Think only big companies like Microsoft, Twitter, and Google are prime targets for online criminals? Think again. In 2019, the Ponemon Institute’s State of Cybersecurity study determined that more than two in five cyberattacks targeted small businesses — and that less than 14% surveyed small businesses knew how to respond.
Worse still, two-thirds of senior executives believe they won’t be affected by online crime. And a similar amount have no cybersecurity strategy in place at their companies whatsoever, according to Keeper Security’s 2019 SMB Cyberthreat Study.
The economic impact will begin to be felt, as well, as evidenced by Europe’s recent GDPR law strengthening data privacy. After just 18 month of enforcement, more than 160,900 companies were forced to pay more than $125 million in fines — and that’s after reporting their data breaches to government regulators, taking a hit in the realm of public reputation, too.
What do these numbers mean for your business?
If you’re silently nodding your head and thinking, “What would I do if a cyberattack strikes?” it’s time to take action. Online criminals are becoming more intelligent, targeting more widespread systems, and launching more complex attacks than ever before. In minutes, these attacks can infect entire networks, encrypt years of data, and bring day-to-day operations to a screeching halt.
In this day and age, it’s no longer a matter of if your company will be compromised and more a matter of when. Simply ignoring the threat of data breaches, password hacks, and ransomware is akin to walking out of your office without locking the front door — then leaving your house and car unlocked, too, so that anyone can steal anything they like.
The good news is that action can be taken. Whether you’re a large enterprise with multiple locations and thousands of employees or a small business with one storefront, a couple of employees, and a few computers, CMIT Solutions can help. We’ve identified 5 major factors that can highlight and mitigate the threat your business might face from cyberattacks, online scams, and data disasters.
1) Assess any computers that might be running old operating systems.
A huge issue that thousands of businesses deal with every year comes from regularly scheduled “end of life” or “end of support” proclamations. For instance, Microsoft recently discontinued support for its Windows 7 operating system. Hackers will often go after specific machines running old operating systems as soon as their “end of life” date passes, compromising any unsecured data or stealing easily accessible personal information for future use.
2) Secure all mobile devices used by employees.
This includes laptops, tablets, and smartphones — some of the most important devices in today’s business world. Nearly every company has at least one remote employee or traveling staff member who works from the road. As a business owner or manager, you’re responsible for deploying extra layers of IT security measures on those devices to manage protected data and monitor potentially dangerous Internet connections.
3) Develop a data backup plan that works.
Speaking of smart data management, if you’re not regularly, remotely, and redundantly backing up company information on a daily basis, your business is at risk. Many of the most dangerous recent cyberattacks (think ransomware and spearphishing) work because most companies don’t have access to extra copies of relevant data. That increases the often-desperate payment of thousands of dollars of ransom to retrieve stolen or encrypted information. Treating your data like the lifeblood of your business means protecting it against everything from natural disasters to malicious attacks to hardware failure. And it pays: all it takes is one or two days of significant data downtime to severely affect your company’s bottom line.
4) Give your people the cybersecurity training they deserve.
Many of the most common cybersecurity problems occur due to human error: clicking on a malicious web link, accidentally opening an infected attachment, or providing confidential information to a hacker posing as a co-worker or executive. That’s why CMIT Solutions takes employee training so seriously. Consider your smart, well-informed employees to be the first line of cybersecurity defense, flagging spam emails or alerting higher-ups to suspicious online activity.
5) Work with an IT support staff that understands your company.
A part-time employee handling computer issues on the side won’t get it done. In our rapidly evolving digital landscape, your business deserves dedicated IT support that addresses short-term vulnerabilities while working with you to develop a long-term strategy for business success. None of the cybersecurity strategies mentioned above matter without a trusted IT provider working to keep you and your employees safe.
At CMIT Solutions, we go above and beyond just providing IT support. We’re proud to serve our clients as a true business partner, working 24/7/365 to match the right IT solutions to your company’s needs. We defend your data, strengthen your systems, and empower your employees to work smarter and more efficiently. If you want to focus on growing your business instead of worrying about a potential cyberattack or data hack, contact CMIT Solutions today.