Cyber crime: could your small business be a target?

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Date: 7 February 2020

A businessman looks upset and frustrated after finding out his firm has been targeted by fraudsters.

“Why me?”. It’s a question that every victim of crime asks themselves. They wonder if they could have done something differently. Whether they were unknowingly giving signals that identified them as an easy mark. Which of their security precautions was the one that failed them.

This is especially true of cyber crime. And while such a crime is never the victim’s fault, a cyber attack must necessitate a detailed analysis of your security provision. Anything from your website design to your business premises can identify you as a target for opportunistic cyber criminals.

But why do small businesses, and your small business in particular, have such a prominent target on their backs? Let’s take a look...

You’re an easy target

When we read about cyber crime, phishing, ransomware and other high profile cyber crime attacks, we only usually hear about the big fish. The NHS systems compromised by WannaCry, the weaknesses exploited in Google or the various ransomware attacks that brought local government departments in the US to their knees.

This can trick smaller businesses into assuming that they’re below the reach of cyber criminals. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s estimated that two-thirds of UK small businesses with 49 staff members or fewer have been targeted by cyber criminals.

Assuming that you’re under the radar can cause you to cut corners on your security provisions, making you an easy target. 

Smaller, trusting teams create phishing opportunities

One of the great things about working for a small business is the intimate and friendly atmosphere they enjoy and the camaraderie between employees. However, smaller and more trusting teams are more likely to open emails without proper scrutiny and won’t think twice about opening attachments… and that can make them ripe for phishing opportunities.

No matter how small your team, and how much you trust in their vigilance, make sure every member of your team knows a phishing email when they see it

Your on-site security is tight, but what about your mobile security?

Even if you’ve invested heavily in your on-site cyber security, that may not be enough to protect you in an era where work is making its way out of the workplace.

With more and more companies embracing the cost and logistical advantages of remote working, many small businesses are sending their team members out on the road, allowing them to work from home or enabling them to work in the office on their own personal mobile devices. And that can open up a world of vulnerabilities. 

Mobile security is a sizable investment and one that can bring with it certain teething issues and logistical headaches. However, if you underestimate its importance, it’s only a matter of time until your lack of mobile security infrastructure catches up with you. 

So, no matter how small your business is, never make the mistake of assuming that it’s beneath the attention of digital ne’er-do-wells. Invest in your on-site and mobile security and make sure your team (however small) is constantly on the lookout for cyber threats. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jeremy Bowler

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