4 Ways Hackers Are Taking Advantage of SMBs

When you run a small or medium sized business, you’re likely to find yourself up against a host of challenges in order to keep things up and running. Cyber security is just one area you need to focus on, as hackers now pose a significant threat to businesses of all shapes and sizes, specializing in all areas. 

Many small businesses make the mistake of thinking they won’t be targeted by cyber criminals, assuming that they’ll go for larger companies where they can wreak more havoc or steal larger amounts of more valuable data. But it’s important to know that your business, no matter how small, isn’t necessarily out of bounds. 

In fact, a shocking 43% of cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses, and more than half of all small businesses have experienced at least one security breach at this time of year. This is because hackers are aware that many small businesses aren’t properly defending themselves, making them easy targets. 

Of course, you’re going to want to make sure that your business doesn’t become part of these statistics. Awareness is key to protecting your business. So, let’s take a look at four ways hackers are managing to take advantage of SMBs:

1. Low Security

While large businesses and corporations often have whole teams dedicated to IT and cybersecurity, small businesses tend to neglect these areas. This low security means that hackers are more likely to take the low hanging fruit of breaking into your data and files. 

The good news is that you don’t have to have a huge in house team to secure your business. Instead, you can use a Managed Service Provider, who can provide high-level security services for a fraction of the cost of a fully staffed in-house team

2. Remote Working

Right now, more companies than ever have employees working on a remote basis. This creates the ideal space for hackers to steal company data that is being stored or accessed using personal devices. 

Employees working from home on their own networks and devices are more likely to create security and data breaches than staff working in a controlled office environment. It’s important to protect your data with a VPN or secure cloud management system to ensure that all remote workers are safely accessing data without being exploited by threat actors.

3. Lack of MFA

MFA stands for multi-factor authentication, a two-step process that adds an additional layer of security to your accounts and devices. Most large businesses have MFA in place, which successfully deters almost 100% of account hacking attempts. 

If your small business doesn’t have multi-factor authentication, hackers only have to secure one password to access all of your information and data. With MFA, they would need a combination of information that is extremely difficult to access—such as a password plus a text code sent to your phone, or a security question in addition to a fingerprint. 

Implementing MFA is one of the simplest ways to secure your data against hackers and keep your accounts locked down.

4. Phishing and Email Scams

Phishing and email scams are one of the favorite tools of cyber criminals. Phishing and email scams essentially trick people, such as your staff, to think they are receiving correspondence from someone they trust. The email may encourage them to download files (which are actually malware), transfer sensitive information, or click links that can give cyber criminals access to your devices and data.

To combat this, it’s wise to train your staff on ways they can identify and subsequently avoid opening phishing emails. Understanding the common signs of a phishing email, such as poor grammar or an unidentifiable sender address, can help minimize the number one cause of security incidents—human error.

These, of course, are just four of multiple ways that hackers are managing to take advantage of SMBs. But it’s important to be aware of these major vulnerabilities to protect your business against them, helping you to take the necessary steps to prevent hackers accessing your sensitive data and information. These strategies can go a long way in protecting your valuable information and allowing your business to maintain its reputation.

Chris Turn

Chris has experience covering the latest trends in the small business world, and has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, creative and strategic blogger. He has a deep understanding of marketing and branding principles and how they can be applied to small businesses, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Chris has interviewed industry experts and covered major marketing events such as the SXSW Interactive conference and the Advertising Week conference. He is also a successful small business owner himself, which allows him to bring a unique perspective to his blogging and writing. His blog is known for providing valuable insights and tips on how to effectively market and brand a small business.