A company’s network and employee practices need routine reviewing for cyberattack vulnerabilities to keep vital assets protected from cybercriminals. While technology is necessary for most businesses’ daily operations, using it increases opportunities for malicious traffic and hackers. The average cost of a cyberattack on a small business is higher than most realize, and when inadequate protections are in place, the results can be devastating.
Read on to understand which companies are most at risk of cyberattacks and how to identify an organization’s vulnerabilities that put employee, customer and company data at risk.
Which Companies Are Vulnerable to Cybercrime?
Companies of any size in any sector that uses networks for file sharing and data storage are vulnerable to cybercrimes. Even though large enterprises gain the most public attention, small businesses are targeted more frequently with potentially disastrous consequences.
Are Small Businesses More Vulnerable to Cyberattacks?
Despite how often data breaches of major corporations are publicized, small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than large enterprises because most do not invest in robust cybersecurity tools or have a dedicated IT team. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in addition to Fortune 500 companies need to know how to prevent cyberattacks on businesses, which starts with identifying where improvements can be made in employee training, policies and cybersecurity measures.
Causes of Cyberattack Vulnerabilities
All companies should draft a digital security continuity plan and update it frequently. The team that drafts the plan must evaluate where the company is vulnerable and name mitigation tactics. Effective risk monitoring takes effort up front but saves valuable downtime and money in the event of an attack. The committee developing the business continuity plan for cyberattacks should look to these areas to discover vulnerabilities:
Unmanaged Operating Systems & Networks
A small business that does not have a dedicated IT team to watch for firmware upgrades or to recommend updates when safety is a concern can be a target for hackers. Misconfigured firewalls and unprotected Wi-Fi give cybercriminals easy access to an organization’s assets. Other sources of entry are telecommuters working without a properly set up VPN. Managed IT services can take the place of in-house IT staff to maintain devices and help secure business Internet through routers and remote networks.
Weak Security Protocols & Procedures
Most hackers rely on businesses’ untrained employees and unclear protocols to gain access and infect devices with malware, Trojans or viruses. A team assigned to identify security risks will find a lack of standard operating procedures a telltale sign of vulnerabilities. When written protocols do not exist for creating passwords, accessing VPN networks, sharing files and downloading peripheral programs, employees could unknowingly create opportunities for cybercriminals.
Many experts say that undertrained employees are an organization’s biggest cybersecurity weakness. While a business cannot eliminate human error entirely, prioritizing employee education on common cybersecurity threats at workplaces improves accountability and prevents cyberattacks. Surveying workers on topics like phishing and phone scams or what a VPN is will alert any committee looking for vulnerabilities to where training could be improved to prevent security gaps.
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