Is your business at risk of a cyber-attack? Here’s how to tell.

Written by Shannon Flynn

Cybersecurity is unavoidable in the digital world. Businesses of all sizes need ways to protect themselves and their employees from cyberattacks. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sometimes have cause to worry if they do not have the correct protections in place. Whether it’s addressing recent small business cyber attacks or preventing future ones, you should understand the  risk that you are exposed to.

The Cyber Basics

Cybercriminals can attack in different ways. Scams and viruses are always a prominent threat and  can disrupt and infect devices, ultimately corrupting them. Phishing is also common. It happens via email and can be very convincing.

Phishing scams often mask themselves as trustworthy people or sites. For instance, a phishing email may impersonate your supervisor asking for information. Other times, the attack could come in the form of asking you to click on a link. The link may appear to be a site you know but the URL could be even just one character or letter off from normal.

From there, your business is vulnerable to a cyberattack. Only if you click on the bait, though — hence the name phishing.

Remember, 43% of all cyber attacks target small businesses and come in all shapes and sizes. With stats like that, it’s important for SMEs operators to remain vigilant and implement the necessary protections across their IT systems.

Are You At Risk?

Cyber threats can occur at any time and have wide-reaching effects. Your business could lose valuable data, face lawsuits, lose revenue and have private information exposed.

For instance, recent small business cyber attacks include one from a New York man that caused a national trade company to lose over $1 million — for which he later pled guilty. Another instance includes Volunteer Voyages losing over $14,000 due to fraud.

To prevent these attacks and this kind of money loss, you need to first understand where you are at risk.

Do you have security protocols and systems in place? Does everyone you work with understand what a phishing scam is? Do you lack multifactor authentication?

Essentially, the less security you have in place such as authentication, training and education, the more vulnerable you are to attacks. The consequences of an attack don’t end with the scam either. Reputational damage is an influencer for customers. Keep in mind that 81% of survey respondents said they would stop engaging with an online brand following a public attack.

Therefore, you’ll need ways to boost your security and prevent business cyberattacks.

How to Prevent Attacks

The reason small and medium-sized businesses are more vulnerable to attacks is because they might not be investing in expensive, high-tech security. Not to worry, though, you can still put strategies in place to protect you, your company and your employees from any cyber scams. Follow these steps:

  1. Educate your employees. Make sure everyone knows what a phishing scam looks like. Tell them it’s better to be safe than sorry. If something in their inbox looks suspicious, it probably is.
  2. Invest in antivirus software and a firewall system. They’re cost-effective and will go a long way to protecting your data.
  3. Implement multi factor authentication on your platforms.
  4. Monitor your systems. If something seems off, be sure to check it out. You never know when a scam will hit.

You must also maintain open channels of workplace communication. It’s what keeps the business afloat and moving forward.

A Safe Business

With each scam, attackers grow smarter and more advanced. By taking all the precautions you can, you protect your business from the dark side of the cyber world. Then, you keep your company safe and continuing onwards, business as usual.

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is an author at ReHack.