What leads to cybersecurity gaps in SMBs

In a world where cyberthreats are becoming more rampant by the minute, no one is safe online. Cybersecurity shouldn’t only be a concern for end users, but organizations of all sizes should make it a priority as well.

Large companies are fighting back against threats to their data by turning to the cloud, installing anti-malware software, using strong passwords, and regularly updating their backup and disaster recovery plans (BDRPs). Unfortunately, for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the story isn’t quite the same.

What could be the reasons behind this? Let’s take a look at the things that contribute to cybersecurity gaps in SMBs.

Mistaken presumption

According to Ed Dubrovsky, managing director at Cyintelligence, a large Canadian breach response company, SMBs focus too often on company operations and not enough on protecting their systems. Moreover, some small organizations believe that nobody cares about their data, and large enterprises are more susceptible to attacks.

Unfortunately for SMBs, this line of thinking is mistaken. Large enterprises have expensive and multilayered security measures installed, so it makes it difficult for cybercriminals to infiltrate their infrastructure. SMBs, on the other hand, often do not have proper protection against attacks. This vulnerability makes SMBs popular targets for cybercriminals.

Weak passwords

Using a weak password exposes data to brute force attacks, a trial-and-error method used by criminals to infiltrate systems and steal information. Alarmingly enough, some people still use easy-to-guess passwords such as “123456,” “qwerty,” or “passw0rd”. This habit does not make securing SMBs from hackers any easier.

Use passphrases as a way to complicate passwords without possibly forgetting them. This usually involves a sentence or a combination of words, such as “chocolatespoonspongebag” or “iloveeatingwafflesandfriEs2256”. These are less likely for cybercriminals to crack, leading to better data security over time.

Lack of cybersecurity funds

According to a study by web hosting company GoDaddy, SMBs don’t have the proper resources to protect themselves, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks. In their survey of 1,000 small enterprises, nearly half claimed to have suffered financial loss as much as $5,000.

Two-thirds of the respondents only spend between $1 and $500 a year on cybersecurity initiatives, and less than one-third check for website vulnerabilities. Ransomware is also a rising threat, with one in five SMBs falling victim to it. When they become infected, businesses still end up spending money, whether they choose to pay the hackers or rebuild their network from scratch.

To save on costs, SMBs can partner with a managed services provider (MSP) such as Dyrand Systems. MSPs are teams of IT experts who will proactively monitor a network infrastructure 24/7/365 and stop threats from infecting the system. What’s more, MSPs cost less than paying an in-house IT specialist a full salary. Simply put, an MSP will give you peace of mind round-the-clock, helping you focus on the more important matters of your business.

Inadequate training

It’s easy to be duped into handing over sensitive information over the internet, with phishing attacks growing rapidly. According to a study by internet security company Webroot, many users fail to recognize threats due to a lack of security training.

In their survey of 500 SMBs, phishing scams were ranked as the primary threat. Medium-sized businesses also cited human error as a probable cause for security gaps. However, SMBs still realize the need for awareness training programs to mitigate risks from cyberthreats.

An effective method to train employees is to perform “live fire” exercises. These are simulated attacks to see how teams will react to certain threats such as phishing, viruses, and ransomware. From there, they can have a better idea of how to deal with attacks should they really happen in the future.

For instance, you can send a fake phishing email to all employees and see how many people fall for it. After findings have been recorded and evaluated, you can now tailor training to problematic areas.

Cybersecurity training should also be regularly done within the organization. Cyberattacks will always continue to evolve and become more dangerous, and by making employees care about it, your business will always stay protected from any issues.

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