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10 Biggest Cyber Security Mistakes of Small Companies

Cyber criminals can launch very sophisticated attacks but it’s often lax cyber security practices that enable most breaches. This is especially true when it comes to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).

Small business owners often don’t prioritise cyber security measures – they think they have a lower data breach risk or think it’s an expense they can’t bear. 

But cyber security is not only a concern for large corporations. It’s a critical issue for small businesses as well; small businesses are often seen as attractive targets for cyber criminals, due to many perceived vulnerabilities.  

62% of SMBs have been victims of cyber attacks.

Cyber security doesn’t need to be expensive! Most data breaches are the result of human error. But good news! This means that improving cyber hygiene can reduce the risk of falling victim to an attack.

Are You Making Any of These Cyber Security Mistakes?

To address the issue, you need to first identify the problem. Often the teams at SMBs are making mistakes they don’t even realize. Below are some of the biggest reasons small businesses fall victim to cyber attacks.

1. Underestimating the Threat

One of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes of SMBs is underestimating the threat landscape. Many business owners assume that their company is too small to be a target, but this is a dangerous misconception.  

Cyber criminals often see small businesses as easy targets. They believe the company lacks the resources or expertise to defend against attacks. It’s essential to understand that no business is too small for cyber criminals to target. Being proactive in cybers ecurity is crucial.

2. Neglecting Employee Training

When was the last time you trained your employees on cyber security? Small businesses often neglect cyber security training for their employees. Owners assume that they will naturally be cautious online. 

But the human factor is a significant source of security vulnerabilities. Employees may inadvertently click on malicious links or download infected files. Staff cyber security training helps them:

  • Recognise phishing attempts
  • Understand the importance of strong passwords
  • Be aware of social engineering tactics used by cyber criminals

3. Using Weak Passwords

Weak passwords are a common security vulnerability in small companies. Many employees use easily guessable passwords and reuse the same password for several accounts. This can leave your company’s sensitive information, and that of your clients/customers, exposed to hackers or at-risk being part of a data breach.

People reuse passwords 64% of the time.

Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible to add an extra layer of security.

4. Ignoring Software Updates

Failing to keep software and operating systems up to date is another mistake. Cyber criminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems. Small businesses should regularly update their software to patch known security flaws. This includes this includes operating systems, 3rd party applications, drivers and firmware.

5. Lacking a Data Backup Plan

Small companies may not have formal data backup and recovery plans. They might mistakenly assume that data loss won’t happen to them, but data loss can occur due to various reasons – cyber attacks, hardware failures, or human error.

Regularly back up your company’s critical data. Test the backups to ensure they can be successfully restored in case of a data loss incident.

6. No Formal Security Policies

Small businesses often operate without clear policies and procedures. With no clear and enforceable security policies, employees may not know critical information, such as how to handle sensitive data, how to use company devices securely, or how to respond to security incidents.  

Small businesses should establish formal security policies and procedures. As well as communicate them to all employees. These policies should cover things like:

  • Password management
  • Data handling
  • Incident reporting
  • Remote work security
  • And other security topics

7. Ignoring Mobile Security

As more employees use mobile devices for work, mobile security is increasingly important. Small companies often overlook this aspect of cyber security. 

Put in place mobile device management (MDM) solutions. These enforce security policies on company- and employee-owned devices used for work-related activities.

8. Failing to Regularly Watch Networks

SMBs may not have IT staff to watch their networks for suspicious activities. This can result in delayed detection of security breaches. 

Install network monitoring tools or consider outsourcing network monitoring services. This can help your business promptly identify and respond to potential threats.

9. No Incident Response Plan

In the face of a cyber security incident, SMBs without an incident response plan may panic or respond ineffectively. 

Develop a comprehensive incident response plan as part of your business continuity plan, one that outlines the steps to take when a security incident occurs. This should include communication plans, isolation procedures, and a clear chain of command.

10. Thinking They Don’t Need Managed IT Services

Cyber threats are continually evolving. New attack techniques emerge regularly. Small businesses often have a hard time keeping up yet they believe they are “too small” to pay for managed IT services.

Managed services come in all package sizes. This includes those designed for SMB budgets. A managed service provider (MSP) can help keep your business safe from cyber attacks, as well as save you money by optimising your IT.

Learn More About Managed IT Services

Don’t risk losing your business because of a cyber attack. Managed IT services can be more affordable for your small business than you think.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.

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