Part of the American dream is to have a successful small business. This dream can turn into a nightmare when cyber attackers exploit vulnerabilities and ruin your organization’s credibility at the blink of an eye. Small businesses are just as susceptible to cyber attacks as larger businesses, if not more, because they often lack the resources to implement robust cybersecurity measures.
The following are the top 5 challenges that small businesses face in cybersecurity and the solutions to these challenges:
#1 Lack of Resources and Expertise
Problem: Small businesses are often constrained by budgetary concerns. They may not even have dedicated IT staff or the bandwidth to hire cybersecurity experts. Lack of an IT team can make it difficult to implement consistent cybersecurity measures to protect against cyber attacks.
Solution: A small business can train employees on basic cybersecurity best practices, such as:
- Strong password management
- Two-factor authentication
- Identifying red flags for phishing scams through training exercises
Small businesses can also leverage free or low-cost security tools, including anti-virus software, firewalls, and security software. These resources protect against malware and other cyber threats. If the budget allows, small businesses can outsource their cybersecurity needs to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). These can provide the necessary expertise to ensure the organization is secure.
#2 Phishing Scams
Problem: Cyber criminals love phishing scams. This common tactic is used to harvest personal information. Small businesses are the target of choice; they are seen as easier targets than companies with strong and consistent security protocols.
Solution: Implementing an email filtering system to block suspicious emails is the first step to avoiding phishing scams. Training employees to identify phishing scams and report them to IT is a great second step. Lastly, implementing two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to user accounts.
#3 Lack of Employee Awareness
Problem: Regular cybersecurity training can be pricey. Small businesses may not have the resources to provide consistent cybersecurity training. This can lead to employees being unaware of the risks associated with cyber attacks, such as phishing scams, that can leave the organization vulnerable.
Solution: With some sleuthing on the internet, a determined employee can design regular cybersecurity training programming for coworkers to educate them on the risks associated with cyberattacks. Many former cybercriminals are eager to give up their secrets for views and likes. Every employee should know the basic signs of suspicious activity to report to IT or a supervisor. Training can include regular email updates, webinars, and even in-person training sessions with a cybersecurity consultant.
#4 Third-Party Risk
Problem: Small businesses often rely on third-party vendors for a multitude of business services such as accounting, legal, and IT support. These vendors may have access to the business’s sensitive information, making them a potential target for cyber attacks.
Solution: Small businesses can protect themselves from third-party risks by conducting due diligence on any third-party vendors before working with them. This includes reviewing their security policies and ensuring they have adequate security measures in place. Additionally, small businesses can include cybersecurity requirements in their vendor contracts, such as mandatory security audits and regular security updates, for peace of mind.
#5 Lack of Data Backups
Problem: Small businesses may not have a comprehensive data backup strategy in place, leaving them vulnerable to data loss in the event of a cyber attack or other data loss event.
Solution: Data loss can devastate a small business and can lead to a lack of trust and a bad reputation. Small businesses can protect against data loss by implementing a data backup and recovery plan. This should include regular backups of all critical business data to an offsite location, such as a cloud-based backup service. Small businesses should test their backup and recovery plan regularly to ensure it’s functioning as intended and can be used in a data loss event.
Small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to cybersecurity. By implementing basic cybersecurity best practices, training employees on how to identify and report suspicious activity, conducting due diligence on third-party vendors, and implementing a data backup and recovery plan, small businesses can significantly reduce their risk of falling victim to a cyber attack. Additionally, partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can provide small businesses with the necessary expertise and support to ensure their cybersecurity measures are up-to-date and effective. Cybersecurity should be a top priority for small businesses to protect their sensitive data and intellectual property from cyber threats.
ThriveDX offers a revolutionary educational model that transforms lives by educating global learners for the digital careers of tomorrow. With decades of market experience, ThriveDX combines traditional and modern learning methods, leading-edge research, and practical experience to develop in-demand skills and experiences sought by top employers, educational institutions, and businesses worldwide. By implementing ThriveDX’s security awareness training in your workforce, small businesses can equip their employees with the necessary expertise to mitigate cybersecurity risks and excel in the digital workforce.