At least 55% of the businesses have suffered a security breach in between May 2015 and May 2016.
More than 43% of cyber targets are targeted at small businesses.
The surging digital economy has its own perils. Swelling cyber attacks is the most evident danger of them all.
If you are a business owner, be warned that sooner or later, a cyber attack will come looking for you.
These attacks will head to steal your customer records, intellectual property, customer payment information, critical financial information, employe records and other sensitive organizational data that should never see daylight.
A study by SmallBizTrends puts the figures and trends of cyber attacks on small businesses as under:
The Most Common Types Of Cyber Attacks That Affect Businesses
There are 7 major types of cyber attacks that hit businesses.
Malicious software program(s) that take the form of viruses, worms, trojans, etc. that steals and relays back data to hackers servers or simply destroys them with the intent to cause destruction.
Malicious links often send through emails or link-baits that appear to be originating from authentic sources like banks, employers, colleagues, etc. Phishing attacks primarily ask for fund transfer or steal login credentials of bank accounts for siphoning off funds without the user’s knowledge.
3. DDoS Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service attacks are carried out with the intent to disrupt a network or an online service, like an online store or a banking website. DDoS is put to work by botnets that flood servers with too many requests that will cause the server to crash due to overloading.
4. Man-In-The-Middle (MITM) Attacks
MITM attacks exploits non-encrypted access points to gain entry into the network of user to intercept or steal information that is being exchanged real-time.
Fake or malicious ads are set up by the hacker, which when clicked by the user downloads a malicious code into the target user’s system. Malverts typically take the form of giveaways like foreign trip, free gadgets, free health products and so on.
6. Rogue Software
Malware that takes the form of legitimate security software updates. They usually come in the form of Adobe or Flash player updates that user downloads letting the malicious code into the system.
How Businesses Can Safeguard Themselves From Cyber Attacks
The best defense a business can take against cyber attacks is a proactive one. Like they say, it is better to sweat in practice than bleed in war. Spending some money and resources to set up basic security measures will go a long way in keeping the business safe and secure from cyber attacks.
Here are few ways your business can safeguard itself from cyber attacks:
Data encryption adds multiple layers of security to your data. It ensures that the data is not easily accessible by hackers or third parties. Encryption helps prevent the most common and also the most dangerous of all hacking types: Man-In-The-Middle Attacks.
Encryption can be best implemented with the help of a SSL certificate. Buy a Comodo Wildcard SSL or some reputed brand of SSL certificates that will secure not just your home domain but also all subdomains that are attached to the main domain.
Secure BYOD Devices
Bring Your Own device is a work philosophy that allows employees to use their personal devices for official duties too. While this might deliver high on cost-effectiveness, there is also a serious security threat involved in it.
To begin with, not al employees would take the care to secure their systems with a good anti virus software. Also, not all employees would have an understanding of system security which makes them quick targets for cyber attacks.
The ideal way out: Secure BYOD devices with a good anti virus software. Instruct employees to use the company Virtual Private Network for all system usage.
Set up Firewall
Think of firewall as a traffic police that regulates the flow of Internet traffic in between the server and the client system. A firewall can be rightly called the first line of defense that prevents spammy or malicious users from gaining entry into the server or the network.
Setup complex passwords
This is a no-brainer. Still, most users and enterprises take the power of passwords lightly and overlook the need to set up complex passwords. Complex passwords are difficult to guess or break.
They include a string of alphanumeric combinations, numerals and also special characters that makes the complex unique. As a precaution set passwords that are at least 7 characters long, have numbers, alphabets and also special characters in them. A combined use of small letters and capital letters will also result in higher security.
Discourage password sharing
Common services or systems need a common password that many users must share to access. Although this might seem convenient, the truth is password Sharing can lead to disasters. A single disgruntled employee can lock down the entire system or the server locking down the entire team from accessing the services. So, as a thumbrule, discourage password sharing of all kinds.
Keep sensitive data offline
Sensitive data like customer records, payment information, credit/debit card numbers, financial records, employee rosters, etc. need to be stored in an offline location. Offline storage will ensure that the data remains far from the reach of cyber attackers in the event of an attack.
Also, schedule periodic backups for these data so that the current data is always updated in the offline servers. There are data centres as well as data backup programs that you can rely on for this task.
In A Nutshell
Year over year, small and medium scale companies are increasingly feeling the brunt of security breaches. Hackers target these businesses since they do not have deep pockets to invest in security mechanisms.
However, not all security mechanisms cost a bomb. There are some measures you can take to keep your business safe from the most common type of cyber attacks.
Some such security measures are described above. Follow them and your business must remain to a large extent.