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5 of the Biggest Cybersecurity Mishaps in 2019 for Small Businesses

Cybersecurity is a key issue for modern businesses of all sizes to understand. Small businesses often fail to pay close attention to cybersecurity, especially when trying to manage their IT in-house. But without expert guidance, it’s easy for small businesses to make mistakes and fall victim to cyber threats. 

Businesses that fail to take the correct steps to protect their IT infrastructure could miss out on a range of benefits and be left vulnerable to the growing threat of cyber attacks.

The best way to avoid making major mistakes in cybersecurity is to be aware of what could happen to your systems and have a plan and process in place to avoid it. The following mishaps could spell trouble for your small business, but it’s also possible to make the right moves to prevent them:

1. Not Understanding Major Cyber Threats

All small businesses should be aware of the types of cyber threats that can lead to serious damage within their company. Being ignorant about the cyber threats that are out there can cost your business both financially and reputationally.

Some of the types of cyber threats include phishing, ransomware, backdoors, DDoS attacks, spyware, and more. There are many ways that hackers could get hold of data from your business or cause problems that disrupt your business or even bring it to a halt. 

It’s important to understand the various forms these threats can take, including seemingly unsuspicious emails, links, and more which infect your system with harmful malware and viruses. One particularly vicious threat is ransomware, which is estimated to have cost global businesses $11.5 billion in 2019 alone. If you aren’t suspecting ransomware, you won’t be able to prevent the often subtle ways it can attack your systems.

2. Not Having a Cybersecurity Plan

The best way to tackle any problem is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. If you can’t prevent it, you should at least have a plan in advance to know how you’re going to react in the case of an unexpected disaster. 

It’s vital that small businesses have a cybersecurity plan that protects against the threats that face their systems daily. It’s important not to make the mistake of thinking that as a small business, you don’t need to have a disaster recovery plan. Businesses of all sizes can be greatly affected by cybersecurity threats.

In fact, small businesses can be more affected than anyone else. Recent reports show that 25% of small businesses affected by cyberattacks have filed for bankruptcy, while 10% have gone out of business entirely.

3. Not Keeping Cybersecurity Updated

New cybersecurity threats can arrive on the scene all the time, and businesses need to keep up. It’s essential to update your business’s cybersecurity plans to protect against constantly emerging new threats.

Not using GEO-IP filtering at the firewall level, VPN for remote access, or allowing firewall ports, such as RDP (3389 or a custom variant) to remain open are major security risks.  

One such threat that can affect businesses is zero-day vulnerabilities. These are software security flaws that the vendor knows about, but which don’t yet have a patch to fix the flaw. According to a report from WatchGuard, zero-day vulnerability instances rose to 50% of malware detections in Q3 of 2019. Without 24/7 monitoring of your systems, these vulnerabilities will likely go unnoticed and can be a major susceptibility in your system, leading to a security breach.

One prominent example of this occuring is the breach on credit reporting firm Equifax. Although the zero-day vulnerability started out without a patch, by the time the breach occurred, the patch for the Strutshock flaw had been available for months. The flaw remained unfixed on Equifax servers and led to a data breach that could have been prevented.

4. Not Allocating a Budget for Cybersecurity/System Updates

Budgeting for cybersecurity and system updates ensures your business will always be able to afford to prevent costly attacks. However, Accenture says that just 14% of small businesses are prepared to defend themselves, despite more than 40% of cyberattacks being aimed at small businesses. 

It could be much more costly in the long-run if you fail to have a budget in place for cybersecurity. In fact, cyberattacks cost companies an average of $200,000 according to Hiscox. Even a limited budget can afford the services (such as through a Managed Service Provider) you need to protect your business. 

5. Not Working with an MSP

It can be a challenge to manage your entire IT infrastructure and cybersecurity, especially as a small business. While there are some things you might be able to take care of in-house, many small businesses find that they don’t have the budget or resources necessary to keep up with evolving cybersecurity threats. 

That’s why many choose to outsource their IT to a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) who offers teams of professionals with all the necessary expertise. And it all comes at a cost as low as, and most of the time lower, the a single skilled salaried IT employee.

If you need a comprehensive cybersecurity plan, partner with Mentis Group, a top-rated MSP in Dallas, Texas. We can protect your small business from cybersecurity threats with affordable management of all your IT needs.