10 Major Reasons Small Businesses Are Still Vulnerable To Malware Attacks
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We have seen firsthand the common errors and oversights that lead to infections and intrusions – and we want to help your business learn from those mistakes.
When it comes right down to it, cybersecurity best practices are not nearly as complicated or confusing as they seem on the surface. That’s not to say that security is simple, but rather that the best precautions have more to do with common sense and practicality than anything else. Yes, the software and safeguards you choose matter, but the best way to avoid something like malware damaging your business is to be smart about all aspects of your cybersecurity – not just the technological parts.
Here are the 10 main reasons businesses like yours are still at serious risk of suffering a malware attack.
1) You Still Think It Can’t Happen To You – Smaller businesses have a habit of assuming that just because they’re not a Fortune 500 company, a cybercriminal would have no interest in disrupting their operations or stealing their data. The reality is that couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes minimal effort on a hacker’s part to successfully target an SMB that has invested very little in their IT security, letting them use your business for practice or sport, and profit off of your stolen data. Most of the new malware variants are automated and target ANY business that lacks protection from a particular vulnerability.
2) Threats Evolve Faster Than You Realize – Like any other aspect of technology, malware and other cyber threats are constantly changing and evolving. Hackers are continually coming up with new ways to target businesses, and are creating more advanced threats. If you’re not up to date on the latest malware strains and zero-day exploits, you very likely have a gaping hole in your cyber defenses. This level of vigilance is all but impossible to achieve without full-time IT security staff at your disposal.
3) Your Staff Isn’t Up To Date With Security Best Practices – Your employees are both your best defense and your biggest weakness. Just about every cyber threat out there relies heavily — if not entirely — on the unwitting assistance of someone inside your organization to be effective. If your staff isn’t well-educated on security best practices and offered ongoing training and information to keep them up to date, any number of threats can target your business with ease.
4) Your Policies And Protocols Are Lacking – Your policies need to focus on more than just password control. At the minimum, you should have two-factor authentication and access controls in place to protect mission-critical data. By tightly regulating access to your files, folders, and systems, you can reduce the odds of an unauthorized users getting their hands on your data or finding a way inside your network.
5) You’ve Got Major Exposure To Multi-Vector Attacks – A standard firewall or antivirus will only protect your network against certain types of infections or attacks. If your security measures and protocols don’t take into account email, web browsing behaviors, file sharing, and network activity, your defenses won’t hold up under a multi-vector attack.
6) Your Technology Is Too Complex For Your Administrators To Manage Effectively – When you leave the responsibility for your business’ cybersecurity in the hands of a single in-house IT person or designate a staff member the administrator of these systems, you could be setting your business up to fail. A solid IT security system is far too complex for a single individual to manage on their own. Automating as much of your cybersecurity as possible can help to lighten the load, but these systems still need oversight to run effectively.
7) Your Systems And Software Are Out Of Date – An alarming number of malware infections — including the now-infamous WannaCry ransomware virus — use pre-existing system or software exploits to gain access to targeted systems. More often than not, security experts are aware these exploits exist, and release patches and updates designed to rectify the problem long before a hacker figures out how to make use of said exploit. However, if you’re not keeping on top of these patches and updates, you’re essentially propping a door open for a cybercriminal to waltz right through.
8) You’ve Got Zero Network Visibility – If you’ve got little to no idea about what’s going on inside of and around your network, it’s more than a little difficult to spot threats. Network monitoring tools can quickly detect both internal and external threats, and contain them before they can cause damage.
9) You’ve Got Lackluster Data Backup Practices – The most terrifying malware infection to date has been ransomware, and no other infection makes a better case for the importance of data backups. Without current and complete backups available for your business to restore from – specifically offsite backups that are insulated from threats that target your network and systems – it’s next to impossible to survive a ransomware attack. Businesses that don’t have reliable and up to date data backups to count on will typically close their doors within six months of a major data loss incident.
10) You’re Falling Short Of Compliance Requirements – Any compliance regulations your business is subject to – whether that be HIPAA, PCI, or any other industry-specific guidelines – will make strict recommendations for security. Simply by working to make sure you’re meeting these requirements, you can take a huge step towards better cybersecurity practices.
At the end of the day, great cybersecurity is not impossible to achieve. Often, it just comes down to having the right support in place. The true value of working with an MSP like Symtec comes not from the specialized tools and support we can offer, but from the guidance and advice, you can only receive from experienced and knowledgeable technology professionals who understand your world, and the threats present in it.