A quick glimpse at an Accenture report shows that small businesses are an easy target for about 43% of cyberattacks. In addition, only 14% of businesses are equipped to keep these attacks at bay.
But what makes small and medium-sized businesses so vulnerable to these attacks? The answer? They fail to place the right technology and security to ensure maximum protection. Sure, most small businesses lack the appropriate financial resources to put the proper cybersecurity in place. But investing in the right tools and technology can help avert expensive losses in the future.
This article discusses how small businesses can become the victims of cyberattacks and how they can shield their remote workforce and network from cybercriminals.
How Remote Workers Become Easy Targets of Cyber Criminals
Simply put, remote work is here to stay. According to Review42, about 74% of companies plan to switch to remote work permanently, but unfortunately, this offers fresh and easy possibilities to infiltrate company networks with debilitating cyberattacks. Here are a few of the many paths hackers take to hurt your business in the long run.
Phishing has plagued users operating in the business world for a long time. A phishing attack unfolds when a user clicks on the link a hacker sends via emails or other mediums. While phishing attacks existed long before COVID-19 swept the globe, the pandemic only exacerbated these issues – especially when peddling fake COVID-19 tests, cures, and access to vaccinations. Keeping the worsening phishing situation in mind, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services even dropped a warning related to fraud schemes spilling out of the pandemic.
With the rise of remote work, more and more workers are now using their devices to remain connected and communicate with other remote workers. As a result, companies have now become increasingly vulnerable to insidious malware and other infections.
For instance, the pandemic triggered a widespread susceptibility of the user to fake versions of popular video conferencing and messaging apps. Clicking on these apps unleashed malicious software that tracked users’ keystrokes and movements. Choosing the best Antivirus software will be a great option for you to handle this.
About $20 billion – that’s the amount of money that would be drained from the global economy in ransomware damages in 2022, according to Dataprot statistics.
This type of cybercrime involves hackers breaking into the organizations’ networks and holding sensitive data for hefty fees.
Small and big businesses alike are easy targets for ransomware attacks. However, matters get more complicated for small businesses since hackers typically demand payment in cryptocurrency that is untraceable and within a very tight deadline.
Third-Party Vendor Risk
Now more than ever, third-party software has become the lifeline of small businesses. However, if any of this software is not entirely safe and secure, the risk of a cyber attack shoots up. Take, for instance, the SolarWinds network hacker infiltration in 2020. During this incident, hackers installed malware into the company’s software – other organizations used this company for IT resources. As a result, several customers were compromised.
What Can You Do to Combat the Risks?
Sure, the increasing possibilities of cybercrimes sound overwhelming to comprehend. But deploying the right tools, frequently monitoring your cybersecurity, and ensuring lightning-fast action against even the minutest sign of a cyberattack can help keep your business safe and sound. Here are a few strategies your business IT support team can implement for a robust cybersecurity system.
Get Smart With Your VPN
VPNs make all the difference when it comes to averting security breaches. They are critical elements in today’s telework environment and pave the path for a secure platform for every remote employee – especially when logging safely into their organization’s network.
Companies rely heavily on VPNs because they help track employee activities on the network, provide fully secure remote connections, and detect any kind of security breach that might wash up on the company’s shore.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a further line of security for your organization’s VPN against business credential theft. Prior to being granted access, multi-factor authentication needs two or more factors to be entered during the login process. Employees will be asked to give an extra authentication factor using MFA in order to confirm their identity after entering their credentials to connect to the VPN. Even if hackers discover your login and password, OpenVPN MFA prohibits attackers from accessing your OpenVPN account.
Deploy Control Access
When you deploy control access, you have the power to block certain apps and websites, segment specific permissions across the systems and applications that linger within your company’s network and educate your employees in terms of what to avoid and what to click. In other words, control access enables everyone to sail on the same boat as far as cybersecurity is concerned.
Invest In Training Employees
A Kaspersky research found that about 73% of the employees were yet to receive an IT security awareness update regarding cybersecurity training. In addition, the study also found that most employees remained overconfident regarding gauging their prowess in cybersecurity. A collective mentality – where employees consider themselves IT experts –can be the single greatest threat to the company as a whole.
But when there are clear policies in place about the kind of devices, the type of home network to be used, and the responsibilities and awareness of the employees associated with cyberattack tactics – it becomes easier to avoid cyberattacks.
Vet your Software Vendors
When choosing the right software vendors, it’s critical to factor in the security policy the vendor has in place to keep the customers’ data fully protected.
In addition, when it comes to downloading software, it’s important to double-check the link and prevent employees from installing the software on their own. You can either reinstall the software you’ve vetted or move the software live in the cloud (here, employees access it through your virtual private network). You directly protect your network from malware by blocking employees from downloading unapproved apps.
Is Your Business Shielded Against Cybercrime?
Cyberattacks come in several shades and become increasingly lethal for your business when most of your operations unfold within a remote work setting. Ransomware, malware, shadow IT apps, and phishing attacks can unleash massive cybersecurity risks for small businesses. Detecting, analyzing, and deploying the right cybersecurity resources are critical to protecting your business in an environment infested with cyber criminals.