Cybersecurity Habits That Shield Your Small Business

Entrepreneurs think a lack of customers, bad service, and limited capital is what makes bankruptcy. Try being a victim of cybercrime.

Entrepreneurs think a lack of customers, bad service, and limited capital is what makes bankruptcy. Try being a victim of cybercrime.

The National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60 percent of businesses that are victims of a cyberattack go out of business in six months. The average loss is $200,000, based on a 2019 report by insurance carrier Hiscox. That’s a substantial sum for startups, most of which are already staggering from the virus outbreak. Currently, 15 percent of small firms do not anticipate to survive the recession, which means a cyberattack would have devastating outcomes.

Here are cybersecurity habits that protect your business.

1. Train personnel on security protocols

While big companies get all the media attention, cybercriminals also exploit smaller organizations. It’s partly because hackers know that small firms have fewer resources to devote to IT security.

Because startups have leaner budgets, it’s necessary to achieve the right security protocols that alleviate most of the risk. Staff training should be at the top of the list. Knowledgeable workers make it hard for hackers to gain unauthorized access to networks, files, and bank information. Business owners or a security expert should train personnel to frequently backup data; update software; avoid suspicious websites and links, and ignore or report unsolicited requests.

Through training, personnel will know to use multi-factor authentication on devices and accounts. Lastly, trained workers reduce the risk of social hacking, where hackers pose as legitimate customers or vendors to retrieve sensitive data. Entrepreneurs and owners should keep themselves aware of ongoing threats.

2. Make your devices and platforms hacker-proof

Fraudsters have stolen $24 million worth of Bitcoin in the first half of 2020, based on the analytics firm Whale Alert. That’s a small amount in the grand scheme of things, but cryptocurrency theft has increased prominence since the recent hacking of Twitter accounts belonging to Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and other VIPs. Cybercrime also hurts billion-dollar reputations and credibility in addition to victims’ wallets.

“Theft of digital funds will continue to rise because scammers are using advanced methods to access devices, emails, social profiles, keyboard strokes, and even two-factor authentication codes,” says Ruben Merre, CEO of blockchain security firm NGRAVE.

So how do hackers steal multi-factor codes? They can exchange a phone’s SIM card, or install malware that tracks a device’s keystrokes and/or control an electronic screen. Hackers have also falsely described apps as having coronavirus-related functions to trick users into downloading malware. Hackers have recently targeted hospitals because they need to quickly access COVID-19 data makes it more possible they’ll pay the ransom when that data becomes inaccessible.

3. Install anti-virus and anti-malware software


Small businesses have restricted budgets and often lack IT expertise and resources. Low-cost solutions that have a major impact is the way to go.

Entrepreneurs should install the latest anti-virus and anti-malware software that finds and identify threats. You can also turn on Microsoft and Google security features such as firewalls, browser checkup, and file encryption to protect data.

Finally, your software and operating system should be kept up-to-date. Run a full scan weekly. Another inexpensive solution is a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN hides your IP address so you can surf the web anonymously. It’s more difficult for hackers to hack your hardware or accounts if they can’t track you. And delete all those unnecessary apps and software that are clogging your phone and laptop.

Crime is evolving, and business owners should adapt to the risks they face.

Source: Entrepreneur Asia Pacific