We still see the same scene in horror movies: the main character runs into the house, slams the door, locks the deadbolt, and sighs in relief — but the killer still sneaks up and attacks them from behind!
If you own a small business, you might find yourself in a similar situation. Sometimes small business owners spend large amounts of time and resources physically protecting their operations just to let the most dangerous threats sneak in through the figurative back door.
Today we're going to talk about the 8 Biggest security threats small businesses face, in no particular order. While a few of them are new, some past risks are still very much in play.
Not only is this the number one threat to cybersecurity, but it's also growing every day. 74% of all businesses in the U.S. reported Phishing attempts in 2020. That is 30% higher than the rest of the world. All indications point to this trend rising as it requires the least amount of resources and know-how to attempt.
Microsoft Document Scams
You probably think there's nothing safer than opening up a Word document. Think again! For the past few years, scammers have been getting creative with coding that allows them to gain access to your computer, which is why Microsoft has been working overtime to create new patches. However, since many companies delay updating their software, this remains a prime point of attack for criminals.
Over 1,100 variations of ransomware exist around the world. The FBI has stated that there has been a sharp uptick in these attacks recently, and they advise us that the practice will continue to grow in the coming years. This year, not just have there been attacks on businesses, but entire cities have paid ransoms to get their data back.
As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have exploded on the scene, their demand and value have gone up as well. Although you can't physically mint a Bitcoin as you could a dollar bill, they are "created" in a process known as mining. This process is a resource-intensive practice that requires computing power that thieves often lack. The solution? Hijack other computer systems to do the computing for them, taking a toll on bandwidth and slowing down networks.
Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks
Technology is rapidly increasing, not just in computing devices but in everything that's become a computing device. With IoT technology, you can connect your servers to your security system, HVAC system — even the microwave in your break room! While this allows everything to be connected and consolidated in one place, it also creates vulnerabilities. Most of these devices have very weak security protocols in place: who would want access to the toaster in the office next door? But since they connect to your network, it creates a backdoor that can — and has repeatedly been — exploited.
Many small businesses feel safe doing business on their mobile devices only to have them be one of their weakest points. While most of us have heard about using unsecured Wifi ad nauseam, the most recent threat to mobile computing is our reliance on Cloud Storage. In the past few years, companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft have made cloud backups a standard part of their services. Since so much information storage is in one location, it creates a prime target for criminals to attack. This breach may not be a problem if you're backing up family photos or text messages from your sister. But files or other data from your business may have also found its way onto these mega servers without you even realizing it.
Up to this point, we have mentioned just a sample of the ever-evolving external cyber threats to your business. While an easy fix might be to hire someone who just graduated from a reputable university, the truth is, that may not be enough. A recent study showed that 40% of companies surveyed said that having employees with an applicable degree has shown not to be good enough to keep their systems safe. That same survey showed that less than 25% of applicants for cybersecurity positions were deemed qualified. If that’s how things look in your company, you may feel safe now, but you might be in danger for what’s coming over the horizon. Training someone to do the job well often takes over six months!
In line with the last point, an estimated 69% of companies will have an understaffed cybersecurity team, with a large portion of this being companies with absolutely no one in this role at all. What does this mean for a small business? Either people with no experience will have to fill this position, or there is nothing in place to protect valuable data from hackers.
The killer hiding in the back seat, sneaking in through the back door, or — even worse — he's already in the house are all clichés. Do you know what else a cliché might be? Letting your business fall victim to cyber-attacks. While not all attacks are avoidable, you're much safer from attacks if you prepare for them. Updated security software and regular data back-ups are invaluable in this process. Awareness of the latest threats is also beneficial. Just like in the movies, when a killer is loose, no one should feel safe.
If you need an extra layer of security, give us a call and let us show you the latest cybersecurity protection available.