Common Cybersecurity Mistakes by Small Businesses

Cyberattacks have been on the rise in recent years, and small businesses have been a popular target. As a small business owner, a huge part of ensuring the safety of your business involves taking step...
Common Cybersecurity Mistakes by Small Businesses
Written by Staff
  • Cyberattacks have been on the rise in recent years, and small businesses have been a popular target. As a small business owner, a huge part of ensuring the safety of your business involves taking steps to protect it from cybersecurity threats.

    A study by the National Small Business Association found that 50% of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack, with an average cost of $20,000 per incident. This shows the importance of cybersecurity considerations for small businesses. In this article, we will explore some of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes small business owners make, as well as steps you can take to protect your business. 

    Why should small businesses care about cybersecurity?

    Cybersecurity is important for small businesses because they often have limited resources and knowledge when it comes to protecting themselves online. This helps them to be seen as easier targets for cybercriminals. A cybersecurity breach can result in the loss of sensitive customer information, leading to legal consequences, or simply a loss of money and reputation. 

    What are some common cybersecurity threats that small businesses face?

    The nature of cyberattacks changes rapidly, but some common threats include: 

    • Phishing attacks: This includes fraudulent emails or messages that trick users into revealing sensitive information such as passwords and access to bank accounts. 
    • Ransomware: This is malicious software that encrypts a business’s files and demands a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key.
    • Malware: This is any type of software designed to harm or exploit computer systems or devices.
    • Insider threats: These are the unfortunate cases in which employees or contractors intentionally or unintentionally compromise security by stealing or mishandling sensitive information.

    What are some common cybersecurity mistakes made by small businesses?

    These are among the most common cybersecurity mistakes made by small businesses and ways to keep your website safe, including:

    • Using weak passwords, or the same password for multiple accounts
    • Not regularly updating software and systems to their most recent versions 
    • Failing to educate employees on cybersecurity best practices, leading to potential mishandling of sensitive data
    • Not implementing multi-factor authentication for sensitive accounts
    • Not backing up data regularly, meaning that in the event of a cyberattack there are no back-ups and the information is gone forever
    • Failing to monitor networks and systems for signs of a cybersecurity breach

    What should small businesses do in case of a cybersecurity breach?

    Small businesses should have a plan in place for responding to cybersecurity breaches. They should already be making regular back-ups to minimise the disruption by an attack, but additional steps can include:

    • Contain the breach: Isolate the affected systems to prevent further damage.
    • Investigate the attack: Figure out the scope and extent of the breach and try to identify the cause.
    • Notify affected parties: If sensitive information was compromised, such as leaked customer data, notify affected parties as soon as possible.
    • Patch the breach: Either do this within the company or outsource this task to cybersecurity professionals. 
    • Learn from your mistakes: Try to identify areas for improvement in the organisation’s cybersecurity practices. You can hire ‘ethical hackers’ to test your business’s cybersecurity for weak spots, helping to prevent future attacks. 

    Should small businesses outsource their cybersecurity needs?

    Small businesses can consider outsourcing their cybersecurity needs to a third-party provider that specialises in cybersecurity. This can help small businesses who may lack the resources or expertise to manage their own cybersecurity. Although it is an additional cost, it may end up saving your small business’s money and reputation in case of an attack. 

    However, it is important to choose a reputable and trustworthy provider, so make sure to monitor their reviews. Try to find a company that understands the unique needs and challenges of small businesses, instead of simply choosing a company that looks good on paper but may not be a good fit. 

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