November 6, 2023
10 Biggest Cybersecurity Mistakes of Small Companies
In today’s digital landscape, cybercriminals employ highly sophisticated tactics, but surprisingly, it’s often the lack of strong cybersecurity practices that exposes businesses to the most risk. This issue is particularly acute for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).
Did you know that a staggering 50% of SMBs have fallen victim to cyberattacks? Shockingly, more than 60% of them never recover and go out of business. Here’s the good news: Cybersecurity doesn’t have to break the bank. Most data breaches result from human error, which means improving cyber hygiene can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to an attack.
Are You Making These Costly Cybersecurity Mistakes?
To address this pressing issue, you must first identify the problems lurking within your organization. Often, SMBs unknowingly make critical cybersecurity errors that leave them exposed. Let’s explore some of the most common reasons small businesses become targets for cyberattacks. Keep reading to see if any of these scenarios sound familiar within your company.
Mistake #1: Underestimating the Threat
One of the most critical cybersecurity errors among SMBs is underestimating the threat landscape. Many business owners mistakenly believe their size makes them an unlikely target. This misconception is detrimental to the growth of your business. Cybercriminals often view small businesses as easy prey, assuming they lack the resources or expertise to fend off attacks. It’s imperative to understand that no business is too small for cybercriminals to target. Being proactive about cybersecurity is your best defense.
Mistake #2: Neglecting Employee Training
When was the last time you offered cybersecurity training for employees? Small businesses frequently overlook this crucial aspect of protection, assuming that employees will naturally exercise caution online. However, human error remains a significant source of security vulnerabilities. Employees may inadvertently click on malicious links or download infected files. Implementing staff cybersecurity training helps them:
- Identify phishing attempts.
- Recognize the importance of strong passwords.
- Beware of social engineering tactics used by cybercriminals.
Mistake #3: Using Weak Passwords
Weak passwords pose a common security vulnerability for small companies. Many employees use easily guessable passwords and reuse them across multiple accounts, leaving sensitive information exposed to hackers. Did you know that people reuse passwords 64% of the time? Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords and consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for an additional layer of security.
Mistake #4: Ignoring Software Updates
Neglecting to keep software and operating systems up to date is another significant oversight. Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems. Regularly updating software, including operating systems, web browsers, and antivirus programs, is crucial.
Mistake #5: Lacking a Data Backup Plan
Small companies may not have formal data backup plans, assuming that data loss won’t happen to them. However, data loss can occur due to various reasons, including cyberattacks, hardware failures, or human errors. It’s vital to have a data backup strategy in place for your company’s critical data and test these backups to ensure they can be successfully restored in case of a data loss incident.
Mistake #6: No Formal Security Policies
Small businesses often operate without clear policies and procedures, leaving employees uncertain about crucial information such as how to handle sensitive data or use company devices securely. Small businesses should establish and communicate formal security policies and procedures, covering topics such as password management, data handling, incident reporting, remote work security, and other security-related matters.
Mistake #7: Ignoring Mobile Security
As more employees use mobile devices for work, mobile security becomes increasingly important. Small companies often overlook this aspect of cybersecurity. Implement mobile device management (MDM) solutions to enforce security policies on both company- and employee-owned devices used for work-related activities.
Mistake #8: Failing to Regularly Watch Networks
SMBs may lack dedicated IT staff to monitor their networks for suspicious activities, resulting in delayed detection of security breaches. Consider installing network monitoring tools or outsourcing network monitoring services to promptly identify and respond to potential threats.
Mistake #9: No Incident Response Plan
In the face of a cybersecurity incident, SMBs without an incident response plan may panic and respond ineffectively. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan outlining the steps to take when a security incident occurs, including communication plans, isolation procedures, and a clear chain of command.
Mistake #10: Thinking They Don’t Need Managed IT Services
Cyber threats continuously evolve, and new attack techniques emerge regularly. Small businesses often struggle to keep up but believe they are too small to invest in managed IT services. The truth is, managed services come in various packages, including those tailored to SMB budgets. A managed service provider (MSP) can keep your business safe from cyberattacks while optimizing your IT, ultimately saving you money.
Don’t jeopardize your business due to a cyberattack. Managed IT services can be more affordable than you think. Contact us today to schedule a conversation. Tech Eagles will work with you to implement the right plan to keep your business moving forward!