It can happen when you least expect it. One minute you were checking your business emails, but you clicked a link sent from your “boss” that you should have thought twice about. Now, you’ve just become the newest phishing victim added to a long, long list of others. Emails, financial information, data, customer records, and everything else — literally everything — has been compromised. IT security risks for small businesses are real and preventable.
When IT security issues arise for big enterprises, they have the necessary budget and resources available to counteract them. For small businesses, it isn’t as easy. Companies this size sometimes don’t prioritize IT security as high as they should. Before they know it, it’s too late to plan for IT security problems, company data has already been breached, and employees are left to pick up the pieces.
Small Businesses Need to Be Mindful of These 4 IT Security Risks
If we know anything, it’s that every business, regardless of its size, needs to have a proactive plan in place to protect itself from IT security risks, along with a reactive one, too. Businesses never know when IT security problems will surface, but protection is the first form of defense. Here are four IT security risks small businesses can’t afford to ignore.
1) Bad things happen to every company: Your business’ stored data can be impacted by both malicious activity and events beyond your control. Earthquakes, floods, fire, outside theft, malware, and even insider threats can impact the safety of it. Precautions must be taken by ensuring the backup process is automated. Almost every business uses computer processing for at least one workflow or another. Can you afford to suspend business operations while the problem is rectified? Plan for long-term disruptions, and test it for holes.
2) Educate employees about cyber risks: One thing for certain is that cyber-attacks don’t discriminate. If you think your business is immune due to its small size, think again. Forty-three percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Businesses can lose everything, so it’s imperative employees are educated and know how to avoid this huge risk.
The Evolve team can help employees side step cyber-attacks and learn where they should start to watch, which would be their emails. Phishing in a common occurrence attempted by hackers to obtain account information, passwords, and other personal details. An employee would open an email with an unrealized malware attachment. Once the link is clicked, the hacker can infiltrate the network. Employees need to be trained not to open any email message that appears the slightest bit unusual. A look at the sender’s email address will prove whether or not the email is safe to open.
3) A lack of IT security policies: Creating policies directed towards online behaviour and use will help mitigate the risk of constant online threats. Evolve can assist companies with explicitly outlining appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, how data is to be shared and restricted, and anything else you think is critical. Have employees read the new policy and sign it, knowing there may be penalties for non-compliance. Clamping down on employees, if done forcefully, can inhibit creativity and productivity, though. Therefore, you must find the right balance between risk and reward.
4) BYOD environments: Many businesses have already started — if not finished — the transition of incorporating smartphones or tablets into everyday business use. Companies need to realize these devices represent new operating system platforms that have different security requirements than traditional hardware. Mobile device management software should be considered by companies who promote BYOD business environments. Security needs of the business will have to be balanced with the personal data usage of the device owners.
If you are migrating your IT to the cloud like other businesses have been doing, there can be many concerns around data privacy, cloud security best practices, and application trust authority. Cloud computing isn’t resistant to cyber-attacks. There’s the possibility of illegal local network access from cloud services, stolen data from cloud computing employees, data loss, privacy concerns, and data segregation from other customers. To avoid these pitfalls, businesses must have a reliable and trusted partner like Evolve to manage these issues.
Small businesses must be aware of online threats that can potentially disrupt their business operations. Planning and protecting against such risks will ensure businesses are prepared if something were to happen. Creating policies, automating backup processes, and educating employees will help small businesses reduce the risks associated with online use.
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