What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is the protection of internet-connected systems such as hardware, software and data against cyber threats, such as hacking, viruses and malware. It aims to reduce the risk of cyber attacks and protects against the unauthorised exploitation of systems, networks and technologies. It is sometimes also referred to as information technology security or electronic information security.
Why Cyber Security Is Important For Small Businesses
Small businesses are often the victims of cyber attacks. This is as they are especially vulnerable to cyber attacks as they usually don’t have adequate resources to protect themselves from these risks. Small businesses should take cyber security seriously as attacks can be devastating, leading to lost revenue and sometimes even closure.
What Makes Small Businesses Targets Of Cyber Attacks?
Small businesses don’t have the same budgets and resources as large organisations. So why are they common targets of cyber criminals? Here are a few of the main reasons:
- Sensitive Data – Hackers know that even small businesses hold sensitive customer data. This could be anything from credit card information, bank account details, medical records and national insurance numbers. Cyber criminals will either use this information themselves to get into bank accounts and make fraudulent transactions or they sell it on the Dark Web to other criminals.
- Money – Along with disruption one of the main reasons why cyber hackers target small business is to make money. This is why ransomware is one of the most popular forms of cyber attacks.
- Computer Power – Sometimes cyber criminals are just interested in using your small businesses computers and conscripting them into an army of bots which they will use when conducting DDoS attacks on other companies.
- To Harm Larger Businesses – Many small businesses are digitally connected to larger companies to complete transactions, manage supply chains and share information. Since larger businesses are usually tougher to hack, cyber criminals target smaller business who partner with larger companies as a way to get into their systems.
Common Types Of Cyber Attacks
Some of the most common cyber attacks that hackers use to target small businesses are as follows:
- Ransomware – Hijacks the data on a computer system by encrypting it and demanding that the owners pay money for it to be decrypted.
- Phishing – A cyber criminal pretends to be somebody in order to trick a user into disclosing sensitive information such as their username or password. This is commonly performed via an email pretending to be a genuine message from the victims bank.
- Software Vulnerabilities – Unpatched software can leave security loopholes in your systems that allow cyber criminals to gain access. It is important to perform regular security updates.
- Spyware – A type of malware that collects the activity on a computer and sends the data it collections to another person without the owner being aware. Infected computers could be sending back everything that is typed (including passwords), all the sites that are visited and even where the user is clicking on the screen.
What Can Small Businesses Do To Protect Themselves?
There are a number of steps that small businesses can take to help protect themselves from cyber attacks. These include:
- Train Staff – Over 50% of all data breaches are the result of human error. It is important to provide cyber security training for your employees and make them aware of the risks of cyber criminals and make them aware of your cyber security policies.
- Multi-Factor Authentication – Require all users to provide two or more verification factors during the login process. This is one of the most effective ways to prevent attackers from gaining access to protected data.
- Keep Software & Devices Updated – Unpatched software is responsible for many data breaches. Although it is time consuming, patching is one of the most important things you can do to protect your business from cyber criminals.
- Backup Data – The best way to protect your business from a data breach is to ensure your systems and data is backed up on a regular basis. This way your systems can quickly be restored. Lost data caused by security breaches cost small businesses millions of pounds each year.
- Create Access Control Policy – Every point of access poses a potential security breach. An access control policy manages who can access what information, where they can access it and when they can access it. Providing different levels of access rights to employees can help limit risk exposure and makes it easier to monitor and maintain systems.
Cyber security is a serious issue and it’s important to protect your business from hackers. Make sure that you have a good IT expert or work with a Local IT Support Company who can help protect your data and keep your systems secure. If you don’t know where to start, contact us today. You can all us on 0151 334 2542 or email us at email@example.com.