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Cybersecurity

Cyber Security Expert Weighs In On Securing Your Small Biz

As shown by the recent Equifax hack, cyber security is vital for your business. But should your small business be that concerned? After all, you’re not a large corporation funneling millions and millions into your revenue stream. The answer, however, is yes. You might not be aware of it, but hackers target businesses that don’t take their cyber security seriously.

In fact, 43 percent of hackers specifically target small businesses while only 14 percent of said businesses can rate their preventative measures against these attacks as highly effective. Still not convinced? Check out these stats:

  • 55 percent of small businesses say they’ve experienced a cyber-attack within the last year.
  • 50 percent of these businesses report a data breach of customer and employee information.
  • 49 percent say the attacks come from the web while 43 percent come from phishing emails.
  • Only 27 percent were external hackers being the root cause while most attacks came after negligent employees (49 percent) or third-parties (41 percent) made mistakes.
  • Only 16 percent of small businesses reviewed their cybersecurity measures after they were hit by an attack.

Cyber security often comes with misconceptions, especially for small businesses. The largest misconception for small businesses is that they won’t be targeted by a hacker. Hackers work in the numbers game, which means everything is automated and they will spray and pray at everyone. They will hit both your personal or business networks. No matter how small your business, it’s important to always be prepared and preventative against cyber security threats.

If you’re hit with a threat, your reputation will be damaged, along with your small business information and consumer information. Customers must be alerted if their information is stolen, and they’ll be unlikely to forgive or forget. The costs of a cyber security threat are far greater than losing some revenue. You could damage your reputation completely.

Looking into the future, there is hope for smaller businesses as many of the large enterprise focused security companies and startups are focusing on solving the SMB security problem.

If you’re not sure how to start avoiding these threats, here are some tips on how to help your small business take preventative measures.

  1. First, consider moving to secure business hosting such as Google Apps or Office 365. They are secure enough for enterprises and offer everything you need for a small business. In fact don’t consider just do it!
  2. Make sure that you enable two-factor authorization on accounts (both personal and business). This will ensure even if your passwords are compromised attackers have another barrier they must overcome.
  3. If your website isn’t set up with a reputable provider, look into one (like Squarespace or Hosted WordPress). Small hosting providers are at higher risk as they usually don’t have the capital for dedicated security teams and well managed updates and maintenance.
  4. Put your website behind services such as Cloudflare which not only make your website safe from attacks & denial of service but also have the benefit of making the website faster.

A couple personal final tips to take away

  1. Always think “passphrase” never “password”. Make sure your passwords are interesting quotes or full sentences or phrases that you say. For example, “braves1994!” is not as secure as “ilovethebravestheywillwinthenextworldseries”
  2. ALWAYS, apply the latest updates to your phone and computer.. let me repeat.. ALWAYS!
  3. Use a secure password manager such as 1Password or the password manager in Google Chrome.
  4. If you click on any link in any email or website and it takes you to a page asking for login or personal information, exit the browser and open a new tab and go directly to the companies website and login. Never do it from a link. 

Caleb Sima has 20+ years of experience in the security industry, moving from hacker to entrepreneur to Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). Currently, Sima is the Managing Vice President of Cyber Security at Capital One and a board member of Colbat.io. Previously, Sima was the CEO of both Bluebox Security and of Armorize Technologies, an internationally-acclaimed SaaS-based malware monitoring and code security analysis firm. To follow Sima, check out his Twitter and Crunchbase pages.

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.