How to Avoid the 5 Biggest Cybersecurity Mistakes of Small Businesses
For small businesses, even a considerably small cyberattack can have significant consequences. Smaller companies are typically operating on tight margins. Trying to keep costs as low as possible, while also growing their business.
Cybersecurity might take a back seat to more sales-oriented expenditures, but just one security incident can cost a lot more than a monthly managed services plan. It can also have long-term impacts.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre reported that in the 2021-2022 financial year, small businesses experienced an average cost of $39,000 per cybercrime incident.
Dependence on technology offers numerous advantages, but it also exposes small businesses to a range of cybersecurity threats. In fact, small businesses are often considered prime targets for cyberattacks due to their limited resources and sometimes inadequate cybersecurity measures.
If you’re struggling with where to put your limited security dollars first, it may help to know what mistakes most smaller companies are making. Let’s take a look at the five biggest cybersecurity missteps of small businesses.
1. Neglecting Employee Training
One of the most common and critical mistakes small businesses make is neglecting employee cybersecurity training. Employees are often the first line of defence against cyber threats, and their actions can significantly impact a company’s security posture. Many security breaches occur due to simple human errors, such as clicking on phishing emails or using weak passwords.
To avoid this mistake, invest in cybersecurity training for your employees. Teach them about common threats, the importance of strong passwords, how to recognise phishing attempts, and best practices for secure data handling. Regularly update and reinforce this training to keep employees informed about evolving threats.
Also, training doesn’t have to be everyone sitting in a conference room for 2 hours. There are many different ways to brush up your team’s cybersecurity skills. Such as:
- Short 1-topic videos
- On-demand webinar
- Online phishing identification tests
- Team-oriented security events
2. Failing to Regularly Update Software
Outdated software is a common vulnerability that cybercriminals exploit. It’s also one of the easiest to rectify. Small businesses may overlook the importance of keeping all software, including operating systems, antivirus programs, and applications, up to date. Failing to do so can leave your business exposed to known vulnerabilities.
Make it a priority to regularly update all software on your network. Enable automatic updates whenever possible to ensure that security patches are applied promptly. This simple step can significantly reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
Additionally, managed IT security services can take all those patches and updates off your plate. You’ll get these managed for you along with benefitting from many other protective measures.
3. Ignoring the Importance of Backups
Data loss can be catastrophic for any business, especially small ones that may lack the resources to recover quickly. Yet, many small businesses make the mistake of not prioritising regular data backups. Data can be lost due to various reasons, including hardware failures, ransomware attacks, or accidental deletions.
Implement a robust backup strategy that includes regular backups of critical data to secure, offsite locations. Test your backups periodically to ensure they can be restored successfully in the event of a data loss incident. Don’t forget that cloud platforms also need to have their data backed up.
4. Underestimating the Value of Strong Passwords & MFA
Weak passwords are an open invitation to cybercriminals. Small businesses often make the mistake of using easily guessable passwords or failing to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). This oversight can lead to unauthorised access and data breaches.
Over a third (37%) of Australian businesses have experienced a cloud data breach within the last year. Human error was the leading cause.
Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords for all accounts and systems. Implement MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security. Consider using password management tools to help employees generate and store complex passwords securely.
5. Neglecting Network Security
Small businesses sometimes assume that cyberattacks only happen to larger corporations and neglect network security measures. However, this is a dangerous misconception. Cybercriminals often target small businesses precisely because they assume they’ll have weaker defences than bigger companies.
Invest in robust network security solutions, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software. Have your network regularly monitored for suspicious activities and implement strong access controls to limit who can access sensitive data.
Check Out Our Small Business-Friendly Cybersecurity Services
Small businesses must take cybersecurity seriously to protect themselves from potential threats. This is an ongoing effort, and staying vigilant is key to safeguarding your business and customer data from cyber threats.
GKM2 can help your Sydney area business with robust and affordable cybersecurity solutions and services. Our goal is to provide value so that you end up saving money in the long run and avoiding a devastating attack.
Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.