5 Cybersecurity myths that put your small business at risk

5 Cybersecurity myths that put your small business at risk

Cyberattacks are growing in number and sophistication by the minute. This puts businesses at a higher risk of a data breach, especially given the abrupt shift to remote work arrangements that resulted in the use of unsecured devices or connections.

It has therefore become critical to implement tighter cybersecurity measures. It’s also crucial to stay clear of these cybersecurity myths that can do more harm than good.

Myth 1: Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) are of no interest to cybercriminals

Some SMB owners believe that only large corporations are targeted by cybercriminals because only these organizations have something valuable to offer. But the opposite is true. In 2020 alone, almost a third of data breaches involved SMBs.

Any company that handles client data is a target. SMBs can even appear more attractive to cybercriminals than big corporations because they don’t have enterprise-grade cybersecurity and dedicated IT support that large businesses have. The bottom line? Invest in cybersecurity, no matter how small your business is.

Myth 2: Using strong passwords is enough to keep data safe

Strong passwords undoubtedly help protect sensitive data, but they’re not enough to keep cybercriminals out. Many hackers launch brute force attacks on company databases, enabling them to guess users’ login credentials and take over their accounts. Strong passwords may slow hackers down or disinterest them, but that doesn’t mean cybercriminals won’t try other ways to get into your network.

This is why it’s necessary to add as many layers of security as you can to ensure data protection. Strong passwords are a must because they serve as the first layer of defense against threats, but you should enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) as well.

MFA verifies user identity by asking anyone attempting to log in to input a unique code, such as a fingerprint, a one-time password sent to a registered device, or a physical key. By enabling MFA, the risk of breaches becomes significantly lower.

Myth 3: Phishing scams are easy to identify

One in five data breaches in 2020 involved phishing, a fraudulent scheme used by cybercriminals to gain sensitive information or distribute malicious programs. In the past, it was easy to spot phishing emails because most of them have noticeably poor grammar and spelling and were sent using obviously fake email addresses.

These days, fraudsters are more precise. They now weaponize public online databases such as social media profiles and company websites to harvest information about their targets. This allows them to send highly personalized emails containing information that can trick the recipient into thinking that the message came from a legitimate entity. Phishers also often leverage current issues to pique their victims’ interest and get them to click on a compromised link, as we’ve seen from the stratospheric rise of COVID-19-related phishing scams in 2020.

Can you identify a phishing scam when you see one? Take our quiz now.

You can’t simply rely on your employees to identify phishing scams. For one, they may not be trained how to do so. As such, you must use advanced solutions such as email spam filters, antivirus and anti-malware software, and virtual private networks (VPNs). You should also update your computer regularly and install critical patches as soon as possible.

Better yet, partner with a managed IT services provider (MSP) like SpectrumWise. We have a proactive approach to cybersecurity and we deploy cutting-edge cybersecurity defenses to protect your servers from all kinds of threats.

Myth 4: Most cyberthreats are external

Internal threats are just as big a threat to cybersecurity as external ones. Your employees may not intentionally want to compromise your cyber defenses, but they may practice habits that can put your data security at risk.

Your staff can recycle passwords, post sensitive information on social media, or use unsecured connections that can expose company or client data to hackers. They may also lose the devices that they use to access company files, potentially leaving your data accessible to an unauthorized third-party. In some cases, disgruntled employees may deliberately leak business information or infect your systems.

As high as 60% of data breaches can be attributed to insider threats. To mitigate this risk, you must:

  • engage your entire workforce in a continuous security awareness program that develops a culture of privacy and security;
  • evaluate access privileges at all levels to ensure that employees have access only to the files and applications that they need;
  • implement a zero trust approach that, by definition, doesn’t trust any user by default;
  • use mobile device management (MDM) software that allows the IT administrator to wipe data off a mobile device should it get lost or stolen, and;
  • eliminate rogue IT that can disrupt your operations, create organizational silos, and compromise your data.

Myth 5: Cybersecurity is solely a responsibility of the IT department

While your IT department plays a big role in implementing and reviewing cybersecurity policies, your tech experts cannot protect your company by themselves. To achieve an air-tight defense, employees must also do their part in keeping data secure and protected.

Anyone who handles any form of data should undergo security awareness training. Not exempting top-level executives from such cybersecurity programs sends out a strong message that data security is everyone’s responsibility.

Conduct regular live-fire exercises to see how teams and individuals react to specific threats. This gives you insight into how you can improve your cybersecurity posture. More than isolated training, however, your goal should be to make your workforce observe the best cybersecurity practices as naturally as they breathe air.

Cybersecurity is a continuous, constantly evolving endeavor — but you don’t have to face it alone. Partner with SpectrumWise to enjoy a wide range of services, including state-of-the-art cybersecurity defenses, network security audit, email spam protection, and security awareness training. Contact us today to learn more.