Key cyber security ‘windows’ you need to close

Just as small businesses often don’t appreciate their overall cyber risk profile, they typically don’t grasp exactly how cyber criminals are breaching their data stores through malware.

To continue the breaking-into-the-house analogy from our first article, Is your front door open and unlocked for cyber criminals?, a small business might put a deadbolt on their front door, but overlook the side windows that are even easier to go through.

So how, from a cyber security standpoint, can a small business not only “close the front door,” but also their cyber “windows,” “gates” and other access points that cyber criminals target?

While people often think that cybercrimes are complex schemes, they typically depend on uninformed employees with unprotected laptops, phones, and other devices. They often employ tactics such as malware, phishing and other simple cyberattacks. Criminals continually search for vulnerabilities in a small business’s network. And they do it distressingly well. More than half of all small businesses suffered a breach within the last year, and four in 10 have suffered multiple attacks.

In an environment where the attacks never end, the defense must be just as relentless. A strong small business cyber security plan requires three elements:

  • Antivirus software designed to help protect devices from bad files
  • Internet security software to help safeguard your devices by blocking access to malicious websites 
  • 24/7 security tech support to assist in software installation, deployment and management

Let’s take a look at what each of these safeguards are, and how they can help protect a small business.

Antivirus Protection
Laptops, mobile phones, and other endpoints that contain important company data or which employees use to access the company network are a prime target for cyber criminals.

The Verizon 2020 Mobile Security Index found that only 12% of companies had even baseline protections, like encryption, in place for their employees’ phones. Not surprisingly then, 85 percent of employees feel their organizations need to take mobile device security more seriously.

Antivirus protection is a key step to prevent malware and viruses from infiltrating desktops and laptops, as well as other devices that criminals are attacking like phones and tablets.

Internet Security Software
Many breaches happen through straightforward “phishing” schemes. An employee might receive an email from, say, someone posing as a vendor who asks them to click on a link about an order. Instead, the employee is taken to a fake website and unknowingly downloads a virus that enables the criminals to steal information.

Internet security software automatically blocks computers and other devices from accessing malicious websites. It can also deter automated attackers searching for vulnerabilities. This software can protect a small business from not only phishing schemes, but malware, ransomware, and many of the most common cyberattacks.

24/7 Security Support
Most small businesses don’t have full-time IT or security staff. However, cyber criminals never sleep. They are relentlessly searching for vulnerabilities to gain access to a small business’ data. Small businesses have become a prime target for cyber criminals. The Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report found that criminals are attacking in a variety of ways: 52% of the breaches resulted from hacking; that was followed by social attacks (33%), malware (28%), events caused by errors (21%), misuse of authorized users (15%), and physical actions (4%). Just as the attacks are multi-pronged, so the defense must be.

The triad of endpoint virus protection, DNS security software and 24/7 product support will help fortify any small business. They are the equivalent of putting a lock on every door and reminding everyone in the house not to open the door to suspicious strangers. In a world where cyberattacks will only increase, that’s a comforting thought indeed.

Learn how you can help improve cyber security and create a small business cyber security plan.