October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Is Your Business Making Any of These Cybersecurity Mistakes?
As we mark Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to recognise the significance of robust cybersecurity practices. The cyber landscape is evolving rapidly, and the tactics employed by cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated – staying ahead of potential threats is more critical than ever.
The size of your business does not exempt you from becoming a target. Many cybercriminals view SMBs as low-hanging fruit due to the perceived lack of resources and expertise to fend off attacks. Your attention will typically be focused on the growth of your enterprise, leading you to underestimate the risk of a data breach or regard it as an expense you cannot afford. Alarming statistics show that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are prime targets for cyberattacks. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), 43% of all cyberattacks target SMBs.
The good news is that cybersecurity doesn’t have to be a budget-busting endeavour. The majority of data breaches result from human error, which implies that enhancing cyber hygiene can significantly reduce the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.
Common Cybersecurity Mistakes to Avoid
To address this issue, it’s crucial to first identify the mistakes commonly made by SMBs, which they may not even be aware of. Here are some of the major reasons why small businesses often become victims of cyberattacks:
1. Underestimating the Threat
One of the most common cybersecurity mistakes among SMBs is underestimating the threat. Many business owners mistakenly assume that their companies are too small to be a target. This is a dangerous misconception, as cybercriminals often view small businesses as easy targets, believing they lack the resources or expertise to defend against attacks. It’s essential to understand that no business is too small for cybercriminals to target. Proactive cybersecurity measures are paramount.
2. Neglecting Employee Training
Small businesses frequently overlook cybersecurity training for their employees, assuming they will naturally exercise caution online. However, the human factor is a significant source of security vulnerabilities. Employees may inadvertently click on malicious links or download infected files. Employee cybersecurity training should encompass recognising phishing attempts, understanding the importance of strong passwords, and being aware of social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals.
3. Using Weak Passwords
Weak passwords are a common security vulnerability in small companies. Many employees use easily guessable passwords and reuse the same password for multiple accounts, which can expose sensitive information to hackers. Encouraging the use of strong, unique passwords and implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible adds an extra layer of security.
4. Ignoring Software Updates
Neglecting to keep software and operating systems up to date is another common mistake. Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems. Small businesses should regularly update their software to patch known security flaws, including operating systems, web browsers, and antivirus programs.
5. Lacking a Data Backup Plan
Small companies might mistakenly assume that formal data backup and recovery plans are unnecessary. However, data loss can occur due to various reasons, including cyberattacks, hardware failures, or human errors. Regularly backing up critical data and testing the backups for successful restoration in case of data loss incidents is essential.
6. No Formal Security Policies & Incident Response Plans
Many small businesses lack formal security policies and an incident response plan, which can lead to employees being unaware of how to handle sensitive data and respond to security incidents. To address this, small businesses should establish clear security policies covering password management, data handling, incident reporting, remote work security, and more. Additionally, developing a well-defined incident response plan is essential to ensure a coordinated and effective response to cybersecurity incidents, including communication strategies and clear procedures for isolation and command hierarchy.
7. Ignoring Mobile Security
As more employees use mobile devices for work, mobile security becomes increasingly important. Implementing mobile device management (MDM) solutions to enforce security policies on company- and employee-owned devices used for work-related activities is essential.
8. Failing to Monitor Networks Regularly & Not Outsourcing Managed IT Services
SMBs without dedicated IT staff to monitor their networks for suspicious activities may experience delayed detection of security breaches. Installing network monitoring tools or outsourcing network monitoring services can help promptly identify and respond to potential threats. Partnering with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) is recommended as they offer cost-effective cybersecurity solutions, expertise, advanced tools, and continuous monitoring to enhance cybersecurity defences for SMBs.
9. Regular Security Audits and Assessments
Conduct regular security audits and assessments to identify vulnerabilities in your network, systems, and processes. This proactive approach helps you address potential weaknesses before cybercriminals can exploit them.
10. Cybersecurity Insurance
Consider investing in cybersecurity insurance to help mitigate financial losses in case of a cyberattack or data breach. Review policy options carefully to ensure adequate coverage for your business.
Oasis Intelligent It Solutions Can Assist
By avoiding these common cybersecurity mistakes and implementing additional security measures, SMBs can significantly reduce their vulnerability to cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity awareness and proactive measures are crucial to safeguard your business’s digital assets, reputation, and long-term success. Don’t wait until it’s too late; invest in cybersecurity now to secure your business’s future.
Oasis Intelligent IT Solutions is here to help you take a proactive approach to safeguarding your business’s digital security. Our goal is to ensure that your company can flourish without the burden of concerns about potential threats to its success.
Contact us at email@example.com & (011) 784 9167. You can find us at 117 11th Street, Parkmore, Sandton, Johannesburg.