Warning: Small Businesses are Under Cyber Attack

Are You Prepared?

3 essential tips you can use to protect your business from cyber attack.

Small Businesses are under attack at an alarming rate in 2019.  According to a report by Small Business Trends, the risk of an attack is high and few business owners are prepared to handle it.

33,000 websites are infected everyday and over half are Small Businesses.

Here is a quick look at the current landscape and 3 essentials things you should know to protect your business.

The Stats: (from Small Business Trends Report)

  • 43% of cyber attacks target small business
  • 86% of business feel their ability to handle these threats are not adequate
  • 60% of small businesses go out of business within 6 months of a cyber attack
  • 55% of respondents in the Small Business Trends survey reported they experienced an attack in past year

It’s tragic that a cyber attack could be the cause of a business shuttering in the aftermath.  Not all those who are victims will have to close their doors, but that doesn’t mean it stings any less.

“Everything was shut down,” recalls Rob Stein, President of the popular designer golf brand Donald Ross Sportswear. “They got into our network and encrypted all of our computers.  We couldn’t do anything about it and were basically held hostage. I never want to go through that again.”

“I’m a small local business, I couldn’t believe I was a target, ” states Megan Panus, Owner and Operations of boutique animal grooming salon Bark Avenue.  “Somehow my website was infected with malware, which could have spread to my customers.  I rely on my website to bring in new business so it could have been a disaster. Luckily we caught it quickly but I would’ve been devastated if it caused anyone an issue.”

While there are no 100% bulletproof answers to keep all risks at bay, there are some essential things you can do to ensure you are prepared to the best of your abilities. Here are 3 things anyone can implement to mitigate risks on cyber attacks.

1. Know Common Threats

Attacks can come from many different fronts and it can be daunting trying to understand the difference ways.  SQL Injections, Phishing, Social Engineering, Cross-Site Scripting + Cross-Site Request Forgery, and Denial of Service (DDoS) may perk the ears up of a seasoned Cyber Security professional, but generally business owners eyes glaze over when these terms come up.  Our President, Jon Brennan, put together an Overview of Online Security webinar covers the must know points in an easy to digest format.  It is free and will leave you with a solid educational foundation of threats and general tips that can be applied easily.

The Department of Homeland Security created the National Cyber Awareness System to build risk awareness and help people understand how to mitigate threats and vulnerabilities.  The detailed reports and analysis are probably overkill unless you’re a “techie” but they do offer an email alert system that delivers timely information about security topics and threats along with tips you can use.  You can subscribe here for free.

2. Have A Plan

Once you understand what cyber security dangers exist, having a plan in place to help you reduce your risk is easier to tackle and implement.  For those who like to dot all i’s and cross all t’s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers a Small Biz Cyber Planner as an online resource to help small businesses create customized cyber security plans.  It’s free and comprehensive, covering all points you really should have a plan for.

For a more bite sized snacking approach, or looking up specific threats, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has advice and resources available.  They even have a video section with popular topics you can browse.

Between these two, the modern business owner can create a solid plan without the cost of hiring an enterprise security firm.

3. Educate Yourself and Employees

Once you know the threats and have a plan in place, it’s important to spread the word and make sure everyone in your organization is aware.  The best of plans won’t be useful unless people know what they’re supposed to do or handle situations when it comes to cyber security.  Set aside an hour or have a lunch and learn to go over and review what best practices you are establishing.

It’s also just as important for you to educate yourself on how things are currently handled.  We speak with many business owners that don’t know who has access to their website host or who does. Some don’t even know who has access to their domain name – essentially the name of the company on the web.  If you don’t know yourself, you basically lost your keys to your business online.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]These tips are an excellent starting point to lay the groundwork to reduce the chances of a cyber attack and give you the tools you need so you’re not left hung out to dry if you do experience a cyber attack.  If you have any questions on any of these points you can always drop our Squad a note and we’d be happy to answer them.    Go forth and feel confident you’re safer with these steps put into action!

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