Here's an alarming statistic: Nearly half (47 percent) of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack in the past 12 months, yet only 52 percent of small companies have a cybersecurity strategy, according to the 2018 Hiscox Small Business Cybersecurity Report. So reports author Bennett Conlin in a recent article for Business News Daily, in which he suggests that cybersecurity should be a principal concern for small business owners.
"While cybersecurity threats can be as bad as physical security threats, the threats aren't always obvious," Conlin says. "Unfortunately for small businesses, this 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality can have horrible consequences. If you fail to protect your business from cybersecurity threats, you may lose critical company information while also damaging your brand and losing money. Cyberattacks can occasionally be so bad that you ultimately go out of business."
One reason companies neglect cybersecurity, Conlin theorizes, is that it's technical and intimidating. "Just the term 'cybersecurity' sounds complicated," he notes. But to doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds. According to Conlin, you can increase your company's cybersecurity posture in as little as one hour by educating your staff.
"The quickest way to protect your business from cyberattacks is to properly train your employees," Conlin says. "Some businesses might picture an overseas hacker taking extraordinary measures to break into a small business's network, but that's not usually the case. In many scenarios, a basic phishing email can compromise your small business."
Training employees to spot such emails can go a long way toward mitigating their impacts.
Another quick but often neglected solution is to practice good password hygiene, which is especially effective against so-called "brute-force attacks."
"Brute-force attacks are when hackers run automated programs that plug in a variety of potential password combinations. Brute-force attacks are particularly effective against companies with obvious username information and simplistic passwords," concludes Conlin, who recommends "complex" passwords that include letters, numbers and symbols. "Strengthening your organization's passwords immediately reduces the risk of a successful cyberattack against your business, and it doesn't take long. It can take just a few minutes to change a weak password to a secure one."
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