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7 IT Security Risks for Small Businesses

Here are top IT security risks you should avoid or manage before they take your business down.

Do you think your business is too small for a cyber-attack? Or do you take security for a granted just because you don’t have a huge volume of data? There is so many such business security myths people still believe. But, here is a wakeup call for all you…

  • 43% small businesses are a big target for phishers
  • 60% victim companies are out of business within six months
  • And the USA is a top target for hackers worldwide
  • Average cyber-attack costs a business $9000 (National Small Business Association)

These statistics are quite scary. Isn’t it? Cyber criminals know that small businesses lack sophisticated resources or tools to protect against attacks.

Here are some biggest IT security threats along with how to deal with them.

Phishing

Phishing is a fraudulent practice used to obtain personal information or credit card information from an individual by trapping them through offers or posing as a reputable firm. For example, an attacker will send you an email claiming to be from recognized sources and ask you to provide your account or credit card information. According to IBM’s study, more than half of all emails are spam. Another study claims that 97% people are not able to recognize phishing attack.

What to Do?

  • Don’t click links given in suspicious or unverified emails.
  • Install desktop and network firewalls and anti-spam email software.

Malware

Like phishing, malware is a major security concern for businesses of all size. It is malicious software which enters your computer via infected drives, unreliable downloads and networks. Some of the infamous types of malware are viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, adware and spyware. Malware can steal information; damage data and affect your computer performance.

What to do?

  • Install business class anti-virus technology
  • Update software, OS, browsers and anti-malware with latest patches
  • Avoid visiting or downloading from unreliable sites
  • Scan all the devices like flash drives or HDD before accepting the files
  • Don’t trust pop-ups with lucrative offers

Using Outdated Software

Not updating your software doesn’t mean you won’t get the latest version—it means that you are exposing your data to security vulnerabilities which hackers are quick to exploit. Apart from that, your system will be plagued with software incompatibility, compliance issues, and poor performance.

What to Do?

Keep your all software and tools updated—that’s a simple yet effective thing you can do.

Access to Unauthorized Person

You are running into a risk of data breaching if you don’t care who is accessing your data systems or sensitive IT zones. A malicious person just needs a flash drive to get his hands on your sensitive data.

What to Do?

  • Limit the access
  • Don’t permit outsider or unauthorized person to use your system.
  • A technician from other firm should be provided general PC or he should be supervised during the tasks.
  • Lock your computer up after when it is unattended
  • Create a sound BYOD policy

Open Wi-Fi

Open Wi-Fi networks involve unencrypted connections, compromised machines or even the hotspot itself can be malicious—leaving user’s data at a great risk. It is reported that there are 100,000 unsecured public Wi-Fi across the world, meaning that one in four is not secure.

What to Do?

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for the processing of your sensitive information as possible.
  • Use only encrypted sites and apps when on a public network
  • Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to encrypt the traffic between your device and server

Ignorant Employees

Sometime, your employees’ mistake or negligence can wreak havoc on your business data, network and programs. For example, some employees leave their unattended PC open or visit malicious sites and sources. Or they may keep the devices containing sensitive data here and there. So, they should be educated on cyber security.

What to Do?

  • Conduct Cyber Security Sessions Frequently
  • Talk to them about Cyber Security
  • Guide them How to Recognize the Attack
  • Test their IT Security Knowledge very Often
  • Identify the Inside Threat in Your Company
  • Educate Everyone-from top to bottom

Insider Threat

A malicious employee is more dangerous to your sensitive data than external threats or technical vulnerabilities. The losses from the crime conducted by insiders are significant as these people are familiar with the company’s data system and have access to the sensitive accounts. According to a new study from Intel Security, insider threats are responsible for 43% of data breaches.

What to Do?

  • Prepare an enterprise-wide risk assessment for protecting your assets from both insiders and outsiders.
  • Authorize your employee only for the resources they require to do their jobs.
  • Implement strict password and account management policies and practices.
  • Log, audit and monitor employee online actions.
  • Disable computer access following resignation and termination.
  • Always have a secure backup and recovery plan in place.

So you must have understood how cybersecurity is as important as your asset for your business. One more thing—stay current on security trends to learn about latest threats and plan accordingly.

Author Bio: Italia Talley is an author and editor at Secure Technologies, LLC, a leading Information Technology Consulting firm in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area, and Maryland.
Any other comments or pointers? Please leave in the comments section below:

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