As a business owner, you may already know that you need to have some kind of security system in place to keep hackers out of your network, but you may not know exactly why it’s so important that you invest in these measures. You may believe that because your business is fairly new or is very small that hackers won’t target you.
After all, aren’t they looking to steal a huge amount of money or credit card numbers? While some are, some have other motives and do target businesses of all sizes. Before you assume your business is too small to be a target, read these reasons why you should invest in security.
Hackers Expect Small Businesses to be Weak
Hackers often attack small businesses because they assume these smaller companies haven’t invested in strong network security. They see them as easy targets, and while they may not necessarily gain a lot of useful data, they do enjoy the thrill of knowing that they have broken into a small business network.
Often, their assumptions regarding the security of small businesses are correct—they find little to no resistance and can do whatever they want on the company’s network.
Statistics back this up, too. Many smaller businesses have no secured their networks as they should have, and many are actually spending less on network security now than they have in the past.
Hackers Don’t Care About Business Size
Just because a hacker may not make off with thousands of credit card numbers don’t mean that they’re going to leave small businesses alone. Many small business owners do believe that their business isn’t worth attacking, but that is never a safe assumption. While it’s true some hackers are breaking into networks, because they want to steal data, that’s not always the case. Some hackers simply want to see if they can destroy a network’s security.
Others are looking for data, but they value quality over quantity. If they know that your business has certain intellectual property, they may hack your network and steal it even if they could attack a larger company and steal more information.
You’ve Left a Train of Unused Accounts
When you started your business, you may have signed up for a large number of different email accounts, tools, and other online services. These things all make you look like a good-sized business to any hackers out there, so they’re likely to consider you a prime target. You may want to go back and try to delete any accounts that you’re not actively using.
Also keep this in mind if you haven’t started your business yet, or if you often sign up for services that you aren’t sure if you will actually use.
Your Network is not Secure
If your network isn’t secure, anyone could access your Wi-Fi and get into your classified data. You want to make certain that you have some form of encryption on your network and that your employees have been instructed in network security best practices. There’s nothing worse than having an employee walk viruses and other malware right through your front door by connecting one of their infected personal devices to your network.
You also need to make certain you’re using strong intrusion protection software such as snort. This software will help you discover what is happening on your network. Snort has a number of rules that outline the different types of events that can indicate an attack, what systems are affected, and how easy it is for the attack to occur. With all of these rules running on your network, you will be able to learn the instant a virus or hacker attempts to illegally enter your system.
However, you do have to make certain that you download rules covering the latest Emerging Threats in network traffic on a regular basis or you may be vulnerable to attacks.
Your Internet connection Isn’t Secure
Your Wi-Fi can be even more of a security hazard than you realize. In addition to employees using unauthorized devices on your network, you also have to worry that your overall connection may be vulnerable. If it is and your employees send emails, instant messages, and files back and forth without encryption, someone could be stealing every single piece of data. This is especially easy to do if your employees work from home or from another location and do not use secure Wi-Fi.
This again speaks to employee training. Employees who have been trained in cyber-security and have knowledge of how threats occur will be able to better protect themselves and your business from hackers.
You may let Hackers into your Partner’s Networks
If you’re working with a bigger company, it’s possible hackers aren’t attacking you because of what you have but because of who you know. They may be hoping to find a way of getting into your partners’ network through yours. You may send classified information back and forth that hackers could never get from the larger business due to their security, but if you’re lacking in protection, they may be able to steal it from your end.
Statistics Show Small Businesses are at Risk
According to a report from Kataku, small businesses are not only being attacked, they’re the primary targets. Sixty-two percent of recent attacks on businesses have been aimed at those considered to be small or medium-sized. In some cases, especially when the business is new, the attack leaves the company so crippled that it cannot recover from the loss and ends up folding.
It’s not just a few attacks here and there, either. One study done in the UK shows that upwards of 120,000 online attacks occur every day. While many of these attacks are not successful, there are some that are. Without strong security to help protect your business, you may be one of those companies that is unable to repeal the attack. If you’re not ready to handle this, you may find yourself facing a major loss of data. Even worse, you may not even realize you’ve been hacked until it’s too late.