Small business owners who choose to discount the risks associated with a cyber attack or data breach could be making a very serious error. From social engineering to the vulnerabilities found within outdated software, identifying the biggest threats to their digital infrastructure is often the first step in ensuring that businesses and commercial organizations are able to take whatever steps are necessary in order to address the situation.
The cyber attack risks and threats that are specific to small businesses are a concern that no organization can afford to take lightly.
Phishing and Social Engineering
Manipulating users into giving up their password or account information is one of the most common ways for a data breach to occur. Businesses that fail to educate all staff, employees and associates could be placing themselves at far greater risk. Good password habits, such as changing passwords frequently and maintaining different passwords for each user account, may be of limited use to individuals who fail to comprehend the risks associated with phishing or social engineering scams. Training programs and ongoing education are often essential for ensuring that users do not become lazy or complicit in their efforts to safeguard passwords and account information.
Viruses and Malware
Social engineering represents a more focused and hands-on attack while viruses and malware typically occupy the other end of the spectrum. What software-based attacks lack in specific focus they make up for in sheer volume. Networks, systems and even specific digital devices that may contain a software virus or other form of malware could end up compromising a business’s entire digital infrastructure and allowing such threats to go unnoticed could prove to be nothing short of catastrophic. Utilizing a firewall and making use of anti-virus applications is not always sufficient and businesses stand to benefit by providing additional training to their users or seeking out other resources able to provide a superior level of protection.
A relatively new type of threat, ransomware attacks have been on the rise in recent years. These attacks use distributed malware in order to attack large numbers of computer networks and systems. Once a device has been infected, the malware uses powerful encryption protocols in order to lock the user of device owner out of their data or account. Ransomware victims are then instructed to supply payment or lose access to their data permanently. Businesses make for very inviting targets for a ransomware attack because a larger network with multiple users will typically offer multiple points of attack and commercial organizations are more likely to have the funds needed to provide attackers with a larger payment.
Botnets and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
A DDoS attack functions by overwhelming a website or network with more traffic than it is able to accommodate. While these attacks are occasionally the work of large number of users, the use of so-called software “bots” may allow even a lone individual to orchestrate and coordinate an effective attack. DDoS attacks can be very harmful, especially to organizations that cannot afford to be taken off-line for even a short period of time. Sophisticated resources and professional IT services and solutions are often the only effective option for businesses as improving user habits and employee education will have little to no impact on the situation.
Unpatched or Outdated Software
Older software and applications that may be overdue for an update or patch often contain serious vulnerabilities. Business owners who lack the technical understanding needed to better maintain their network and infrastructure would do well to seek out assistance from a professional. Even diligent efforts to maintain or update digital working environments may be insufficient for organizations that employ a wide range of software applications as part of their workflow process. Creating an IT department or contracting with a professional or firm able to offer endpoint detection and response services ensures that underlying vulnerabilities are able to be addressed and any issues that may arise can be resolved before they have the opportunity to create larger problems.
Digital Security Solutions
Finding ways to enhance and improve digital security can often be well worth the time, effort or expense involved. Even a seemingly minor security risk could prove to be a massive liability. Seeking out the tips and resources that may allow business owners to better protect themselves and their organization can be an important step towards minimizing the risk of a cyber attack. A data breach or malware incident can cause lasting damage and small businesses would do well to take whatever steps are required in order to better protect themselves.
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