Network Security is viewed by many small businesses as a secondary expense. You may believe the same, thinking that your size protects you from danger because you won’t be seen as worth it, or because you have little to lose. Unfortunately, neither of those things are true. Network attacks aren’t always profit-based – some simply want to hinder operations – and you have plenty to lose. Failing to protect credit information, for example, destroys and limits customer trust in your company and brand.
An operation as small as yours can’t afford that kind of hindrance. Here are a few things you need to realize about network security:
Hollywood has popularized the idea of online cyber-attacks being the greatest threat to network security. While it’s certainly a possibility, it’s far from the biggest problem you face. Your people are your greatest network vulnerability. Getting information from secure areas is often a matter of social engineering, rather than technical or computer.
For example, hackers can get a lot done with access to an email account. They can trick accountants into wiring money out of the company, or gain access to critical information. If you think that’s unlikely, consider that over a billion dollars was stolen this way between 2013 and 2016.
The best way to handle this is to have systems in place. Transfers for large sums of money, for example, should go through multiple approvals and verifications. You should also make sure entire office is up-to-date on common scams so they know when to be wary.
Apple devices have come to be known as products immune to both viruses and hacking. Unfortunately, “common knowledge” isn’t always correct. Previously, the lack of Apple hacks was due to their lack of market share. Now that they’ve made themselves more of a household name, hackers have turned their sites on their devices. Just ask anyone who’s had their private photos hacked.
Just because you’ve got an Apple device doesn’t mean you’re safe. All it means is you need to plan for another point of entry.
Not all network attacks are motivated by immediate profit. Some attacks are designed to simply hamper your business, either because it will profit a competitor or because you made the wrong person mad. This is dangerous because one of the best ways to hamper your small business is affordable, and that’s a denial of service attacks.
Imagine if your customers couldn’t access your app or website for a day. For the low price of $5 per hour, that could happen. You’re not just losing business for that day, you’re losing future business from customers who will never come back after that poor an experience. Fortunately, if you’re aware of the problem, you can look into solutions. There’s affordable software and services available that can help mitigate an attack, should it occur.
The primary purpose of security is not to fully secure your business, because that’s impossible. Given enough time, any security system can be broken. The goal is to make your small business so difficult to hack that it become impractical to do so.
Multiple authentication steps, for example, can keep a lot of hacks at bay. Gmail has a two-step verification process available that asks for a code sent to your phone if the account is accessed from a new location or device. This can protect you from stolen passwords and tell you that an attack is occurring before it is too late. Look into applying something similar to your network.
Network security is always changing. New vulnerabilities and counter-measures are developed every day, and it’s practically impossible to keep up with that and run a small business. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Hiring a professional lets you focus on your business, while simultaneously keeping it safe. Focus on best security practices, and let them handle the grittier issues.
Ignoring your small business’s network security opens you up to numerous ways to fail. Putting so much effort into protecting your information may seem silly, even useless, at times, but the consequences of a breach or a denial of service attack make that effort an investment into your company’s future. You need to pay attention to it if you want your company to survive.