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10 Biggest Cybersecurity Mistakes of Small Companies

Sophisticated cyberattacks can be launched by cybercriminals. However, it’s often the lackadaisical cybersecurity practices that facilitate the majority of security breaches, particularly when it involves small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Small business proprietors frequently do not give precedence to cybersecurity measures. They might be solely dedicated to expanding their company, assuming that they have a lower risk of experiencing a data breach, or deeming cybersecurity as an expense they cannot afford.

Nonetheless, cybersecurity is not exclusively a concern for large corporations; it is an imperative issue for small businesses as well. Small enterprises are often viewed as appealing targets for cybercriminals due to several perceived vulnerabilities.

Statistics reveal that 50% of SMBs have fallen victim to cyberattacks, and a staggering 60% of them have been compelled to shut down their operations as a result.

What’s encouraging is that cybersecurity need not be financially burdensome. The primary cause of most data breaches is human error. This is actually promising news because it indicates that enhancing cybersecurity practices can substantially mitigate the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.

Are You Making Any of These Cybersecurity Mistakes?

In order to tackle this problem, your initial step should be identifying the issue at hand. Frequently, teams within small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are inadvertently making errors without full awareness of them. Here, we outline some of the primary factors that render small businesses susceptible to cyberattacks. Continue reading to discern whether any of these scenarios resonate with your company.

1. Underestimating the Threat

Among the most significant cybersecurity errors made by SMBs is the underestimation of the threat environment. Numerous business proprietors hold the belief that their company’s size renders it an unlikely target. Yet, this is a perilous misconception.

Cybercriminals frequently view small businesses as vulnerable marks, assuming that such enterprises lack the necessary resources or knowledge to repel cyberattacks. It is paramount to recognise that no business, regardless of its size, is immune to the attention of cybercriminals. Taking a proactive stance in cybersecurity is of utmost importance.

Cybercriminals often see small businesses as easy targets. They believe the company lacks the resources or expertise to defend against attacks. It’s essential to understand that no business is too small for cybercriminals to target. Being proactive in cybersecurity is crucial.

2. Neglecting Employee Training

Have you recently conducted cybersecurity training for your employees? Small businesses frequently overlook the importance of educating their staff about cybersecurity. Owners often assume that employees will inherently exercise caution when navigating online.

However, the human element presents a substantial risk in terms of security vulnerabilities. Employees might unintentionally click on harmful links or download infected files. Training in cybersecurity equips staff to:

  • Recognise phishing attempts
  • Understand the importance of strong passwords
  • Be aware of social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals

3. Using Weak Passwords

Small businesses often face a prevalent security weakness in the form of feeble passwords. A significant number of employees tend to employ easily predictable passwords, frequently reusing the same password for multiple accounts. This practice can potentially jeopardise the security of your company’s confidential data.

It’s worth noting that individuals reuse passwords approximately 64% of the time. To enhance security, it’s advisable to promote the adoption of robust and distinct passwords. Additionally, consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever feasible, as it introduces an extra layer of protection.

4. Ignoring Software Updates

Small businesses might lack structured data backup and recovery strategies, possibly due to the mistaken belief that data loss won’t affect them. However, data loss can manifest for various reasons, encompassing cyberattacks, hardware malfunctions, or human mistakes.

It is advisable to consistently create backups of your company’s vital data. Additionally, it’s essential to verify these backups by testing their successful restoration in the event of data loss incidents.

5. Lacking a Data Backup Plan

Small businesses might lack formal data backup and recovery protocols, often due to the unfounded assumption that data loss is unlikely to affect them. However, it’s vital to recognise that data loss can stem from a range of factors, such as cyberattacks, hardware malfunctions, or human blunders.

To mitigate this risk, it is advisable to consistently back up your company’s essential data and, crucially, assess the reliability of these backups by conducting restoration tests in preparation for potential data loss events.

6. No Formal Security Policies

Small businesses frequently function without well-defined protocols and guidelines. In the absence of clear and enforceable security policies, employees may remain unaware of essential information, such as the proper handling of sensitive data, secure utilisation of company devices, or the appropriate response to security incidents.

It is advisable for small businesses to institute official security policies and procedures, ensuring their dissemination to all employees. These policies should encompass topics such as:

  • Password management
  • Data handling
  • Incident reporting
  • Remote work security
  • And other security topics

7. Ignoring Mobile Security

With the growing reliance on mobile devices for work purposes, the significance of mobile security has risen substantially. Unfortunately, many small businesses tend to disregard this crucial facet of cybersecurity.

To address this concern, it is recommended to implement mobile device management (MDM) solutions. These solutions are designed to enforce security protocols on devices, whether they are company-owned or employee-owned, that are used for work-related tasks.

8. Failing to Regularly Watch Networks

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may lack the presence of dedicated IT personnel to oversee their network operations and promptly detect suspicious activities, potentially leading to delays in identifying security breaches.

To address this challenge, it is advisable to deploy network monitoring solutions or contemplate the possibility of outsourcing network monitoring services. This approach can significantly enhance your business’s ability to swiftly pinpoint and address potential security threats.

9. No Incident Response Plan

When confronted with a cybersecurity incident, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) lacking an incident response plan may find themselves in a state of panic and potentially respond inadequately.

It is imperative for SMBs to establish a thorough incident response strategy that delineates the necessary actions to undertake when a security incident unfolds. This plan should encompass communication strategies, isolation protocols, and a well-defined hierarchy of authority.

10. Thinking They Don’t Need Managed IT Services

Cyber threats undergo constant evolution, with new attack methods emerging on a regular basis. Small businesses often struggle to stay updated in this ever-changing landscape, yet they often perceive themselves as “too small” to invest in managed IT services.

It’s crucial to recognise that managed services are available in a range of package sizes, some tailored to accommodate SMB budgets. Engaging a managed service provider (MSP) can help safeguard your business against cyberattacks and, simultaneously, yield cost savings by enhancing the efficiency of your IT infrastructure.

Learn More About Managed IT Services

Don’t jeopardise the security of your business due to a cyberattack. Managed IT services might be a more cost-effective option for your small business than you might realise.

Contact us today to arrange a chat.

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