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Cyber-attacks are on the rise and with many high profile cases in the news recently, business owners are right to be worried.

It’s important to keep your business protected not just to stop prevent damages from data losses or having to pay out for ransomware but also to protect form possible fines that are being introduced. You are responsible for customer data and if you’re not well protected then you may be at least partly liable for losses.

Earlier this year, the Government Security Breaches Survey found that 74% of small businesses had reported security breaches in the last year. This is up from previous years. 52.4% of spear phishing attacks were directed at SMEs last year.

What could a cyber-attack do to your business?

A cyber-attack can cost you money, data losses and time. Your customers will also lose trust in you, particularly if you suffered a loss of their data.

Here are the most common ways your company can be attacked:

 

Now you’re sufficiently scared, here’s a list of common mistakes that many businesses make that could lead to the attacks listed above:

 

Thinking you’re too small to be a target

You may only be a small business with a handful of employees but this certainly doesn’t mean you’re safe from attacks. If you think you’re too small to be targeted, you probably have a relaxed attitude to your cyber protection.

This alone is a good enough reason for a hacker to target you. Your systems are left undefended and are much easier to hack than a major corporation which will have layers and layers of security.

Sarah Green, business manager for cyber security at Training 2000 says that “small businesses may feel that they aren’t likely to be a target due to their size and that hackers couldn’t possibly be interested in what they do – but in reality the exact opposite is true.”

A hacker might be able to get more out of attacking a bigger company but they’re also more likely to succeed without breaking a sweat when attacking a few smaller firms like yours.

 

Hiring mistakes

Hiring someone who is not specialised in dealing with cyber security is bound to lead to disaster. It’s not a simple task that can be completed with a couple of clicks.

The problem with cyber-attacks is that they often happen because of mistakes that any employee can make. So leaving this as an issue for the IT people is probably not good enough. You need to make an effort to train all your staff in basic protection to prevent any attacks getting through.

 

Failing to train employees in basic cyber security practice          

Most cyber security breaches happen because of human error. One of these is bad password practice. Too many employees are reusing passwords or choosing common ones that can be easily guessed.

Besides passwords, one of the most common cyber security problems is with people opening dodgy emails that can lead to a ransomware disaster.

 

Shared log in information

In some businesses, log on information is shared between departments. It’s important, particularly in larger companies to keep track of who has access to what. It’s also good to note that previous employees may still know passwords. One way to avoid this is to encourage employees to change them regularly.

 

No defence plan

On the unlucky occasion that your business is attacked, many small businesses do not have a solid response to deal with such a threat quickly or effectively.

Those businesses that don’t have cyber security insurance or any kind of back-up plan may be liable to pay legal costs and compensation if customer data is stolen.

 

Have you ever suffered a cyber-attack? What advice would you give to other businesses? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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