Security Risks That Small Businesses Should Know About

by HSG on Mar 13, 2019 in
 
One of the biggest threats facing small businesses right now is cyber security. Hackers have figured out that small business don’t have robust systems; therefore, they are easy for the picking. If you are a small business owner, you know how limited your resources are. As such, every dollar counts. Therefore, you can’t afford to lose customers, deal with lawsuits caused by data breaches or pay IT help staff to try to fix the issue. Below are some of the IT risks faced by your business and potential consequences. Try your best avoid them at all costs. 
 
1. Phishing 
 
This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to detect if a hacker is trying to get into your system. If you happen to receive an email that claims to be from a financial institution and asks you to provide certain data, ignore it. In fact, delete it. This is because once you make the mistake of opening such a mail or clicking the link provided, you provide a gateway for hackers to penetrate your system and steal information. For this reason, it's vital that all employees  are aware of such emails and delete them without clicking on any links.
 
2. Passwords 
 
Another way that hackers can attack a small business is by cracking system passwords. If the hackers manage to crack the password of even a single employee, they can use that person’s account to gain unrestricted access to confidential company records. Therefore, tell your workers that they should never forgo strong password creation procedures. They should take their time to create a password that can’t be easily cracked. 
 
3. Vulnerable Devices 
 
In your small business, you probably use printers, routers, and other electronic hardware to execute office tasks. Most of the time, such pieces of hardware are connected to your firm’s network. If you have not updated the software on these machines, hackers can use them to gain access to your network and steal invaluable information. Therefore, make sure that you install patches in all electronic devices connected to your network. 
 
4. Lack of Data Encryption 
 
In the modern age, you can send information through various electronic devices. Some of those machines can have inbuilt security features to protect the data while others may not have. Data from the vulnerable devices can be easily intercepted by hackers. If the information is your password, your network is no longer safe. To counter such interceptions, always encrypt your data before your send it. 
 
5. Seemingly Misplaced USB Drives 
 
Some hackers will infect a USB drive with malware and then drop it outside your offices. An unknowing worker may pick up the drive and use it on a company computer. Immediately the drive is plugged in, it releases the malware and creates a unique access point for the hacker, allowing them to steal information. To avoid such a scenario, warn your employees against using any USB drives without a proper source. 
 
 
Managing a small business means that you’re a lean, mean business machine. Often, it’s just you and a few trusted staff members. This is the reason, business owners need to have solid knowledge of where and how most important data is held. Whether it’s on site, in traditional desktops and servers, or in cloud services or mobile devices including those "BYOD" devices of your employees, in order to avoid risks, always pay attention to your enviroment. It's important to make sure that you regularly update your system, train your employees, update software and fix bugs. Often, many IT issues are caused by the smallest, almost unapparent mistakes that will affect how a program runs or a web page looks. You might not see IT as your highest priority, but in the right hands, it can become your most powerful tool for growth. 
 

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