Hacking has always been a cause of concern for business owners, and the fact that even large organizations and government databases have been targeted is a testament to the importance of cyber security. When a large firm that has millions of customers and tons of data is hit by a cyber attack, it graces the front pages of newspapers and gets exclusive TV coverage.
These large companies are the ones that put in considerable effort and might into making sure that their data is protected and it is not breached. Hence, when their systems are breached, it is a highly significant development.
On the other hand, the approach taken by smaller businesses is often starkly different. They set aside and at times ignore the threat of cyber attacks, paying little attention to cyber security measures. The reason behind it? They either believe that their data has nothing so valuable that they hackers and cyber attackers would deem them worthy of an attack, or they simply can’t find money in the budget for it. Is that the right approach? There are many people who can put up arguments in favor and against, but in our opinion, any kind of security that can safeguard the property and reputation of your business is a good investment.
This article will lay down the reasons why cyber security needs to be feature prominently if not at the very top of your priority list for your small business. Claiming that you have nothing worth being breached or stolen is not a valid view point to adopt, also the fact that the media never highlights the small business hacks doesn’t, by any stretch of imagination, mean that this isn’t happening in real life.
If it were a few years ago, small businesses wouldn’t have been entirely wrong in dismissing the threat of cyber attacks. Back then the chance of an attack on smaller relatively unknown businesses was rare and the security gateways were controlled tightly. Now, the ball game has changed and hackers have come to realize that unlike large businesses that are harder to pick through and breach, smaller enterprises are soft and easy targets, vulnerable to their attacks.
Here is a list of some of the reasons why cyber security is a must for small businesses in this day and age.
Your Data Silos Grow with Your Company
When you start an enterprise you are more than likely to have started in on a minute scale. Back then in 6 months of operation your business would have been a relative nobody in the market and your data entry sheet will have little records of customers etc. At such a time it would only be natural to think that your business is basically insignificant for hackers to target.
Yet, what if two years on your company is growing in stature, there are customers flocking to receive your service and hundreds and thousands of customer records retained on your data base. Would your business still not be a target for malicious users? Think again, because even though your business is still small, it has become significant and therefore vulnerable to a cyber attack.
The Past Coming Back to Haunt
When you start a business or are running a small business there is very little in terms of set patterns and practices to follow. There are little or no chances for you to have any security protocols and don’t list established for you to follow. When you are in charge of a small business there are many tricks you use to try and further the growth of your business such as signing up for online services, opening a number of different bank accounts, using cloud tools etc.
These you may not know can often come back to haunt you. Once you abandon them, they become security holes for hackers to exploit, which you should beware of.
Unaware of the Legal Repercussions
What is cyber security? Most entrepreneurs will be able to answer the question with some degree of authority based on their limited but accurate knowledge. However can you highlight the legal repercussions that a breach of customer data could spell for your business? When you hold customer data there are legal rules and regulations that dictate your activities and need to be followed. Large business have entire departments to deal with such situations, since you small business doesn’t the least you can do is ensure that whatever data you hold is kept safe and secure.
Any Website is a Potential Target
Like other industries and markets, the world of hacking is seeing new entrants into the arena. This is only decreasing the space of functioning for the older hackers and meanings that the once prized target websites are subject to many suitors. This means that for most hackers they would have to turn to other more accessible websites.
Typically hackers spend their days knocking on different servers one after another to look for slight bits of chinks to exploit. Small business typically have virtual private servers and before you know it your private server could be used by these hackers to send out hundreds of spam emails all without you even knowing about it. What harm would it cost you? Quite simply it will get your site blacklisted and not leave the best of impressions of your business on the customers.
Protection from Hacking
Cyber attacks and hacking have become increasingly common and you may not feel threatened initially since the media reports on larger firms, you will have to take care eventually or else fall prey to underestimation or risk and a cyber attack. There are many ways you can protect your business from cyber attacks. Some of them are outlined below in brief.
- Step up the Passwords that you use, make them unique
- Ensure that your cookies are cleaned frequently
- Make ample use of encryptions
- Install security software online
- Ensure that your computer is safe from breach
- Don’t keep client data when it is not needed.
- Stay well away from any suspicious electronic correspondence irrespective of where it has come from.
Cyber security is an issue for everyone around the world, i.e. all businesses irrespective of their size. Hence even if you own a small business you need to worry about the cyber security of your business and ensure that its data is kept safe and secure at all times.