Businesses collect the customers’ data to outline their market strategies and perform better in the market. And this data makes businesses more vulnerable to cyber attacks. It is essential for companies to protect their data from cyber attacks for the smooth functioning of the business.
Big companies are somehow able to build a security wall around the data that is a bit difficult to breach. But small businesses are more prone to cyber attacks because of their access to limited resources. According to the cyber security expert, Ritesh Bhatia, Cyber security products and other devices are too costly “costly because of the models that they have which makes it difficult for small scale firms to bear the costs.
He explained further, “suppose a company is using Gmail as a service that costs 1500 for a person. And if the company is employing 50 people then the build-up cost is 1500 x 50 = 75,000 per annum which is too costly for any small business to handle”. This limitation of resources makes small businesses more vulnerable.
According to the reports by Barracuda, companies that employ less than 100 employees, come across 350% more chances to get attacked by cybercriminals. By using various ways such as Ransomware, Spear phishing and Malware attacks, the Cybercrime world is getting more advanced with each passing day.
SMALL BUSINESSES ARE MORE VULNERABLE
Small businesses are considered to be at greater risk because these businesses have access to limited resources. The companies prefer to use these resources in business building and often look over the data security aspect. Here are some of the reasons that make small businesses susceptible to cybercrime are:
Lack Of IT Professionals And Resources
Small businesses need to understand the fact that IT security professionals are as important as any other department. The company either hesitates to hire an IT professional to save the costs or the lack of resources restricts them to do so.
The study shows that most cybercriminals did not use any advanced technology for hacking. They use the tools that are readily available on the dark web. This shows that cybercriminals have more resources to attack the data than the companies that have to protect it.
Gateway To Larger Organisation
The main attack of the cybercriminals are bigger organisations but since their data is difficult to breach, the possibilities are very rare. So, the attackers hack the data of the small businesses and make their way to catch the larger fish.
To understand this point, let us give you a real-life example, which was also the biggest security breach in the history of Cyber Crime. The incident of ‘Target Data Breach’ in 2013 created havoc and made companies think about how important is to maintain data security. The data of around 40 million credit and debit cards along with 70 million customer records were stolen by the cybercriminals.
In this case, hackers did not attack the retail giant directly but through the third-party vendor of the company. The third-party provided the HVAC services to the company. This breach compelled Target to pay $18.5 million to settle the claims. After that, Target took adequate measures to ensure data safety. But this whole case is a lesson for all the big and small companies, on how important it is to secure the data.
The accounts of the executives having higher authority such as the CEO and CFO are more likely to be attacked by the criminals. The chances of getting a cyber attack on top professionals’ accounts are twice more than any average employee.
Ritesh Bhatia, Founder of V4WEB Cybersecurity and industry expert says, “Small businesses are not aware of the ‘Business Email Compromise scam’ which is the most common scam.” A business Email Compromise scam means an attacker defrauds the company by hacking the email and impersonating the real owner of the account to extort crucial information.
Ritesh Bhatia further adds that “He investigated 20-30 such cases where the company was defrauded by the ‘Business Email Compromise scam’ and most of the cases happened in small businesses.”
Hackers use the accounts of the CEOs, CFOs or any other authoritative executive and extort the company’s data. Getting access to these accounts means directly getting the information on the company’s calendars, accounts and customer records.
Can be Manipulated Easily
With the help of Ransomware and Malware attacks, the attackers encrypt the company’s files and to recover these files, hackers demand monetary compensation. Big firms can save themselves because either they have the data backup or the time to recover from the loss.
Unfortunately, small businesses do not have a strong data backup system and neither the time and resources to recover themselves from the loss. The small companies end up paying the ransom amount demanded by the hackers to recover the encrypted data.
HOW SMALL BUSINESSES CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES?
To secure the company from the financial losses caused by data security breaches, it is essential for businesses to focus on their IT security department. A company should implement a cybersecurity risk assessment to find the weaker links and accordingly make a plan to secure those areas as well. Apart from this, a few precautionary measures can be followed:
Train Your Employees
Provide basic education to your employees in Cyberworld. The way it functions, its crimes and its prevention help the company fight cybercrime to an extent. Train your employees to inculcate good browsing habits, create strong passwords and avoid suspicious downloads.
Use Antivirus Software
Ritesh Bhatia asserts that “Companies often take the need of antivirus for granted or forget to update the software”. Antivirus software is very crucial in the prevention of cyber crimes. Keeping a check on your antiviruses and updating them at regular intervals is essential. Ritesh, while sharing an incident of one of his clients, says “A client of mine paid for the antivirus for three years, and after 2 years passed, I found that the antivirus software was not even activated. So even after having the antivirus software, it was of no use.”
You can use multifactor authentication to prevent a data security breach. This feature required additional information to log in to the account. For login, a security code is sent to the added phone number, only after entering the code, a person can get access to the account. This feature also alerts the user if any unknown entity or a person tries to log in.
Cybercrime cases are increasing day by day, and it is easier for hackers to attack smaller businesses. Hence, irrespective of the firm size, it is important for every business to have stringent technological defences, awareness and resources for cybersecurity.
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