A 2020 report shows that 28% of data breaches targeted small businesses. You may not realize how much an establishment like yours is worth to a cybercriminal, but going after your bank account is only the start. The true prize is the data they collect.
Every work computer, customer kiosk and point-of-sale device is connected to a network that can be accessed by someone within your system. They could access credit card numbers, personal information, passwords, phone numbers and other exploitable data belonging to both your customers and employees. Cyberattacks are a real and costly threat.
What could a data breach cost you?
IBM estimates a single cyberattack costs small businesses an average of $2.64 million. The value is so high because the actual data breach is only the start. It can be costly to react to an attack and business is always lost in the process.
Informing your customers that their data may have been accessed by a criminal hurts your reputation. Old clients may leave and new ones will think twice before doing business with you. Lawsuits and damage control could overwhelm you if you’re not prepared. Additionally, you’ll be spending time and money locating and patching the vulnerabilities in your system to prevent further attacks.
Businesses today thrive or die based on their cybersecurity, so prepare ahead to avoid the worst.
What will leave you vulnerable to cyberattack threats?
Your system’s integrity comes down to two simple factors: people and computers.
Any employee that uses a computer on your network can inadvertently open it up to an attack. Consider every action that takes place on business devices. Repeating a password between personal and professional accounts seems minor, but it means an employee’s private internet activity could compromise those credentials.
Similarly, visits to certain websites or downloaded applications on work computers could open your network up to malware. Currently, the biggest threat comes from simple email scams. We all tell ourselves we’d never fall for it, but criminals are becoming increasingly adept at creating legitimate-looking messages to steal information. You may be one wrong click away from a compromised network.
On the computer side, having a strong firewall is a great start, but the biggest vulnerability is how often software and technology changes. Regular hardware, program and application updates close breach points discovered through previous cyberattacks at other companies. Going too long without updating or implementing the latest technology will most likely leave an exploitable hole in your system. Keeping everything up to date is a simple step that goes a long way in cybersecurity.
What can you do to defend yourself against cyberattacks?
The first thing you should do is talk to your employees about business computer etiquette and teach them about safe passwords, two-factor authentication and your protocol for suspicious messages.
Then, you should ensure someone in your business is thinking about cybersecurity on a regular basis. Whether you handle it yourself, create a designated IT department or hire a service provider to manage it for you, staying ahead of criminals is easier with someone who can credibly assess your business for vulnerabilities. Most importantly, have a plan to cover prevention and damage mitigation in the event of a breach. The more time you spend preparing, the less time you’ll waste during an attack. For network protection services and advice, contact a STANLEY Security expert.