Network breaches at corporate giants typically make headlines, but nearly half of small and mid-sized businesses have been victims of cybercrime on America’s Main Street. And “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” doesn’t apply. Big companies often survive to fight another day, but many smaller businesses go out of business within six months of an attack.
“While network breaches at Sony, Target and Anthem grab the spotlight, nearly 44 percent of small businesses have already been affected by cyber attacks,” says Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at WatchGuard, a leading cyber security company. “Hackers are zeroing in on your favorite burger joint, the corner hardware store and your dentist. Every small business is a target.”
Small and mid-sized businesses often have limited resources to devote to network security, and typically have smaller safety nets. But four simple steps can help such businesses secure their valuable data and help keep their customers’ information safe:
• Software patches: This is one of the most important steps a small business can take. More than 90 percent of Internet exploits leverage old flaws. Take advantage of free software updates from manufacturers to patch your operating system and other applications, and apply firmware updates to your hardware.
• Upgrade your protection: Despite sophisticated new cyber threats, many small businesses still rely on basic firewall technology. Advanced security devices include next-generation firewalls and unified threat management appliances that are designed to stop today’s broad array of attacks. What’s more, these technologies are now cost-effective and easy for small businesses to manage.
• Strong password policy: Make sure you and your employees use strong passwords, and that the same one isn’t used everywhere. Adopting a password manager for your organization is an easy way to help employees use effective passwords and keep them safe.
• Awareness training: All the defenses in the world may not prevent an employee from making a silly mistake. Train your employees on Internet safety so they’re wary of attachments or links in emails, even if they seem to come from people they trust.
To learn more, you can download a new free ebook “The Cyber Crime Guide for Small and Midsize Businesses,” at http://secure.watchguard.com/CyberCrime-eBook.html.
Don’t become a statistic. With small steps, you can better protect your business against cyber threats.(StatePoint)