Since the early days of the pandemic, there has been a 400% increase in cybersecurity attack complaintsOpens a new window reported to the FBI. Unfortunately, this has had a disproportionate effect on small businesses, as many had to move confidential information to the cloud or document-sharing platforms for the first time to adapt to the pandemic due to the rise in remote work.
While we more often see large corporations in the news as victims of a breach or cybersecurity attack, the truth is small businesses are more vulnerable. As a small or medium-sized business, it is a dire need that we implement a cybersecurity protocol. But most don’t know where to start to fend off attacks such as phishing attacks, malware attacks, ransomware, and compromised weak passwords.
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Why SMBs Are More Vulnerable
Smaller to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have fewer resources, both financially and in terms of bandwidth. There is not enough staff to prevent and deal with security issues, and attackers are not ignorant of this fact. They know this and intend to capitalize on that because they know that SMBs often hold sensitive customer information on-premise or in their private cloud infrastructure.
Unfortunately, SMB leaders are not always as aware as their cybercriminal counterparts. It’s often assumed that because there is less money and that a small business is unlikely to be known on a national or international scale, this works in their favor to ward off hackers.Â
However, it’s exactly that reason they’re the perfect target. We see smaller businesses be more complacent than large corporations and lax in implementing security practices or training. Their perception can be that they are too small to be worth attacking, which is also something attackers are aware of. That’s why cybercriminals identify and attack small businesses in bulk with endless phishing attacks.
Prevention Is the Best Protection
Unlike the data breaches of large corporations (like Capital One), SMBs often have a tougher challenge ahead of them when it comes to recovering from a cyber attack. In fact, these incidents can be not only devastating but also fatal. There’s a high price to pay for business interruption, data recovery, and the long-term effects of losing customer trust when their sensitive data is exposed.Â
We are not immune at UpCity either. Just over the past year, our small company has seen an increase in attempted denial of service attacks and phishing attempts. Being a small business ourselves, with nearly every one of our employees working from home, leaves us especially exposed to countless attacks. While there isn’t a way to guarantee that cybersecurity best practices will keep us safe from all attacks, monitoring your networks and servers in real-time, using strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and more will filter out or slow down criminals from targeting your business.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
While nothing these days comes without risks, more businesses are migrating to the cloud. According to ZDNetOpens a new window , perks such as disaster recovery, business continuity, flexibility, improving productivity, and lowering costs, are why many companies are leveraging cloud-based services.
Not to mention, investing in cloud-based software and security can help offset the costs that will inevitably rack up with standard business operations. Eliminating inefficiencies and streamlining tasks through cloud-based software is another way moving to the cloud helps eliminate costs for businesses. Keeping all of your work into one interconnected system (think email, documents, calendars, and more) will only help your team be more productive and organized.Â
It’s important to remember that the decisions you make for your business impact not only your company but also your customers. If your business falls victim to a security breach, that’s not only your data at risk but your customers’ as well. Recovering from a cyberattack is a headache, and some small business owners cannot bounce back from the consequences that come with them. The most damaging consequence of a data breach is the loss of customer trust. The data shows that for consumers, cyberattacks are personal. In fact, 92% of consumersOpens a new window believe that companies must protect their data, according to PwC.
Keeping Your SMB Safe
When it comes to keeping your organization safe from cyber threats, don’t underestimate the value of standard best practices. At UpCity, we ensure our team takes advantage of two-factor authentication and password managers such as Enpass or Dashlane. It’s also important to communicate how to recognize an attempt like a phishing attack.Â
Encourage your team to share if they’ve received an attempt, so that it can be passed around and the rest of the company has their guard up. And when it comes to customers, do not store their sensitive information on your computer. Keep their payment and personal information stored in another secure source.
Mitigating the Risks of Cloud Migration
Keeping up with cybersecurity best practices and welcoming tools, such as web application firewalls or content delivery networks, help protect against distributed denial of service attacks and more. It’s important to assess all of your options because, while migrating to the cloud does have its benefits, there are also risks.
First, when your company is migrating to a new system, it’s crucial to have a backup of all of your data. Unplanned events, such as a data breach or power outage or simply losing track of all the files you are migrating, can result in an unexpected loss of data. Unfortunately, there is no way of avoiding this â€” cybercriminals will follow the data, and with the rise of data stored on the cloud, it’s a prime target.
According to Inc.Opens a new window , small businesses can still reap many benefits by moving their IT processes and other data to the cloud. If security is a concern, you can still implement their policies with virtual private networks (VPNs), which is ideal for remote and hybrid workplaces, while also utilizing network security and malware protection from trusted cloud providers.
Migrating to the cloud doesn’t alleviate your business of cyber threats, but staying knowledgeable and continuing broader cybersecurity best practices can help your small business rake in benefits that outweigh the risks of the cloud. At the end of the day, make sure that you look into different cloud providers to find the one that fits your business’s specific needs and, in fact, does help you streamline workflow and stay safe.Â