Throughout the United States, there has been a spike in cybercrimes. These crimes are a growing concern as they are a growing problem not only for individuals but also for small businesses that lack the security needed to protect themselves from these attacks. Are you a small business owner? If so, then your business can be at risk as well for a cyber attack that could be the end of your business. If you already have security, then is it sufficient to protect your finances, your employees, and your customers? Cybercrimes can take place in several different ways if there is even one entry point for criminals to exploit. For this reason, it is important to know how cyber crimes can occur, what can cause them, and how to protect your business from them.
For small businesses it is a never-ending concern of protecting your business from any misfortune, and for good reason. Sad to say, small businesses are an easy target for the main reason of having personal and financial information that cybercriminals want, and little to no protection to stop a cybercrime to obtain that information. In current society, the easiest form of attack is done online as thousands of small businesses have the misfortune of not being able to have the time to manage cybersecurity. If it’s not the time then you may not have the money to hire a cybersecurity team to guard your small business against cybercrime. With these time and money constraints, it is understandable you may feel that cybersecurity can wait until you’re in a better position to have money or time for it. However, before making a decision it should be known that according to the FBI the cost of cybercrimes against small businesses alone totaled up to $2.7 billion in 2018. That number amount has only gone up with time as there are many business owners, such as yourself, that don’t even know the most common threats to small businesses that can easily open them up to cybercrime. The most common are:
- Malware: A term for any software with the intentional design to cause damage to the computer system, server, or the entire computer network. Malware can also contain viruses and ransomware that can lead to more significant computer and system damage, as well as theft of information.
- Viruses: These programs are more dangerous than malware as they will spread from one computer to any, and all, devices that are connected through the same wifi, and computer system. Viruses will easily give cybercriminals access to a business’s computer system.
- Phishing: This kind of attack can appear harmless, but in reality, it is a cyber attack that uses innocuous emails and websites that can give cybercriminals access to the computer network the moment you click on the email or weblink. These emails and web links can seem to come from legitimate sources enticing potential victims to click on them, but in reality, they allow for the collection, and use, of sensitive information by cybercriminals.
- Ransomware: This is the worst kind of malware as it infects the entire computer system restricting access a business owner has until a specified ransom is paid to the cyber-criminal. Ransomware normally infects a computer system by being included in malware or through phishing emails.
The idea of falling victim to cybercrime can be daunting; however, with the right assistance, a cyber attack can be stopped, or prevented. Even if you think you can’t afford cybersecurity there are cyber security companies that are affordable, provides free assessments of current security, and works with the possible limitations of small businesses. One thing to keep in mind though is that hiring a cybersecurity company can only do so much. As a small business owner, you also have a part to play in ensuring the effectiveness of cybersecurity for your business.
- People and Monitoring: Hiring a cybersecurity company, or even using cybersecurity software, to scan your system for threats can go a long way in cybersecurity. However, they don’t always catch everything. Having a live person to analyze potential threats and identify unauthorized access, or use, of the computer system. A person can more effectively and efficiently address serious breaches of your cybersecurity keeping neutralizing potential threats.
- Budgeting: Naturally, every once in a while a small business can experience financial problems and a budget cut have to be made. As hard as things get, the one thing that should not be reduced is the money you pay for cybersecurity. It is advisable for every small business to ensure that there is always enough money to keep cybersecurity protecting the business, as not having cybersecurity in place can be even more costly if you fall victim to a cybercrime.