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5 things small businesses must do to protect themselves from hackers

By Reason Cybersecurity

on Sun Feb 14 2021

Until recently, small businesses were fairly immune to cyber attacks. Hackers and threat actors preferred to go where the money and valuable data are – large enterprises and high-profile organizations. That situation has changed, however, and cyber criminals are now targeting small businesses. As large businesses and organizations continue to ratchet up their cybersecurity with enterprise-level security solutions, threat actors are finding it very difficult to breach their perimeters. As a result, they’ve started targeting SMBs, which generally don’t have the resources for such powerful cybersecurity.

For SMBs, the consequences of an attack are particularly devastating; a cyber attack can cause loss of business, reputational damage, downtime, data loss, and more. Thankfully, there are security measures that SMB leaders can implement to protect their business. The most important of these are listed below:

Endpoint protection

Start with defending all of your office workstations with powerful endpoint protection. Free antivirus software isn’t adequate for SMBs because they usually lack the capabilities to deter more than just basic attacks. What’s needed is robust, comprehensive endpoint protection such as Reason Up Antivirus. For example, ransomware is one of the biggest threats facing SMBs today, but because Reason Up maintains and continually updates a massive database of malware samples, it is able to protect files and data by detecting ransomware and blocking unauthorized encryption processes.

Better spam filters and email protection

SMBs also have to contend with spear phishing which is a form of social engineering where hackers use advanced techniques to make the email look legit enough to convince their target to release confidential information. To combat these attacks, SMBs need to implement better spam filters and protection for their email applications than what standard free email accounts generally provide. 

Update security settings

Another vulnerability is compromised devices. Any device connected to your business network can be targeted and devices installed using common default usernames and passwords are especially susceptible to attack. Hackers use malware specifically designed to seek out these default credentials. Once the devices are breached, hackers will install their malware and remote access tools, which give them hard-to-detect and persistent access to your network. The solution to this problem is fairly simple: security settings should be updated to use unique logins and passwords, and Wi-Fi protected setup connectivity and remote management options should be turned off.

Stronger login credentials

On the same note, all login credentials should be strengthened. Cloud-based applications and software are a good case in point. While they have many desirable features that make them attractive to SMBs, they also have a security flaw that makes them vulnerable to attack: employees often use simple and the same usernames and passwords for all their accounts. 

As a result, hackers can use their massive databases of previously compromised credentials to try and hack other accounts. Password managers such as LastPass and KeePass (an offline alternative) can help employees strengthen and keep track of their login details. Two-factor authentication, which requires two forms of identification to log in, is another security measure that is highly recommended.

The human element

Another critical security issue concerns the human element of cybersecurity. Human error is still the main cause of security incidents with approximately 88% of corporate data breaches in the cloud. This makes awareness training for personnel security tools, managing logins, and avoiding phishing attacks, a vital part of every business’ cybersecurity.  Encouraging a cybersecurity culture is also crucial. Lastly, must follow the comply with data privacy laws. This will bolster your business’ security and help protect it from fines and litigation.

No time to waste

SMBs can’t waste any more time with cybersecurity. If they want to defend themselves against cyber attacks they need to get in step today with better cybersecurity strategies and tools. Furthermore, beyond the improved tools and strategies, SMBs must establish a cybersecurity culture that promotes employee awareness and responsibility regarding the severe cybersecurity dangers posed to SMBs today.