliers, or clients – and hackers may use the smaller businesses are a source of vulnerability that they can exploit to attack the larger company.
Common Cyber Threats for SMBs
There are many different types of cyber threat out there, which means businesses need to be knowledgeable on the types of risks that could lead to them becoming a victim. Having providing IT support for legal firms, and many other types of businesses that have very strict security and compliance needs, TechQuarters was well-placed to tell us all about the common cyber threats for small to medium sized businesses…
Software that is specifically designed to undermine the security and integrity of a system or device are one of the most common types of cyber risk. Malicious software (hence, malware) comes in many different forms – from viruses, which replicated endlessly, disrupting a PC’s processes, to spyware that steal information by monitoring user activity.
The most common cyber risk by far is the phishing attack. Any form of online social engineering used to eventually steal information (or money) can be classified as phishing. Fraudulent emails are a common phishing attack; but they also come in the form of social media messages, and even fraudulent adverts.
- Password Attacks
The reason simple passwords are discouraged in technology circles is because of how easily they can be cracked – either by a brute-force attack, phishing scams, or the use of spyware. Furthermore, re-using passwords for multiple accounts and/or devices means that if one password is cracked, multiple accounts and/or devices are at risk.
- Insider Attacks
One risk that mustn’t be underestimated is the risk of insider attacks. Not all insider risks are due to disgruntled employees who are actively seeking to undermine the company – although this certainly shouldn’t be ignored and is the main reason why access should be revoked immediately when an employee stop working for an organisation. An insider threat might simply be down to user negligence.