Wednesday, February 22, 2012
When most people think of cyber attacks, large multinational companies or government agencies come to mind, but small business are targeted, too. Often small businesses underestimate their own vulnerability or underestimate what is really at risk. Spending time and resources to put a preventative plan in place can help prevent a cyber attack. When cyber criminals attack small businesses it can be devastating to both reputation and revenue. Here are some considerations to minimize the threat of a cyber attack on your small business.
Why a Cyber Attack on a Small Business?
As larger companies invest in more sophisticated security, smaller businesses that have not taken adequate measures to prevent an attack end up being a path of least resistance into data that cyber criminals can use easily. Other factors that lead to a cyber attack on a small business include a:
· culture that feels immune to attack.
· less than adequate investment in even the most simple security measures.
· lack of training know the signs of a threat.
· lack of awareness of newer threats like social phishing.
Even the government recognizes the increasing risk to small businesses. According to the House Small Business Committee “The threat of hackers and data loss could get even worse for small businesses in the new year.”
What’s at Risk in a Small Business Cyber Attack?
Many small business owners think they are flying under the radar of a cyber criminal and may think that the data at the company isn’t worth the risk. Think again. Cyber attacks can come from the outside or from the inside, a disgruntled employee who knows how vulnerable the system is can do great damage. Whether the risk is from outside or within, some of the most common results of a cyber attack include:
· breach of confidentiality involving customer secure data resulting in a ruined reputation.
· a significant blow to the company’s credit rating after the attack is made public.
· website is unavailable interrupting revenue and other vital company communication.
How to Prevent Security Lapses That Could Leave You Vulnerable
Many small business owners can minimize threats by recognizing that they do exist even in a small business setting and then putting a plan in place that details how to reduce the threat. Investing in simple measures like the latest version of security software, locking laptops up at night, and creating a culture with ongoing training about security topics can help minimize the risks of a cyber attack.
Additionally taking advantage of free or low cost Internet resources on the topic can help pinpoint a plan of action that is right for your company. The Federal Communication Commission’s Small Biz Cyber Planner is one such tool that can help you get dialogue going regarding better cyber protection. Other ways to reduce the threat of a cyber attack in a small business setting include:
Ø creating documents that detail security measures that all employees will adhere to, even when working at home (such as not leaving a work laptop on the seat of a car in plain view).
Ø additional training to familiarize yourself with the most up to date cyber security information.
Ø install anti-virus software and ensure it is set to auto-update.
Ø modify your operating system settings so that important updates are applied automatically. If you can automate important updates like that you’ll be better protected since less manual attention is required.
While even the largest companies with the best prevention get hacked from time to time, there is no reason why your small business has to be an easy target. Cyber criminals more often than not are looking for a path of least resistance when stealing important data; take the extremely affordable steps to make sure your data is less accessible. Creating a culture that makes security everyone’s business can promote a more secure handling of company data. Additionally, making improvements in the software and hardware used to support cyber security can help prevent cyber attacks. As a small business, doing everything within your means to protect your company against cyber attack is part of an effective plan to keep ahead of the competition and secure your advantage especially in cut throat economic times.
This article was provided by Joe Schembri and VillanovaUniversity’s online security training program. Villanova helps security professionals earn designations such as the CISSP certification which is a globally recognized credential.
POSTED: 9:41:00 AM