8 Biggest Small Business Cybersecurity Misconceptions

Cyber-security. (Image: man w laptop at desk.)

Small businesses are the lifeblood of American prosperity. Almost half of all workers in the country work for a business with fewer than 500 employees – and that doesn’t even account for the some 27 million small business owners who are their own sole employee.

You may read this article HERE in its entirety on National Cybersecurity Alliance’s website

Unfortunately, because small businesses are the drivers of our economy, they are also a ripe target for cyberattacks. The FBI recently reported that the majority of cybercrime victims are small businesses. 

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We get it – you’re focused on customer acquisition, shipping, marketing, and getting the job done. But security needs to play a role in your operation. If you and your employees adopt a handful of behaviors, you can vastly improve your cyber defenses and keep your company rolling.  

To learn new behaviors, though, you will first need to “unlearn” some misconceptions. Here are the top eight small business cybersecurity misconceptions…and how your outfit can overcome them.  

Misconception 1: We Are Not a Target for Cybercriminals 

It’s a common misconception among small business owners to believe that they are not a target for cybercriminals. Shouldn’t the hackers be focused on the Fortune 500 and not little ol’ me? In reality, every business, regardless of its size, the type of data it handles, or the industry it operates in, is susceptible to cyberattacks. Above everything else, cybercriminals are opportunistic, and they often see small and medium-sized businesses as prime targets due to a perception that they will have weaker cybersecurity defenses. Small businesses can fall victim to a range of cyber threats, including ransomware and impersonation scams.  

Attackers look to exploit vulnerabilities, seeking financial gain or access to your sensitive information. To protect your small business, regularly conduct security audits to identify vulnerabilities, encourage employees to use strong, unique passwords, learn to identify phishing attempts, and keep your software up to date. Because any business can be a target, cybersecurity should be a priority for all businesses, regardless of size.   

Misconception 2: Cybersecurity is a Technology Issue 

It’s a widespread belief that cybersecurity is a tech issue for the geeks to worry about. In fact, most cyberattacks occur through social engineering, where a criminal infiltrates a system through your people and processes. This could involve an employee unwittingly clicking a link in a phishing email, or a vendor being impersonated and sending you a fake invoice. Very few attacks involve the brute-force cracking of an account (assuming the password is strong and unique, that is). Cybersecurity encompasses not just technology, but also the people and processes within an organization. Human error and negligence pose significant threats. Employees who click on malicious links, use weak passwords, or inadvertently share sensitive information can compromise the security of your entire business. Prioritize building a culture of awareness and responsibility among your staff.  

Comprehensive training programs help, and you should implement clear cybersecurity policies and guidelines. Reward and recognize employees who demonstrate good cybersecurity habits. Make security a collective responsibility and a fundamental part of the organizational culture – then your defenses become stronger and your people are a force multiplier for technology-based security measures like antivirus software. Physical security is also paramount – don’t strangers in the front door, escort visitors, use cameras, separate areas with network equipment behind locked doors, and always use shred sensitive documents! 

Misconception 3: Cybersecurity Requires a Huge Financial Investment 

If you start thinking of cybersecurity as a set of behaviors, you will begin to see that protecting yourself won’t blow a hole in your balance sheet. Undoubtedly, security for your organization will probably cost money, but the investment is worth it. One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that cybersecurity necessitates a financial commitment that’s beyond the reach of small and medium-sized businesses. You don’t have to break the bank, and numerous cost-effective solutions are tailored to suit companies in your position. Many cloud-based services offer robust security features, such as data encryption and access controls, often at a fraction of the cost of …

Read on…article continues HERE on National Cybersecurity Alliance’s website

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