Every business that makes use of the internet needs some kind of digital security measures. Failure to do so can result in a loss of money, time, and customer loyalty. In 2021 alone, the average cost of a data breach among companies was as high as $4.24 million per incident.
Small businesses in particular open themselves up to 30% more threats than larger ones because they don’t have basic business security measures.
Part of the reason behind that statistic is not allocating enough money to improve scam protection and online security. They may also feel that it’s easy enough to avoid cyber threats if they’re not dealing with large amounts of data.
However, it turns out that some of the biggest cybersecurity threats can actually come from within your company.
Common Threats Small Businesses Face
The internet is full of threats, such as viruses and malware. However, the chances of running into those are relatively low as long as you avoid clicking risky links or visiting strange websites.
There’s a much higher chance that your company will become vulnerable as a result of its own lack of action towards improving network security.
1. Using Outdated Software
More often than not, companies and individuals will continue using a piece of software as long as it doesn’t give them any big issues. Some that still get used, even though support has long been discontinued, include Windows 7 and Office 2010.
However, software gets replaced with newer versions all the time to add more than just features and functionality. They also come with improved virus protection. Refusing to take the time to replace your outdated software not only leaves you more vulnerable but can cost you money down the line.
2. Not Updating Modern Software
In addition to replacing outdated software, companies also need to install updates as they come along.
Software updates can include security fixes, enhanced features, and better compatibility with your other applications. The more advanced the system, the harder it is for hackers to get access. In fact, part of the reason companies release so many updates is to combat the constant influx of new viruses.
3. Lack of Virus Protection
Viruses can get into your systems through any of your network interactions. Even if your company blocks the more problematic websites, your employees could still download a virus by accident by clicking a random link in an email.
Antivirus software scans incoming files or code that passes through your network and quarantines or deletes anything suspicious. Most software also operates in the background, so you don’t have to give it any thought other than when you download updates.
4. Old and Outdated IT Equipment
Updating your business security goes further than software. Most modern software is reliant on newer technology that has more power. Without the appropriate power, programs can take much longer to run or even fail on you.
Although it’ll cost you time and money to migrate your information onto new equipment, you’ll also get ahead of any future technical issues. You’ll know when it’s time to upgrade when your outdated IT equipment starts to cost you more than upgrading them would.
5. Simple Passwords
You’d think it’d be obvious to use a more complex password for your private information, but not everyone considers how easy it is to bypass it. Password1 and Qwerty123 are just two of the 20 most common passwords used on the internet.
Don’t go for something related to information about yourself available online, like your birthday. Instead, utilize a password manager that will remember much more complex strings of letters and numbers.
6. Lack of MFA
In addition to a secure password, most pieces of software implement at least one additional form of security. The most common one that computer users will see is multi-factor authorization (MFA).
With MFA, users are required to enter a PIN sent to their other devices. The PIN is a one-time unique code, and only the person with the associated device has access.
7. Nonstandard Devices
Smart technology is a convenient addition to any office space. However, they’re not always built with the idea of security in mind.
If an individual gained access to your network, your computer security measures could prevent them from going any further. Meanwhile, your smart TV has nothing like that set in place.
8. Incorrect VPN Configurations
A virtual private network (VPN) allows users to send and receive data securely across a shared network, regardless of where they’re located. It creates an encrypted connection between user devices and a server, which means their web traffic isn’t exposed on the open Internet.
As such, remote workers can safely interact with your business programs and systems without exposing your network.
Educating Your Staff
In addition to setting up additional security measures and upgrading its technology, your company needs to educate its staff on cybersecurity best practices. All it takes is one response to a scammer for your company to become vulnerable.
Some of the most common tricks used to hack passwords include phishing, social engineering attacks, and malware.
Teach your employees basic phishing protection behaviors. They should never trust alarming messages without confirming with a higher up. Don’t open attachments from unknown senders, and avoid clicking embedded links.
Most importantly, your employees need to implement common sense before handing over any kind of sensitive information.
Improve Your Scam Protection and Online Security
All of these basic improvements seem like a lot when laid out in front of you. You’ll need scam protection, phishing protocols, and other forms of cybersecurity put into place. However, they’re all essential for a business of any size to avoid running into trouble from cyber threats.
DSS can help get you started. Our IT services include managed IT, cybersecurity services, and HIPAA compliance. Contact us to learn more.