Cyber Hacking is a real threat to small businesses. Those that think they are not a target are the ones who are most at risk – as they are unlikely to have taken the precautions to protect themselves from cyber criminals. So what are the risks to business and how can you better protect yourself?
The Risks To Business
There are numerous risks to businesses when it comes to cyber hacking. Firstly, there are direct threats where hackers gain access to a computer system or data remotely and it is stolen. A classic example of this was Ashley Madison when the records of their 32 million members were leaked online.
Another threat is when a company’s system or data is encrypted and held to ransom. This can be particularly infuriating as the data encrypted can often be highly valuable and working without it almost impossible.
Finally, another hacking threat is to do with viruses. Typically, viruses often contaminate computers through a staff member opening up an attachment or downloading something they shouldn’t. While most viruses are just annoying computer programs, some can be very harmful to your computer.
How Common Is Cyber Hacking?
Hacking is more common than most businesses think. Many business leaders won’t even realize that their system has been compromised. In recent years, 71% of attacks were directed towards organizations with less than 100 employees. By 2014/2015, it has been suggested that half of small businesses have been targeted in some form of cyber attack.
These incidents aren’t easy to solve and they can be expensive. The average cost to repair the damage from an attack can be $36,000. If data is stolen, this figure can rise significantly as there will be fines to pay for lost customer data.
If you experience a hack, this is a quick list of where you might expect to see costs:
- Repairing your computer system
- Analyzing the security flaw
- Press releases
- Fines for the data breach
- Lost productivity
- Reconstruction of lost data and processes
For some small businesses, this could be fatal.
How To Protect Yourself From Cyber Hacking
When it comes to cyber hacking, the best option is to be prepared and minimize the risks. The most common mistake made by small businesses is not keeping their software up to date. Software updates, especially on websites (like WordPress) are there to fix security gaps. So always ensure you are running the latest version of any software you have. Next, choose a unique password that contains a random assortment of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols. Don’t use common passwords.
Never open attachments from unknown sources, especially if it is an executable folder. Also, ensure that you are regularly reviewing and changing security on your system. Passwords should regularly be changed to protect your business’ systems and should be a random assortment of numbers, letters and symbols.
Financial Safety In Hacking Times
You’ll also want to protect yourself from hackers financially. This is where insurance can help you. By taking out the right coverage, you can ensure that the majority of the costs you incur, as a result of a cyberattack, are paid for by your insurer. For instance, the right policy will pay out on PR damage control, fines and repairs.
Some policies may even provide financial resources to help you keep paying expenses while your organization is out of operation. This can all be very important when an incident does happen.
Cybercrime is not something that only happens to big companies. In fact, as a small organization, you are more likely to be targeted because you are seen as a soft target. Only by protecting yourself through good security and insurance, can you hope to survive when the hackers do attempt to target your systems.
Have you been a victim of a cyberattack? Do you know about it?
Let us know in the comments below.