Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are by no means immune against cyber security threats. On the contrary, they may even be more at risk as cyber criminals often see them as softer targets because they may lack the robust cyber security measures and infrastructures to protect valuable information.
Many SME owners feel vulnerable to attacks targeted at their networks, but worry about the cost of finding suitable security solutions.
The first step to take is to inform yourself of the common types of cyber security threats out there and to establish how to protect your company against them. What can you do yourself and when do you need to ask for help?
If you would like to find out about IT support in the Los Angeles area, Crimson IT would be more than happy to complete a cyber security risk assessment and discuss your best options for securing your network and company.
Here Are the Top 5 Security Risks for SMEs
Malicious Software – Malware
As the name suggests, malware refers to software or a malicious code specifically designed to harm your computer, server or network and could also take the form of viruses or ransomware.
Once the malware has entered your computer network, it will destroy data or help hackers gain access to your network to allow them to steal critical information.
This category of malware effectively involves hackers capturing your company data, encrypting it and, ultimately, holding it ransom. In other words, the hackers will only release the information when the company has paid them a certain ransom amount.
If you don’t pay, you end up losing crucial data that will be permanently lost. Hackers also sometimes sell your data to others who may want to use it through identity theft, for example. Vulnerable areas in your software could provide an opportunity for ransomware or it could be delivered through phishing emails.
Since the implementation of GDPR regulations in the European Union, companies who put their customers’ data at risk could also face big fines from regulators, on top of having their own reputation tarnished through a breach of data protection.
A virus is designed by a cyber attacker who wants to access your computer and it usually is created with the intent of spreading it from device to device. It usually enters your device via a fake email or internet link.
In the case of phishing, an email message is often used to infect your computer with malware or to capture vulnerable information from your device.
These emails appear as if they’d been sent by a real person or legitimate business and will try to get you to click on a link or open an attachment, which then contains the harmful code or allows hackers to access your network.
These attacks are much harder to detect than some other types of malware, as they can take many different forms, for example, a video link in a message from a social media account of a friend who has been hacked, or through hackers offering interesting information or services in a link.
Employee habits and mistakes
This threat is often overlooked, but is very common and relates to threats from employees or ex-employees, who may use weak passwords, click on phishing links or deliberately compromise the security of the company due to a workplace grievance, for example.
Protect Your Company – Cyber Security Tips
Install antivirus software and keep it up to date
One of the best ways to protect your business computers against cyber attacks is through antivirus software, which you can buy online.
If you’re unsure about the right security programs to buy for your company, or how to install or update the software correctly, contact an IT support company to assist you. Investing a small amount at this point could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Backup your information
Regular data backups to the cloud (or to an offline database elsewhere) of all your data, especially critical and sensitive information, will help your company recover quickly from any cyber attacks or network interruptions. Cloud services can be a great option here, allowing you to get your network back up and running, no matter which device or location you’re working from.
Safeguard your internet connection
Use a firewall and encryption to ensure your network is safe. Password protected access to the router also makes it more difficult for hackers to get in.
Improve the strength of your passwords
Using a strong password – and different passwords for different accounts – is a quick way to boost your company’s cybersecurity. Whether you run a small business or larger enterprise, be sure to train your employees in cyber hygiene and security awareness so they are on top of basic best practices. This will help them spot and mitigate cyber threats and attacks in real time.
As frustrating as it may be, adding that extra step to your login processes goes a long way to protecting your company and/or clients’ information online.
Managed IT Services
If you want to feel 100% safe, the best investment you can make is to appoint a managed IT services company to take care of all your business’s cybersecurity needs.
An experienced external provider will usually be well versed in the risks and latest threats companies face. Their services will typically include strategies for countering cyber threats and can also extend to disaster recovery solutions for worst case scenarios, if needed.
When using an external IT team, they should have clear protocols for managing and protecting your data and maintaining the confidentiality of your clients’ information.
This way you don’t have to lie awake worrying about outdated or unsuitable software, weak passwords or vulnerable patches in your software or network. For a modest investment, you can remove the headache of cybersecurity and focus on your business.
The threat of cyber-attacks and demand for cybersecurity services is on the rise and SMEs simply can’t afford not to take these risks seriously.
Crimson IT offers managed IT support solutions tailored to the needs of every size and type of company. Our IT services in the Los Angeles area include cyber security strategies and disaster recovery solutions. Find out more about our services and about the cost of managed IT solutions to see how we can help you sleep better at night.
Contact us today to get started.