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Debunking 5 Cyber Security Myths for SMBs

Data Protection & SecurityAs owners and leaders of small and midsize businesses (SMBs), we have limited resources for IT and cybersecurity.  We should not be surprised, therefore, that SMBs face the biggest threat from ransomware and other cyber attacks.  Beyond the cost and risk of ransomware and encryption attacks, SMBs face business email compromise (BEC) attacks and threats to disclose regulated information.  Recovery costs, fines, and legal actions resulting from a successful attack can destroy your business. And yet, many SMBs remain unaware of the risk and/or lacking reasonable data protections and security.  This post intends to debunk five (5) cyber security myths for SMBs.

1My company is too
small to be a target

While note every attack is successful, one global report states that 86% of SMBs have been hit by ransomware attacks, with 20% attacked more than six times. With fewer resources and less focus on cyber security, SMBs represent an attractive target for attackers.  The increase in remote work and use of remote desktop protocols creates additional opportunities for attackers. Securing and managing these services requires time and attention.

The impact of a successful ransomware attack continues to increase.  According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, the average cost of a successful ransomware attack grew from an average of $34,000 to just under $200,000.

2I cannot afford to protect
against cyber attacks

Cyber attacks are inevitable. Protecting your business does not require expensive solutions.  Your cost for endpoint protection for your devices, advanced threat protection for email, and security awareness training is pennies per day per person.  You can deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA), local disk encryption, and the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) protocols for free. You can deploy cloud-based business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) for less than traditional backup/recovery solutions.

3I have backups,
so I am safe

Not all backup solutions are equal.  Many backup/recovery solutions for SMBs run on the same servers and networks as your business systems. Ransomware and other cyber attacks will seek out and encrypt/damage backup servers to render your backups useless.  Your backup/recovery solutions should be segregated from your production network and systems to shield them from attack.  Business Continuity/DR solutions offer the additional ability to bring systems back on line in an alternate cloud data center while you recover your primary systems.

4Technology alone
will save me

As with most security protocols, people are your first line of defense.  As many as 93% of cyber attacks begin with a phishing attack. People click on links, unwittingly downloading malware or sharing usernames and passwords.

Security awareness training should be a standard practice within your business.  The training is a proven way to reduce risk, decrease infections and help desk requests, reduce the chances of a security breach and strengthen the overall security posture.

5Cyber resiliency is
too hard to achieve

Cyber Resilience is the ability to withstand security attacks and land on your feet, no matter what happens. Cyber resilience protects your business, customers, and employees from ransomware, business email compromise, and other potential issues and attacks.

While some gaps in security will always remain, you can affordably improve your cyber resiliency.

To overcome these 5 small business cyber security myths, review your security footprint, and improve your resilience, please contact us by email, via our website, or by scheduling time directly with one of our Cloud advisors, with any questions or concerns regarding this service update.

9 Cyber Security Tips

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber threats and ransomware attacks have accelerated, exceeding 30,000 attacks per day in the US. Cybersecurity measures have never been more important. The move to remote working environments as well as the vulnerability of global economies in crisis has created an open-season for cybercriminals. No business—big or small—is safe.

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) seemingly have a target on their backs, so strengthening your security posture is essential right now. The good news: There are ways to protect your business against ransomware attacks.

Here are nine tips you that boost your business’ resilience to cyber attacks:

Communicate & Educate

1. Conduct a security risk assessment. Understand potential security threats (e.g., downtime from ransomware) and the impact they may have on your business (lost revenue). Use this information to shape a security strategy that meets your specific needs.

2. Create straightforward cybersecurity policies. Write and distribute a clear set of rules and instructions on cybersecurity practices for employees. This will vary from business to business but may include policies on social media use, bring your own device, authentication requirements, etc.

3. Train your employees. Because cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, an ongoing training plan should be implemented for all employees. This should include examples of threats, as well as instruction on security best practices, and periodic testing.

Prevent & Protect

4. Protect your network and devices. Implement a password policy that requires strong passwords and monitor your employee accounts for breach intel through dark web monitoring. Deploy firewall, VPN, and next-gen antivirus technologies with advanced threat protection. Ensure your network and endpoints are not vulnerable to attacks. Implement mandatory multi-factor authentication. Ongoing network monitoring is essential, as is encrypting hard drives.

5. Keep software up to date. Be vigilant about patch management. Cyber criminals exploit software vulnerabilities using a variety of tactics to gain access to computers and data. Your IT provider should automate this for your businesses with a remote monitoring and management. Keep your mobile phones up to date as well.

6. Back up your data. Daily (or more frequent) backups are a requirement to recover from data corruption or loss resulting from security breaches. Consider using a data protection tools that take incremental backups of data periodically throughout the day to prevent data loss. Remember that you need to protect your data in the cloud as well as you protect your data on local servers and workstations.

7. Know where your data resides. The more places data exists, the more likely it is that unauthorized individuals will be able to access it. Use data discovery tools to find and appropriately secure data along with business-class Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications that allow for corporate control of data. Eliminate redundant and “Shadow IT” services.

8. Control access to computers. Use key cards or similar security measures to control access to facilities. Ensure that employees use strong passwords for laptops and desktops. Give administrative privileges only to trusted staff as needed.

Respond & Recover

9. Enable uptime. Choose a powerful data protection solution that enables “instant recovery” of data and applications. In fact, 92% of managed IT service providers report that companies with business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) products in place are less likely to experience significant downtime from ransomware and are back up and running quickly. Application downtime can significantly impact a business’ ability to generate revenue. Can your business afford downtime costs that are 23X greater (up by 200% year-over-year) than the average ransom requested in 2019?

The best defense is a good offense. A robust, multi-layered cybersecurity strategy can save your business. Contact us to learn more and for a free Cyber Security Assessment.