When headlines focus on large enterprise breaches like the Optus breach, it’s easy for smaller businesses to think they’re not a target for hackers. Surely, they are not worth the time or effort?
Unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity, size doesn’t matter.
Assuming you are not a target leads to lax security measures in many SMBs who lack the knowledge or expertise to apply simple security steps. Few small businesses prioritize cybersecurity, and hackers know it. According to Verizon, the number of smaller businesses hacked has steadily increased over the past few years — 46 percent of cyber breaches in 2021 affected businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees.
Network security is not difficult
Protecting any business doesn’t have to be complicated or come with a hefty price tag. Here are seven simple tips to help small businesses secure their systems, people, and data.
1 — Install anti-virus software anywhere
Every organization has an antivirus program on their systems and devices, right? Unfortunately, business systems like web servers are often overlooked. It is important for SMBs to review all access points to their network and to implement anti-virus programs on every server, as well as on employees’ personal devices.
Hackers will find weak entry points to install malware, and anti-virus software can serve as a good last resort, but it’s not a silver bullet. Through penetration testing and continuous monitoring, you can identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities before hackers do, because it’s easier to stop thieves at the front door than they are inside. your house.
2 — Continuously monitor your circumference
Your perimeter is vulnerable to remote attacks because it operates 24/7. Hackers are constantly scanning the internet for weaknesses, so you should also scan your own perimeter. The longer a vulnerability is left unfixed, the more likely an attack is to occur. With tools like Autosploit and Shodan readily available, it’s easier than ever for an attacker to discover weaknesses in the internet and exploit them.
Even organizations that can’t afford to hire full-time in-house security experts can use online services like Intruder to run vulnerability scans to detect vulnerabilities.
Intruder is a powerful vulnerability scanner that provides an ongoing security assessment of your system. With over 11,000 security checks, Intruder makes enterprise-grade scanning easy and accessible for SMBs.
Intruders will quickly identify high-impact vulnerabilities, changes in the attack surface, and quickly scan your infrastructure for emerging threats.
3 — Shrink your attack surface
Your attack surface is made up of all the systems and services that come into contact with the internet. The larger the attack surface, the greater the risk. This means that exposed services like Microsoft Exchange for email or content management systems like WordPress could be vulnerable to brute force or credential stuffing attacks and recently discovered vulnerabilities. as everyday in such software systems. By removing public access to sensitive systems and interfaces that are not needed by the public, and ensuring 2FA is enabled where they do, you can limit your visibility and reduce significantly reduce the risk.
A simple first step to reducing your attack surface is to use a secure virtual private network (VPN). By using a VPN, you can avoid direct exposure of sensitive systems to the internet while maintaining their availability to remote workers. When it comes to risk, prevention is better than cure – don’t reveal anything on the internet unless absolutely necessary!
4 — Always keep the software up to date
New vulnerabilities are discovered daily in all kinds of software, from web browsers to business applications. Just one unpatched vulnerability can lead to a full system compromise and a breach of customer data; as TalkTalk discovered when 150,000 records of its private data were stolen.
According to the Cybersecurity Breach Survey, businesses that hold their customers’ electronic personal data are more likely to suffer a breach than average. Patch management is an essential component of good life hygiene, and there are tools and services to help you test your software for any missing security patches.
5 — Back up your data
Ransomware is on the rise. According to research by Sophos, by 2021, 37% of businesses and organizations have been hit by ransomware. Ransomware encrypts any data it can access, rendering it unusable and irreversible without the key to decrypt it.
Data loss is a major risk for any business due to malicious intent or technical failure such as hard drive failure, so data backup is always recommended. If you back up your data, you can fend off attackers by recovering your data without paying a ransom, as ransomware-affected systems can be wiped and restored. restore from an unaffected backup without the attacker’s key.
6 — Keep your employees secure
Cyberattackers often rely on human error, so it’s important that employees receive training in cyber hygiene so that they recognize risks and respond appropriately. The Cybersecurity Breach Survey 2022 revealed that the most common types of breaches were employees receiving phishing emails or phishing attacks (73%), followed by people impersonating the organization in email or online. online (27%), viruses, spyware and malware (12%). ) and ransomware (4%).
Raising awareness of the benefits of using complex passwords and training employees to detect common attacks like phishing emails and malicious links will ensure your employees are at their best. not a hole.
7 — Protect yourself at your own risk
Cybersecurity measures should always be appropriate for the organization. For example, a small business that processes banking transactions or has access to sensitive information such as healthcare data should adopt much stricter security practices and procedures than a storefront. pet.
That’s not to say that a pet store isn’t on a mission to protect its customers’ data, but it’s less likely to become a target. Hackers are motivated by money, so the bigger the prize, the more time and effort invested in achieving their benefits. By identifying your threats and vulnerabilities with a tool like Intruder, you can take the appropriate steps to mitigate and prioritize which risks need to be addressed and in what order. .
It’s time to elevate your cybersecurity game
Attacks on big companies dominate the news, which fosters the perception that SMBs are secure, while the opposite is true. Attacks are increasingly automated, so SMEs are just as vulnerable as larger businesses, and more dangerous if they don’t have security procedures in place. full. And hackers will always take the path of least resistance. Luckily, that’s the part where Intruder made it easy…
Intruder is a cybersecurity company that helps organizations reduce their attack surface by providing continuous penetration testing and vulnerability scanning services. Intruder’s powerful scanner is designed to quickly identify high-impact vulnerabilities, changes in the attack surface, and quickly scan infrastructure for emerging threats. Running thousands of tests, including identifying misconfigurations, missing patches, and web layer issues, Intruder makes enterprise-grade vulnerability scanning easy and accessible to everyone. Intruder’s high-quality reports are perfect for passing on to potential customers or complying with security regulations, such as ISO 27001 and SOC 2.
Intruder offers a 14-day free trial of its vulnerability assessment platform. Visit their website today to experience it!