Numerous reports from companies like Verizon and even Symantec show that small businesses are the targets of nearly half of all cyber attacks, but at the same time, more than half of all small business owners believe that their companies are too small to be victims. With this information in mind, it’s crucial for businesses of all sizes to ensure they are safe, and there are several ways to determine whether your company might be at risk.
What is a Cyber Threat
A cyber or cybersecurity threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal data, or disrupt digital life in general. Cyber threats include computer viruses, data breaches, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and other attack vectors. Cyber threats also refer to the possibility of a successful cyber attack that aims to gain unauthorized access, damage, disrupt, or steal an information technology asset, computer network, intellectual property or any other form of sensitive data. Cyber threats can come from within an organization by trusted users or from remote locations by unknown parties.
What are the Most Significant Cyber Threats
One of the most important parts of protecting your business from cyber attacks involves understanding the most common kinds of threats and what they could mean for your business. The three most common are:
- Viruses: Viruses spread from one PC to another - or from one network to another - replicating itself and spreading just like the flu. They can have all kinds of detrimental effects, including stealing data, shutting down networks, or rendering every computer in your business completely unusable. \
- Phishing: Phishing scams occur when cyber criminals send emails purporting to be from reputable companies to entice users to provide their personal (or in this case, confidential business) information, which may include passwords, credit card numbers, and more.
- Ransomware: Ransomware is exactly what its name implies - software that holds data on your network hostage until you pay a ransom. It is devastating for many businesses, and it has been responsible for the closure of thousands over the last two decades.
You Keep Your Employees Informed
If you don’t regularly take the time to talk to your employees about network and email security, there’s a good chance your business is not as protected as it should be. Once a week during your employee meetings, make sure that you are reminding everyone with access to your network about the dangers of ransomware, phishing, viruses, malware, and more. In fact, you can even phish test your employees with fake phishing emails that will help you discover how diligent your employees really are.
You Regularly Assess Your Network for Security Holes
Finally, one of the absolute best things you can do to protect your data and network is to have regular security assessments conducted by professionals. These rigorous and in-depth assessments go through your entire network looking for potential issues. Things like your firewall, server, password vault, and more can all provide hackers and cyber criminals with the entry point they need to place viruses or ransomware in the system, and while the best way to prevent this is to reinforce the areas where criminals are most likely to enter, it’s impossible to do this if you don’t know which areas need reinforcement. That’s exactly what network assessments do.
Cyber threats can have a tremendous impact on your business. In fact, with roughly 83% of small businesses lacking the funds to deal with the repercussions of a cyber
attack - which has an average price tag of about $3 million - it becomes clear that the best course of action is prevention, and thanks to today’s advanced technologies, there are plenty of ways to secure your network - and keep it secure.