Many small business owners go above and beyond when it comes to protecting their business. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on physical security features, such as security cameras, security tags (RFID tags, ink tags, etc.). and barred doors and windows. However, many small business owners fail to protect themselves from a less obvious (but equally ominous) threat: malicious software (often shortened to malware).
For those that aren’t familiar, malware is a type of dangerous software that’s used by cybercriminals to obtain sensitive data from casual users and businesses. Exposing your work device (or devices) to malware can drastically slow them down, making it difficult for you and your team to work efficiently.
Getting rid of established malware can be extremely challenging, even for experienced cybersecurity experts. That’s why you need to protect your business from malware and other cyberthreats proactively. However, before you can effectively protect your small business from cybercriminals, you need to understand why it’s getting targeted. Taking the time to identify your cybersecurity mistakes can help you avoid preventable (and expensive) incidents from occurring in the future.
You’ve probably read the headlines or heard the stories before; large corporations and franchises get hacked all of the time. These companies are prime targets for hackers because they can obtain large quantities of sensitive data. However, hacking into a large business is a lengthy process that can take months or even years (depending on their level of cybersecurity).
In contrast, many small business owners don’t suspect that they’ll fall victim to cybercrime, like adware or a keylogger. Because of this, they don’t take the time to set up an intensive cybersecurity system. That’s why small businesses are attractive to cybercriminals: they’re generally more vulnerable.
Thankfully, you can make your small business less susceptible to cyberthreats by simply downloading a high-quality antivirus program. Modern antivirus programs have the ability to secure your PC and data privacy by automatically scanning your device for known and potential cyberthreats, which makes protecting your devices quick and straightforward.
Although there are several free antivirus programs on the market, you’ll get the best results by investing in a premium antivirus program — the additional protection can potentially save your business thousands of dollars down the line.
Your Business Deals with Sensitive Information
As mentioned above, the primary reason that cyber-attackers target businesses is to obtain personal or financial data. Hackers can use this data to commit identity fraud or sell it on illicit platforms.
If you work in one of the following fields, your business is particularly prone to hacking:
- Finance (investment firms, accountants, etc.)
- Game developers
However, cybercriminals aren’t just after your customer’s data — they’re also interested in your employee’s information. Failing to implement the essential cybersecurity features can compromise your employee’s financial data (credit card numbers and banking info), personal information (name, address, etc.), and health records.
This means that you should think twice before storing sensitive information on your work device.
Spear Phishing Scams
Many small business owners are too focused on day-to-day tasks to stay up to date with the latest cyber scams. However, there’s one issue that all small business owners should be wary of: spear phishing scams.
For those that don’t know, a spear phishing scam is a tactic used by hackers to obtain sensitive information or data from businesses. This is done by the hacker posing as an authoritative group or individual (government official, IT specialist, etc.) then requiring the business owner to share network credentials like usernames and passwords. Once the hacker has the credentials, they can access your business’ information without being identified. For this reason, you can see why you should never share your sensitive information over a digital platform, like email.