While you may hear the occasional news story about a major corporation suffering a data breach, it is really the small and medium-sized businesses that need to be more vigilant with data security.
That’s because hackers and cybercriminals are attacking the systems and networks of thousands of small businesses on a daily basis. Many businesses don’t ever realize that their network has been compromised.
A data breach can result in cybercriminals gaining access to sensitive customer data which can be used to facilitate identity theft or fraudulent financial activities. Or, a hacker can wreak havoc on your network, destroying data and deleting files unless you pay a ransom for return of data access.
Consider the following actions hackers are taking right now that often result in a successful data breach, and you’ll quickly see why strong cybersecurity protocols are so important.
Human error, and subsequently, phishing emails and the unsuspecting users who fall victim to them, are the number one cause of data security incidents.
A phishing email is an email that appears to come from a trusted and familiar source, such as a bank or financial institution, a company you have an account with such as eBay, Amazon, Netflix or even a local utility company. The emails are cleverly designed and typically denote a message of urgency.
For example, a phishing email that appears to come from your bank might inform you that your account will be closed due to unauthorized transactions of the detection of fraudulent activity. The message then goes on to say that you will need to sign in to your account in order to rectify the situation. A malicious link is provided that tricks you into giving your login credentials to the hacker.
That is why employee training is essential. Teaching your employees how to spot phishing emails can significantly lower the risk of a data breach.
Aside from the urgent message, phishing emails often possess the following criteria:
- Poor spelling and grammar
- They don’t address the individual by name
- The sender’s email address seems weird, as does the link to the website
Ultimately, employees should be taught never to click on links in an email unless they are 100% sure it comes from a trusted source.
Exploring Weaknesses in Under-Monitored Systems
Even with some cybersecurity protocols in place, many businesses fail to properly monitor their network. This provides ample opportunity for hackers to find ways to access the network undetected.
To combat this, many companies use managed IT service providers that can monitor your systems 24/7, enabling them to immediately identify and patch weaknesses such as zero-day vulnerabilities. This ensures that your data can’t be exploited by weaknesses that crop up in your systems, even overnight, on the weekend or on a holiday.
Taking Advantage of Poor Network Security
Hackers love poor security, and they can easily access systems and networks that don’t utilize VPNs or MFA. Companies with BYOD policies are also at risk because they are relying upon their employees to practice good cybersecurity, and many do not.
Many brands that suffer a serious data breach often find it difficult or impossible to recover, which is why many companies retain the services of a professional IT company that provides cybersecurity services. Investing in a VPN, MFA and cloud security from a trusted professional can help you significantly reduce the risk of a data breach and deter hackers.
To learn more about how to protect your business from cybercriminals, contact AxiaTP today.