Why Cyber Security Is Essential For Your Small Business's Success
Why Your Small Business Needs Internet Security
As the world becomes more reliant on technology, especially in the post-COVID era, cyber attackers are finding new opportunities to exploit technologies for their personal gain. Hackers have a growing number of targets available to them and few targets are as valuable as small businesses, which can house sensitive customer information, and are too often unprepared for a cyber-attack. At Optimum Business, we believe now more than ever that small businesses need Internet security.
More than 4,000 cyber-attacks happen every day. Many businesses are impacted by these attacks and data breaches are increasingly commonplace. Cybercrime costs businesses trillions of dollars each year, and the amount continually increases. Statistics show that of small businesses who face a major cyber-attack, 60% of them would be forced to shutter. Small businesses are often less likely to take extra security precautions due to their inexperience with technology or because they have budget constraints, and that is why hackers are more likely to target them.
5 Best Practices For Small Business Cyber Security
So, how do small businesses help protect themselves from cyber-attacks? The answer to that question starts with five best practices companies of any size should follow.
It’s smart to have a team of IT specialists who can help protect your business and fix problems that may arise, but they shouldn’t be the only ones ensuring they’re prepared, especially if an IT staff is not something your business has available. Business owners and operators need to be educated as well.
Most of the time, security issues occur because of one of the following:
- User error
- Social engineering
- Web browser exploitation
What this means is, even if a business has password-protection on anything and everything they can, security breaches can still happen. Even with two-factor authentication in place, a cyber-attack can still penetrate through security walls if business owners and employees aren’t following best practices. Users who have access to sensitive systems can be tricked to providing access or mistakenly downloading malicious software that has been designed to look like it comes from a legitimate source.
On top of staying educated yourself, your entire team of employees should be educated about potential security issues as well. By learning to stay safe online, your employees are protecting themselves, your customers, and the company. It is critical they know how their company processes, stores, and shares data in order to stay safe.
Armed with the right knowledge, employees will understand that there can be substantial consequences for what seem like minor mistakes, such as losing a work device in a public location, visiting questionable websites at work, or leaving their computer unlocked while away from their work station. They can also benefit from being able to better identify potential threats in the first place, such as phishing emails that are designed to look like it’s from a legitimate source but are in fact malicious.
Businesses need more than anti-virus software
Anti-virus software is more important than it as has ever been and all businesses should have an anti-virus solution. However, anti-virus protection will only prevent from specific kinds of cyber-attacks and will not provide any security against common risks such as user error and social engineering.
Additional security measures can be taken at the network level, with security solutions such as DDoS protection and DNS filtering:
- DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service, a type of cyber-attack that uses several compromised devices at once to ping a specific network location in an attempt to overload it. A DDoS attack can take down your entire network, preventing any communications in or out.
- DNS stands for Domain Name Service, the layer of the Internet that connects IP addresses to domain names like google.com. With DNS filtering in place you can ensure that when there is an attempt to direct you to a known malicious domain, as is common in phishing attacks, your network automatically prevents you from establishing a connection in the first place.
Set up a recovery plan
Let’s say a cyber-attack happens to break through the several walls of security that you’ve set up. Do you have a backup and recovery plan?
If data is backed up and there is a plan for how to recover anything that may have been lost or held ransom in an attack, your business will always be safe from the catastrophic scenario of total data-loss. In the United States, one report found that 45% of companies paid hackers who held their data ransom in an attempt to recover it, but sadly, only 26% of those companies had their data returned.
Having a backup plan also applies to your network connection. Should an attacker target your entire network, a wireless fallback connection via 4G LTE can save you from any downtime. Wireless fallback connections allow you to switch your network over to an entirely different Internet connection via cellular service, ensuring that even if your hardline is down that you can keep your business connected without any hiccups.
Having insurance for a small business is one of the most straight-forward ways to counteract cyber-attacks. Whether it is computer terminals, tablets, routers, or any other business device that can potentially be compromised, insurance provides peace of mind that any device can be quickly replaced without the concern of a sudden substantial cost to the business.
It is important to understand that insurance is often a last resort, and that it can only save you from hardware issues. Insurance is not going help save you from any data-loss or corrupt software. However, with other security measures in place, it can complement an end-to-end security plan that prevents many of the worst-case hacking scenarios.
One of The Best Small Business Internet Security Solutions
Faced with the need to protect your business, the natural question is: where to start? If you start with Optimum Business Secure Internet, security comes built-in to your connection. We offer integrated DDoS protection and DNS filtering without the need for any additional hardware or software.
With DDoS protection, we can stop attacks before they even happen. Our active-monitoring system is constantly checking for any potential network threats and can often see suspicious activity before it ever hits your network. We’ll also send you a monthly report that lets you know how many attacks we stopped from affecting businesses across our network footprint – just to remind you that we are always silently working in the background to keep you safe.
With DNS filtering, we’ll alert you when a website you’re trying to view is blacklisted. You’ll be presented with a notification in your browser that will alert you the domain you’re attempting to visit is unsafe, and that you may have been subjected to a phishing scheme.
The seamless integration of security and connectivity is what sets Optimum Business apart from the competition. When it comes to digital security there are a litany of ways to protect your business but an Internet connection that has security built-in at the foundation is one of the simplest, most straight-forward ways to get started. Contact us today to learn more.