Your Business and Cybersecurity: See These 3 Misconceptions
In a nod to October’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s look at three misconceptions about what it takes to protect your business and customers from online security breaches and threats.
Misconception #1: Small businesses don’t need to worry about cybersecurity issues because the would-be cyber criminals or bad actors have no interest in targeting them.
Some business owners think their company isn’t big enough or that the data they have access to isn’t valuable enough to draw hackers or attackers.
But the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) says otherwise — businesses of all sizes maintain or have access to valuable data worth protecting.
“Such data may include but is not limited to employment records, tax information, confidential correspondence, point of sale systems, and business contracts. All data is valuable,” the nonprofit group says on its website.
In a June webinar, Bradford Willke, acting director of Stakeholder Engagement and Cyber Infrastructure Resilience (SECIR) division of the Department of Homeland Security, said hackers see small businesses as “low-hanging fruit.”
“I’ve heard: ‘I’m so small. Why would they care about me?’ But you are a gateway into the supply chain of others,” he added, according to a blog by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Misconception#2: There isn’t enough time, reason, money, etc., to take steps toward making cybersecurity a priority.
Two out of three respondents in a survey by Keeper Security said they believe a cyberattack is unlikely, yet 67 percent of SMBs experienced a cyberattack in the last year, says Craig Lurey, CTO and co-founder of the cybersecurity software company.
So, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity concerns often rank low on priority lists for business owners.
Respondents in the poll of 500 senior decision makers at SMBs ranked recession (28%), damage to public reputation (19%), and a business model disruption (17%) as the most prominent threats to their businesses, writes Lurey in his blog on the company website.
According to Keeper Security, 60 percent of those surveyed ranked cybersecurity in the bottom half of priorities when compared with other business imperatives, including sales, recruitment, quality of internal tools, marketing, and contributing to social good.
However, experts agree that all sizes of businesses must make cybersecurity a higher priority and take action before a security threat or breach appears.
The NCA advises businesses and business owners to do an immediate assessment of the data they create, collect, store, access, transmit, and then classify that data by its level of sensitivity so they can take appropriate steps to protect it.
A cybersecurity risk assessment is vital, echoes the SBA, because it can identify the most vulnerable areas and help you create a plan of action, including guidance on user training, securing email platforms, and protecting your business’s information systems and data.
Misconception #3: You need an in-house IT and/or cybersecurity team to protect your business.
Often, smaller businesses believe they have limited options, so they choose to do nothing. This type of misinformed thinking creates an analysis paralysis, notes Peggy Eisenhauer, attorney and founder of the law firm Privacy & Information Management Services.
“I see a lot of ‘We didn’t know what to do — so we didn’t do anything,’” she says in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce post.
But there are several precautions you can implement without a big team or big money. For example, make sure to change passwords regularly, keep employees informed and trained about how to avoid email phishing, and take advantage of the security features you have with preloaded software, such as turning on two-factor authentication.
Also, check with your business internet service provider for Managed Router and Security services, which can help your business guard against suspicious network traffic like malware, provide rapid detection against attacks, filter out inappropriate content, and enforce safe-search policies. Plus, Managed Services gives you 24/7 access to a certified engineering team.