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How SMBs Get Breached By Cyber Criminals: A Guide For Small Businesses

Your SMB has a lot of different priorities to juggle: managing growth, customer delivery, keeping up with legal requirements, managing its finances, and much more. It’s understandable why, for many SMBs, cyber security doesn’t take a priority-position, but it’s something worth spending time on understanding and consolidating in your business.

The main objection we’ve heard when it comes down to not prioritizing this is something like ‘we’re too small to be targeted’, but this really isn’t the case! 43% of cyber-attacks target SMBs, which is due to the increasingly accessible and scalable attack tools available to cyber criminals on the dark web.

This blog is your flashlight into the murky alleys of cyber threats, shining a light on how small businesses get breached and what you can do to keep your digital doors locked tight.

The Low-Hanging Fruit Syndrome

Imagine walking into an orchard, you’re likely going to go for the easiest fruit to pick! Cyber criminals do the same, except small businesses are the orchard, and the low-hanging fruit is their data, owing to weak security measures.

Many small businesses think they’re operating under the radar, thinking they’re not worth the attention, but to a cyber criminal, they’re an easy score. It’s not always about getting the biggest catch; sometimes, it’s about getting the easiest one.

The Methods Used By Cyber Criminals To Breach Your Data

Cyber criminals use a number of different routes to make inroads into your data. Here’s just some of them:

Phishing Email Attacks

This is the email-equivalent of trick-or-treating, except there’s no treat, just a trick lying in store for your business. Phishing emails are sent out in masses, baiting employees to click on malicious links or attachments. The disguise? These emails can often look like they’re from legitimate sources. Phishing is one of the leading causes of business data breaches worldwide, not just in Mahoning County and Ohio!

Password Cracking

Using weak passwords is quite like leaving your front door unlocked in a busy neighborhood. Cyber criminals use brute force attacks, where they try thousands of password combinations until they find the right one. If very simple and repetitively used passwords are being used in your business, this can present a hefty risk for your business.

Exploiting Outdated Software

Having outdated software in your business is like having chinks in your business’s digital armor; while vendors will continually update their products to shield their clients from cyber threats, if your business does not keep its software up-to-date, the latest vulnerability-exploits being used by cyber criminals may find a fateful match.

Insider Threats

Sometimes, the threat comes from within. Disgruntled or careless employees or those with access to sensitive information can intentionally or unintentionally become the source of a breach. It’s the plot twist you didn’t see coming, highlighting the importance of controlling access to your data, removing inactive user accounts, and monitoring network traffic amongst other measures.

Fortifying Your Digital Fortress

Now that we’ve identified the breach pathways, let’s talk about turning your business into a robust fortress against today’s cyber threats with some cybersecurity best practices:

  • Education is Key: Start by educating your team about the dangers of phishing scams and the importance of not clicking on unknown links or attachments. Regular training sessions can transform your employees from potential security vulnerabilities into vigilant guardians of your digital domain.
  • Conduct a Password Power-Up: Implement strong password policies, encourage the use of password managers, and introduce multi-factor authentication (MFA). It’s like adding a moat and a drawbridge to your castle; the more barriers, the better.
  • Stay Up-To-Date: Keep your software and systems up-to-date. Automate updates where possible to ensure you’re always running the latest versions. It’s the cyber equivalent of evolving your defenses against new threats.
  • Limit Accessibility: Not everyone in your company needs access to all your information. Use the principle of least privilege, granting access only to those who need it for their specific roles. It’s like giving keys to only certain doors, rather than the master key to everyone.
  • Back It Up: Regularly back up your data. In the event of a breach, having a recent backup can be the difference between a quick recovery and a prolonged nightmare. Consider it your emergency evacuation plan.
  • Partner with Pros: Sometimes, you need to call in the cavalry. Partnering with cybersecurity professionals can provide an added layer of defense, offering invaluable expertise and resources that your small business probably does not have in-house.

The Silver Lining

Here’s the good news: protecting your business from cyber threats doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. By understanding the common ways small businesses get breached and taking proactive steps to strengthen your defenses against these common threat channels, you can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim and keep focusing on what you do best.

The key takeaway is to remember that being small doesn’t mean being invisible to threats. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can ensure that your small business is fortified against the cyber threats at play today, ensuring they’re left on the curb. With the right precautions and cyber security partner, you can safeguard your business, customers, and future success against cybercrime.

We’re Cyber Express – Exceptional IT Support, Cybersecurity and Technology Solutions for Ohio Businesses

From our home in Boardman, Cyber Express provides IT support, technology management, cybersecurity services and class-leading solutions to businesses across Youngstown, Mahoning County, and the wider region. Our approach to IT support ensures our clients enjoy a proactive, friendly, and tailored service that addresses key challenges and delivers growth-enabling technology. Get in touch today to discuss your IT support or computer repair needs. Our friendly team can’t wait to take your call.