Cyber security is an increasingly important topic for any small business to tackle, yet it remains a mystery to many. Unpicking the complexity of this issue might seem daunting, but this brief guide will lay the groundwork. For a fuller picture, check out this article from Fidus Information Security. ultimate cyber security guide for business.
Main Security Threats to Consider
There are lots of ever-evolving threats posed by cybercriminals to small businesses, but the main ones include phishing, identity theft, DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks and malware infections.
Phishing comes in several forms, including fake sites designed to trick visitors into entering sensitive data or downloading dangerous code. It can also factor in phoney emails and other fraudulent communications with similar aims in mind.
ID theft will allow crooks to create accounts, set up credit cards and make purchases using the identity of the victimised individual or organisation.
DDoS involves assaulting a business’ website with traffic from a network of compromised devices, taking it offline and keeping genuine users out of the picture.
Malware and viruses can have a range of implications and uses, from holding a business to ransom by locking down its mission-critical data to stealing information and passing it on to malicious third parties.
There are plenty of other cyber security obstacles to overcome, but getting to grips with these basic concepts is sensible for small business owners.
Why Am I A Target?
Aside from the small handful of cybercriminals who simply want to cause indiscriminate havoc with their actions, most are motivated by money. And the best way to earn a living if you have underhanded computer skills is to steal and manipulate data in the hope of being able to sell it or profit from its subversion.
Data is the currency of the digital world and stolen information can be sold in large volumes to the highest bidder on the black market. Businesses are typically responsible for significant stores of sensitive information, so they are seen as the perfect target by hackers.
What Are The Consequences of Ignoring Cyber Threats?
With a triumvirate of troubling outcomes from being hit by a cyberattack, small businesses cannot afford to ignore the need to implement a suitable security policy.
Firstly your reputation will suffer a blow if you become one of the 40 per cent of British businesses hit by an attack each year.
Secondly, the loss of custom that comes in the wake of a breach will bring many fledgeling firms to their knees, with financial woes knocking out almost two-thirds of small businesses that have been successfully attacked.
Thirdly the legal and regulatory ramifications can be significant, especially in the wake of the GDPR and the steeper fines that firms face if they mishandle customer data. Being sued by individuals and other organisations is also a likelihood, which puts yet more pressure on impacted businesses.
How to Bolster Cyber Security Measures
The first thing to realise about cyber threats is that they can only be faced if everyone involved in a small business, from the latest hires to the members of the board, is aware of these risks and committed to combating them.
Next, you will need to lay down a suitable plan to protect your internal network, simplify it where possible and ensure that it is as robust and resilient in the face of the main cyber threats as possible.
You should also get a handle on the kind of data you are holding, whether it complies with GDPR and whether it is properly secured with encryption. Storing information in a cloud-powered platform can be convenient if you want to avoid the expense of opting for an on-site solution.
Keeping tabs on network traffic, training staff and monitoring internal threats posed by disgruntled employees will all be necessary if you want to have complete peace of mind about the state of your cybersecurity.
Ultimately it is crucial to never become complacent, even if you have put plenty of security measures in place. Cyber threats are always changing and you need to be ready to respond to them, whether you run a small business or a multinational corporation.