7 Common Business Cybersecurity Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
As a small business owner, it's easy to fool yourself into thinking you're not at risk of cyberattacks. After all, criminals only go after big targets, right?
Well, think again. Small businesses still hold sensitive data like credit card details and personal information. And without a security expert on staff, you're more likely to make common business cybersecurity mistakes.
Want to make sure your business is capable of keeping hackers off your network? Start by avoiding these seven cybersecurity pitfalls.
1. Using Weak Passwords
Cybercriminals are often thought of as super-skilled hackers. Sometimes, though, all they need to do is guess the right password.
On one hand, this isn't a surprise. In this digital era, we all have numerous passwords to keep track of. The easiest solution—and the most inadequate one—is to use simple passwords or repeat them across accounts.
For cybercriminals, this is like a free buffet. All they need to do is to run a brute-force attack to go through a list of common passwords. They can also scour your social media profiles for further hints about your habits.
The solution: use unique passwords that are hard to guess. Every password should include random words, numbers, and symbols. Use a password manager to avoid having to memorize everything.
2. Not Using Antivirus Software
Antivirus software can be a great security measure against common cyber threats. Of course, this is only true if you know how to use it.
First, you need to install an antivirus on all computers in your network. Any weak point in the system can allow hackers to get in. You can use the software that comes with your OS or invest in a third-party option.
Once you have the antivirus software installed, you can't ignore it. Like most digital security tools, antivirus solutions become obsolete quickly. If you don't update them on time, your system will be vulnerable.
For best results, set up your network so that it updates your software automatically. Beyond antivirus tools, this includes updating your firewalls, spam filters, operating systems, and so on.
3. Ignoring Two-Factor Authentication
Security experts swear by two-factor authentication (2FA). Despite that, many businesses still aren't taking advantage of this technique.
Here's the thing: no matter how good your passwords are, they can still fall into the wrong hands. Hackers can use phishing scams to steal login details. Right now, these attacks make up the majority of all social attacks.
That's where 2FA comes in. Think of it as an extra layer of protection between you and bad actors. Every time you try to log into your account, you'll need to respond to an alert to confirm your identity.
With this security method, the hacker won't be able to do anything even if they steal your password. However, you'll get an alert that warns you about the potential threat and allows you to respond to it in time.
4. Ignoring Backups
Backing up data can help make your system more resilient to cyberattacks. That's true even if you only have a few computers in your network.
As long as you use backups, you'll always have a healthy copy of your data. If there's an incident wiping or encrypting, you can simply restore your backup. Beyond providing security, this is great for your peace of mind.
Of course, restoring recent data means your backups must also be recent. That involves regular updates, preferably once every 24 hours. For best results, store your backups in an offline location as well.
5. Leaving Your Network Unmonitored
Setting up your network with the right tools is a big step toward protecting business data. That said, you also need someone to monitor the network.
As simple as this may seem, it's anything but. For starters, you need to know which devices are a part of your network. Once you've figured that out, you'll need to keep these devices protected by installing the right updates.
The thing is, internet-connected devices don't just include computers. Your network may also contain POS machines, IoT devices, security cameras, and more. Any of these devices can be a weak point in your network.
Another thing to watch out for is irregular behavior on your network. For instance, are you seeing attempted logins from outside your office building? If so, there's a good chance you should investigate it.
6. Not Investing in Cybersecurity Training
Training in cybersecurity can go a long way. Even if you only have a few employees, they need to know how to identify malicious activity.
These days, it only takes one error to put an entire network in danger. Someone can click on a suspicious link and install malware. Someone else can fall victim to a BEC scam and lose a lot of money.
Given these dangers, it's easy to see how cybersecurity training can keep both your employees and customers safe. In some cases, this training may be essential for regulatory compliance.
Keep in mind that cybersecurity training comes in many forms. Choosing the right course depends on various factors. These include your current level of cybersecurity experience, mode of training (in-person or online), etc.
7. Not Having a Response Plan
At the end of the day, having a solid data security strategy is only one part of the puzzle. The other part: knowing what to do if the strategy fails.
See, even the best strategy won't provide complete data protection. Hackers have many avenues of attack, from installing ransomware to conducting espionage. If they do breach your network, you need a response plan.
A response plan must outline how to identify, contain, and eradicate a threat. It must include the recovery steps to take once you've resolved the issue. It should also be accessible if your network ends up going offline.
Avoid These Common Business Cybersecurity Mistakes
If your business can't respond to a cybersecurity attack, the consequences can be devastating. In some cases, you may even have to close permanently. The above article will help you prepare for the unexpected.
Need more help with avoiding common business cybersecurity mistakes? Our IT security experts at Bulletproof can bolster your IT defenses! Contact us here to learn more about what we can do for you.
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