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Small Business Cyber Security Risks and Best Practices

Cyberattacks have become more frequent and sophisticated, putting businesses of all sizes and industries at risk. Small businesses are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals, as they often have weaker cybersecurity defenses than larger enterprises but contain much of the same types of sensitive information. According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses, and 60% of those victims go out of business within six months of the attack.

Small businesses need to be aware of the common cyberthreats they may face to best combat these risks. Phishing, business email compromise (BEC), malware, insider threats, and password attacks are some of the most significant cyberthreats. Phishing uses deceptive emails or other electronic communication to manipulate recipients into sharing sensitive information, clicking on malicious links or opening harmful attachments. BEC scams entail a cybercriminal impersonating a seemingly legitimate source, using these emails to gain the trust of their target and tricking the victim into engaging in compromising activities. Malware is a general term for unwanted software or programs that disrupt normal computing operations, collect information, and control system resources. Insider threats involve workers with access to sensitive information exploiting existing security weaknesses, while password attacks result from weak or easily guessed passwords or using the same password for multiple accounts.

To limit the risk of cyberattacks, small business owners should implement the following cybersecurity best practices:

  1. Employee Education: Workforce cybersecurity education is essential to teach employees to identify phishing attacks, social engineering and other cyberthreats.
  2. Security Software: A network firewall can prevent unauthorized users from accessing company websites, email servers, and other sources of information accessed through the internet. High-quality antivirus software can detect and remove malicious software and provide protection from various online threats and security breaches. The latest patches and updates should be installed as soon as possible to limit cybercriminals’ opportunity to exploit any network vulnerabilities.
  3. Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Important accounts, including email, social media, and banking apps, should require MFA to limit the opportunity for cybercriminals to steal data.
  4. Data Backups: Essential files should be backed up in a separate location, such as on an external hard drive or in the cloud.

Small businesses should take protective measures to secure all company, personal, and financial information as cyberthreats become more frequent and severe. Employee education, security software, multifactor authentication, and data backups are essential cybersecurity best practices that every small business should implement.

In conclusion, cyberattacks pose a significant threat to small businesses, but there are ways to limit the risk. Small business owners should be aware of the common cyberthreats and implement cybersecurity best practices to protect their sensitive information. With the proper cybersecurity measures in place, small businesses can continue to operate safely and securely.