Cybersecurity isn’t just important to large corporations; it’s essential to every small business, too. Whether you run an online store or have an offline brick-and-mortar shop, cybersecurity measures can help ensure that your business has the protection it needs against hackers, malware, and other digital threats. These measures might take some time and effort to put in place, but they’re worth the investment to make sure your company’s information doesn’t get compromised or stolen. Read on to learn more about why cybersecurity is so important for small businesses like yours.

Why SMBs are an inviting target
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are more likely to fall victim to cyberattacks, because they don’t have extensive security procedures in place. Ransomware attacks—when hackers encrypt a company’s files, demanding a ransom be paid to unlock them—are on the rise: 45% of SMBs experienced a ransomware attack in 2021, according to Ransomware Defense Study.

Why you shouldn’t ignore the threat
Cybersecurity is a big deal these days, but when you have little to no security in place at all, it can be easy to shrug off. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics and using a growing arsenal of tools and methods. With that said, we’re seeing three main ways they’re breaking into businesses’ IT systems: phishing, malware and SSO attacks.

How cybercriminals find targets like yours
Cybercriminals, also known as hackers, are always on the lookout for new victims to exploit. How do they find them? Small businesses typically aren’t protected by enterprise-level defenses that big companies use, leaving them susceptible to attacks by phishing and social engineering (also known as social or spear phishing). Because they’re vulnerable, cybercriminals can easily target these kinds of businesses with little fear of getting caught. So what is a social attack exactly?

How do you know if you were hacked?
The first sign that you might have been hacked is a sharp spike in server load or network activity, which can cause severe lag. Even worse, if a hacker has gotten into your WordPress-based site and is using it to host malware or phishing pages, you’ll likely see an increase in spam email going out from your domain. In most cases, you’ll notice that something is wrong with one of these things happening – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

What can you do to protect yourself?
Put your data on cloud storage using something like Dropbox or OneDrive. You can also utilize password sharing sites to help you manage unique passwords that are still difficult to crack. Two-factor authentication is also an option if you want to prevent brute force attacks against your business’ accounts. Lastly, it may be time to invest in a security solution that offers SSO (single sign-on) with centralized administration across different devices and platforms.

There’s no such thing as being too careful
Cybersecurity is vital to protecting our personal information, as well as that of our clients and customers. Cyber criminals are constantly evolving their methods, often combining attacks with other threats, like malware and phishing. Don’t risk falling victim—make sure you stay up-to-date on security best practices at all times. Here are a few easy steps to take

Start with these steps from a security professional

  1. Back up all of your data frequently (daily) and check them regularly
  2. Encrypt sensitive information on laptops and other devices
  3. Use an SSO solution with a built-in password manager to create strong passwords and secure access to your business applications
  4. Avoid opening email attachments from people you don’t know
  5. Use Two-Factor Authentication when available
  6. Always update security software
  7. Monitor network activity
  8. Have a disaster recovery plan in place
  9. Train employees on how to detect phishing scams and attacks
  10. Ensure all endpoints that connect to your company’s critical apps and data
  11. Regularly test your backups
  12. Make sure everyone understands what they should do if they suspect a breach
  13. Keep track of who has physical access to your office
  14. Protect against social engineering
  15. Take advantage of free tools like O365 Advanced Threat Protection
  16. And finally, never forget: You can never be too careful with cybersecurity!
  17. Get help from a professional security consultant

Ransomware has been in the news a lot lately, as criminals use it to extort money from businesses and individuals alike. But this isn’t just an issue affecting large companies; ransomware can be used to attack small businesses just as easily, even if they don’t have the proper protections in place to protect themselves against these types of threats. Fortunately, you can avoid being a victim by taking the time to learn about ransomware and how it works so you can recognize its threats before it’s too late.

Ransomware Explained
Ransomware is malware that, once installed on a computer or server, will encrypt files and hold them hostage until a ransom is paid. They spread through phishing scams and exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software—most notoriously Microsoft Office. In many cases, there’s no decryptor available if you’re hit with ransomware; your only option to regain access to your data is to pay up.

The Dangers of Ransomware
Ransomware is one of several types of malware—computer programs designed to disrupt normal computer activity, gather information, or gain access to private computer systems. Ransomware is among one of the costliest forms of malware for small businesses; an attack could cost your business anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over $10,000. It can take small businesses weeks or even months to recover from a ransomware attack because it often takes hours of work by IT professionals to restore files and get back up and running again. And that’s not including any costs associated with lost productivity, which can also be significant. For example, research shows that organizations infected with ransomware have reported losing an average of five days worth of data and $1.6 million in total costs due to recovery efforts.

How to Avoid Getting Hit by Ransomware
While there are ways to avoid getting hit by ransomware, it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. Cybercriminals know that if they target small businesses individually with high-quality phishing emails and attachments, there’s a chance that at least one company will fall for their tricks. You can prevent small business ransomware attacks by implementing a multi-layered security strategy that includes strong perimeter protection, mfa and single sign-on, employee training, data backup and disaster recovery plans.

How to Protect Against Getting Hacked
It’s time for small businesses to go on offense against cybercriminals. Phishing scams, ransomware, and other malicious attacks cost small businesses tens of thousands each year, while potentially exposing confidential data to competitors. NetResults can help with easy to implement and cost-effective solutions to keep your business safe and secure.