Security breaches have become a serious issue in today’s technology-dependent business landscape. Therefore, it’s paramount as a business owner to put in place proper cybersecurity protocols to prevent hackers from getting your company’s vital information. It would be best if you never overlooked this because the honest fact is that you’re bound to be a victim of a cyberattack at one point or another. You must also put in place proper cybersecurity measures regardless of the complexity that needs to be followed during this entire process.
But, despite your best efforts to put in place these cybersecurity measures, you’re likely to make some mistakes that might expose your business to opportunist hackers. To help you out, here’s a guide to enlighten you on the most common cybersecurity mistakes made by other entrepreneurs like you.
1. Untrained Staff Handling IT Security
Because you’re untrained in IT security, it’s easy to think that your business isn’t exposed to the risk of cyberattacks once a security software is installed. However, this isn’t true as hackers are constantly evolving and bettering their hacking techniques. Therefore, you need to continually have the firewall and security software updated, a task that’s better left to a trained and qualified IT professional.
While it’s easy to see that hiring an IT specialist is an additional cost to your business, it does minimize the chances of hacking. With their expertise, this individual prevents the introduction of malware to the system and safeguards the company’s crucial data. This is a task that you can’t do as an untrained professional to mitigate cyberattack risks.
It’s also important for all your employees to receive training in online security procedures, even if this may cost you additional money and time. This is because hacking techniques, such as unsafe links and phishing scams, keep changing. Because of this, it becomes a lot harder for your staff to identify legitimate phone calls and emails. But, after extensive training, your employees are better placed to avoid common cybersecurity mistakes, such as:
- Using the public Wi-Fi without a VPN
- Doing unauthorized system changes
- Connecting insecure devices, such as USB storage
- Using personal gadgets, such as laptops and smartphones, in public areas to do work duties
- Opening suspicious attachments and links
It’s easy to assume that, as a small business, you’re a less appealing target to hackers. However, this is far from the truth—you’re at a greater risk because these cybercriminals know you most likely don’t have robust network security due to your limited budget. In addition, many of the attacks nowadays are carried out by automated scripts and software designed to identify vulnerable networks and machines, irrespective of the company’s nature and size.
In contrast, more established businesses boasting a dedicated and experienced team of IT staff are less likely to become victims of these cyberattacks. You should use this approach, too, to prevent cybercriminals from finding weak spots in your networking and consequently using this to their advantage.
3. Using Weak Passwords
Another common cybersecurity mistake many businesses make is using weak passwords. You should avoid such a mistake by implementing a password management policy in your company. This entails creating clear rules about using strong passwords and outlining the producers for the proper handling, storing, and sharing of passwords. While implementing this seems straightforward, it’s still something that many businesses take lightly. This is despite the owners or employees getting notifications from the security software each time they use weak passwords.
Some examples of weak passwords include:
- Simple sequences, such as ‘sy2826454’ or ‘1shhahdta,’ are patterns that can easily be identified by someone checking you while typing on your keyboard
- Passwords with corporate or personal information can be retrieved by simply checking your social network accounts
- Default credentials
As a responsible business owner, you and your employees should never use such weak passwords as this only makes work easier for hackers to access your crucial company data.
4. Using Outdated Software
Technology keeps evolving with every passing day. It’s, thus, important that you, too, be updated with this changing tech because this is the only way of being guaranteed high-end security software for your servers and websites, as well as a fool-proof firewall. Ignoring this and choosing to use outdated software make your business more vulnerable to cyberattacks as hackers now better know the system vulnerabilities.
Therefore, you should never disable security features or ignore software updates, or, else, you’ll be compromising the safety of your essential company data. In fact, it’s recommended that you update the software regularly to reduce the chances of being a victim to cybercriminals due to using outdated software.
5. Excessively Depending On Free Antivirus Software
The antivirus acts as your company’s security to safeguard you from a cyberattack. However, it would do your business a lot of good if you kept away from the free antivirus software to safeguard your company’s system and software. The reasons for this include:
- Many of the free antivirus software give you false positives, such as appearing as though they’re working.
- The free antivirus solutions have low detection rates.
- Free data breaches are a common issue experienced by many of the free antivirus software, thereby rendering them counterproductive
- Most of the free antivirus solutions collect data on your usage, thereby violating your privacy
Therefore, you shouldn’t be quick to use this free antivirus solution to cut your business expenses. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying for the perceived savings down the line if you stick to using such antivirus software. After all, designing, running, and maintaining such a complete security system to safeguard you from malicious downloads, ransomware, or zero-day exploits need resources.
6. Overlooking Security Monitoring
Many businesses often have a tight budget to ensure all the business processes run smoothly. As a result, they ignore the need to invest in cybersecurity monitoring to avoid a surprise attack by cybercriminals.
While this might appear logical to try and cut down on operational expenses, this is a huge mistake that you must never make. This is because your business software and system need constant monitoring to reduce attacks and serious incidents, investigate automated alerts, as well as look for threats. Thanks to this 24/7 monitoring, there’s a very low likelihood cybercriminals will catch you off-guard.
Every business depends on technological gadgets and computers to store trade secrets, communicate with clients or vendors, and make vital business decisions. And, with cyberattacks a lot more prevalent, the last thing you want is hackers accessing such essential information. This data can be traded to your rivals, leading to you losing your competitive advantage. This guide has taken you through the cybersecurity mistakes you’re highly likely to make, and which you ought to be on the lookout for at all times to prevent being a victim of cyberattacks.