Why Cyber Security Needs to Be a Top Priority for Small Businesses

cyber security

Your business’ focus is to achieve its goals, market your products or services, and make a profit. However, neglecting your cyber security can pose massive threats to your business and the success that you have worked hard to achieve. These threats – from hackers and other sources – increase in complexity as new methods of infiltration develop. At the same time, companies make increasingly more use of online tools to assist with all kinds of operations. For example, employees can load data onto mobile devices for convenience. While this activity allows for increased business growth, it also increases liability. With such an upkeep in security to maintain, it is wise to rely on an IT security company to protect valuable assets. The IT service provider will supply professionals who keep themselves up-to-date on the latest trends in IT security.

Reason #1: Hackers are going after small businesses

If you think that your company is safer from cyber security threats because you’re ‘only’ a small business, think again. Sure, the hacking of big-name companies makes headline news, but the trend these days is to target small businesses. Yet small businesses disproportionately do not focus on cybersecurity, compared with larger companies. Some can even remain unaware that they are being breached until it is too late. Sometimes, hacking systems will save information little by little until a later point of attack, or use a compilation of stolen information from various sources. This common issue threatens the large-scale economy, as most new jobs are supplied by small businesses.

Reason #2: Getting hacked costs money

As a business, at the end of the day you want to see a high profit margin. Infiltration by hacking will punch a hole right through your bottom line. In an instant, all of your hard work can be compromised by a lack of care for security. On average, it costs businesses about $200,000per cyber attack. Think about the goldmine of data that may be held in your cloud storage and servers at this moment. Privacy policies protect your client’s information and make you legally responsible for it. Even attaining debit card information can accrue an incessant amount of fraudulent charges. Additionally, to clean up the mess, you will have to pay for attorney’s fees, loss of business, regulatory compliance fines, increased insurance fees, and perhaps loss of intellectual property.

Reason #3: Getting hacked tarnishes your rep

Your company’s name and image are perhaps its greatest asset. Clients care about using a company they trust, especially when it comes to giving them personal information. Relationships with your consumers are of the highest value, as revenue will decline if relations are damaged. Depending on the severity, not only can this cause major declines in sales, it can cause companies to go out of business. According to a report from insurance company Hiscox, 60% of companies that are cyber-attacked close their doors within six months. For example, a food-delivery startup called DoorDash Inc. suffered a tragic data breach, with approximately 4.9 million people affected.

How to protect your business

Hire an expert IT consultancy

Hiring a reliable and experienced IT consultancy is the best way to protect your business from cyber crime. Instead of delegating tasks of cyber security upkeep to staff who are likely less informed and experienced, it pays to outsource this task to experts. Not only do they stay up-to-date on the latest methods of cyber criminals, they have knowledge of and access to the best technology to safeguard you. For example, they will most likely have access to a much more powerful firewall than your small business’ budget can afford. Additionally, IT professionals have a deep understanding of laws and regulations for your region. They will test your system to ensure it cannot be penetrated and can set up your cloud and server systems, encryptions, and teach your staff best practices to avoid catastrophe.

Cyber security education for staff

Most infiltration happens at the lowest levels. Simple training or online tools and documents can make a massive difference when it comes to decreasing your cyber security risk. Scammers are aware that companies underestimate the importance of cyber security education, so it’s easy for them to attack this ‘low-hanging fruit.’ According to the Chubb Cyber Risk Survey Report, only 31% of companies bothered to engage in cyber security education for their employees. Overlooking such training is a serious mishap when it comes to protecting your business and its crucial data.

Dedicate time for maintenance

Cyber security upkeep may get lost in the mix of all the other tasks your staff must perform. Therefore, it is helpful to make it part of your normal routine. For example, set a time once a month to go over security protocols with the staff, update passwords and multi-factor authentication, and run security health checks and clean-ups.

Implement these common cyber security tips

As a basic foundation, here are a few tips to know about how to make your system more secure. First, you should undoubtedly have malware and antivirus software installed. Another simple, yet commonly overlooked security tip is to make strong passwords and to change them frequently. It should be obvious, but not doing so makes hackers jobs that much easier! You should also use encryption as much as you can; specifically, encrypt access to important files and systems with critical information. Encrypt devices themselves, especially when traveling with them outside of the office and carrying out work in public places. Use multi-factor authentication to be able to use the devices. Encrypt the wi-fi network. Lastly, regularly update systems and software, as it’s easier for hackers to get in by using old software.

Safety first!

As with anything, safety always comes first. With proper protection as your first protocol, you can eliminate problems that may cost a significant amount of money, your reputation, or your business itself. Following standard cyber safety tips and appropriately training your staff to mitigate risk is vital to your protection. Hiring an IT company to handle your cyber security needs will ensure the most complete prevention for your company, its employees, and its customers.