As a smaller business owner, it’s easy to be lulled into thinking you’re not a target for hackers and other cyber bad actors as the apparently endless stories about cybersecurity breaches in the media involve major corporations. Hackers are only after the vast stores of customer data or sensitive information owned by major corporations, right? Cybersecurity consulting is not something you could possibly need.
The answer to all of this is simple: you probably do. While the most high-profile attacks involve large corporations, cybercriminals do not discriminate based on size. In reality, some of the biggest data breaches of the twenty-first century began at small organizations.
A cyberattack on a huge chain in 2014, which exposed the personal information of over 100 million accounts, was carried out through the network of a small, independent HVAC contractor who worked with the chain. And it devastated their business too.
The simple fact is that two-thirds (67%) of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees have experienced a cyberattack, and 58% have experienced a data breach. These data points demonstrate that all firms require a good cybersecurity plan. There is no shortage of cyberthreats aimed at small businesses, whether it be ransomware, DDoS (distributed denial of service), phishing, or another threat.
Small and medium-sized firms lack the huge finances and employee resources of large corporations. So, what makes them such a tempting target for hackers? There are several important reasons for this:
Your precious data: Hackers are aware that even small businesses traffic in data that can be easily sold on the Dark Web for a profit—customer contact information, medical records, credit card details, NI or Social Security numbers, bank account credentials, and proprietary business information and more.
Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to steal this information. They either use it to get access to bank accounts and make fraudulent purchases themselves, or they sell it to other criminals who will use it.
Your computing power: Some cyberhackers are only interested in utilizing a company’s computers and conscripting them into an army of bots to launch large DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks impair service to a firm or group of companies by artificially generating massive amounts of online traffic. The hijacked bots contribute to the disruptive traffic.
Your connections to the big fish: Businesses today are digitally linked to one another in order to perform transactions, manage supply chains, and share information. Because larger firms are theoretically (but not necessarily) more difficult to penetrate, hackers target smaller partners to get access to major companies’ systems.
Your money, plain and simple: When you think about it, cybercriminals primarily target small businesses—or any other company—for profit. Sure, some attacks, such as DDoS, are designed to cause disruption, but most are designed to make money.
This explains why ransomware is such a popular attack tactic. It frequently succeeds, resulting in revenue for the attackers. And as long as an attack method is profitable, hackers will continue to use it.
Cybersecurity is handled by entire teams at large corporations. Many smaller firms handle those efforts, if they are performed at all, by someone who most likely wears many hats in the day-to-day functioning of the business. As a result, small firms are particularly vulnerable to hackers. A cybercriminal only needs to be correct once. To prevent a successful attack, you must be ready to thwart hackers 100 percent of the time.
Small business owners must have a sound security policy in place to get peace of mind in today’s threat scenario. This level of preparedness begins with a thorough grasp of the present threats:
Phishing: A common entry point for ransomware or other viruses, phishing often works by tricking people into opening an email attachment or visiting a URL that contains a virus. Phishing has become increasingly sophisticated, and it can be extremely difficult to detect a bogus message as hackers target specific individuals with messages they can’t ignore.
Ransomware: Ransomware is one of the most prevalent ways used by hackers to target organizations. Ransomware encrypts data and locks computers, holding it hostage. To restore access to their data, owners must pay a ransom to a hacker, who will then give a decryption key.
Malvertising: An abbreviation for “malware advertising,” this is the practice of spreading malware to a network when a user clicks on an apparently genuine ad. Malvertising is difficult to detect due to the way it is disguised, however certain modern malware detection systems are getting better at it.
Clickjacking: This tactic, like malvertising, involves disguising hyperlinks to hacked webpages in legal website links. Users are then prompted to provide personal information that hackers have stolen for malicious purposes.
Drive-by downloads: This nasty tactic uploads malware into networks without the users’ knowledge. Sometimes users must respond to a pop-up window in order for the download to take place, but other times all you have to do is visit a hacked website unknowingly.
Software flaws: To spread malware, hackers use flaws in popular web platforms like WordPress, technologies like Java, and file formats like HTML, PDF, and CSV. System vulnerabilities can be exacerbated by a lack of updates.
Any firm that ignores cybersecurity is putting itself at risk. Customers, partners, and suppliers are all at risk as firms become increasingly linked.
At Pearl Lemon Consulting we work with all kinds of businesses on cybersecurity consulting. And while every single one of them is unique, there are certain issues and problems we see over and over again.
Businesses that experience security breaches almost invariably have at least one of these IT security vulnerabilities. Is your business guilty of any of these?
A startling number of businesses do not properly back up their data. According to market research firm Clutch, 60% of organizations that suffer a data loss close within six months. Could your business survive a major data loss?
The tech world is always evolving. Cyber attackers are always devising new ways to breach firms’ databases and IT systems, hardware changes faster than most people can keep up with, and old systems die due to wear and tear far more quickly than we would like.
Many firms wait until these concerns directly affect them before responding. As a result, expenses rise, downtime increases, and repercussions become more severe.
When you are proactive about your IT needs, systems do not have to break or become compromised before they can be repaired. As a result, your company will have less downtime, fewer losses, and lower IT costs.
Surprisingly, many people will choose the password “password” to protect their most critical accounts. Even more will write their own password on a post-it note and stick it next to their computer.
Tracking the individual accountable for reports or accountability becomes impossible with an insecure password or, worse, none at all. This can lead to both audits and technological disasters.
Humans are frequently the weakest link in cybersecurity.
Great cybersecurity can be undermined by this in a second. Think of it like having cutting-edge locks on a door that is then propped open with a milk crate. If personnel are not trained to utilize the lock, it is useless.
Cybersecurity training can assist employees in identifying a threat where it occurs, so avoiding and limiting damage, often totally.
Employees and businesses alike may be tempted to focus solely on the costs of devices and hardware purchased for the business. The reality is that the data stored on gadgets is usually worth far more than the device itself.
Many businesses haven’t modified their approach to data since the company was started. Critical data is frequently stored on single machines that have not been upgraded specifically because they contain critical data. Such machines are obviously vulnerable, out of date, and prone to failure.
You bolster your armament against all kinds of cybersecurity threats with a team of professionals when you work with the cybersecurity consulting team at Pearl lemon Consulting. Rather than reacting after the fact, they work to detect potential weaknesses. Instead of responding, they identify and prevent vulnerabilities.
When cybersecurity is handled internally, a single person or a small, overburdened team strives to keep up. When you collaborate with the Pearl Lemon Consulting team, our professionals will work with you and for you, allowing you to focus on your business tasks.
You can rely on the Pearl Lemon Consulting team to be up to date on the latest and greatest cybersecurity technologies. Our professionals receive the necessary training and attend security conferences, and your company benefits without having to lay out finite resources or waste precious time.
Our team will take the time to access your current IT and cybersecurity setup, perform a full threat assessment and talk to you about the specific needs – and challenges – your business faces.
We will also discuss just why you might have been lax on cybersecurity, as we often find that there are specific issues that businesses just don’t know how to overcome that need to be addressed. Only after this is all done will we begin to make recommendations.
However, we go even further than that. As we mentioned, no matter what cybersecurity technologies and tools you have in place, it is often individual user behavior, however unintentional, that puts the whole business at risk.
That’s why we provide the educational resources needed for every member of your team – ANYONE who works on your networks, even remote employees – to understand their role in preventing hacks and security breaches.
Ready to get the help you need to secure your business via expert cybersecurity consulting? Contact us today and let’s get started.
Are you ready to learn more about the benefits of partnering with Pearl Lemon Consultants for talent management consulting?
Get in touch with us right away and let’s chat about it.