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Top Cybersecurity Threats That Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Face

Chad Hammond

Cybersecurity is not an issue exclusive to large enterprises. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face a variety of online threats, and the rate at which this is happening is at an all-time high. Even more concerning is the fact that cybercriminal activity poses an existential threat to SMBs. The National Cyber Security Alliance states that 60% of small and midsize businesses that fall victim to a severe cyberattack go out of business within six months. Today, we’re exploring the top threats that SMBs face in today's internet-driven economy.

Phishing

According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), 43% of company data breaches in 2020 involved phishing in some way. The FBI reported that, in 2020, phishing was the most common type of cybercrime.

A phishing attack is a form of social engineering, where the attacker usually mimics a legitimate contact to trick unsuspecting users into clicking a malicious link to lure out sensitive data or infect the user’s computer with malware. Over the years, phishing scams have become increasingly sophisticated, making it harder to identify them.

You can do a few things to secure your business from a phishing attack. First, you need to get the entire staff on the same page. Educate them about the intricacies of phishing and provide avenues to report any suspicious events. You should also enable anti-phishing filters within your company's email and consider installing additional security software optimized to detect fraudulent emails.

Ransomware

Ransomware hits SMBs at an incredible rate. A recent Datto report notes that 1 in 5 SMBs fall victim to a ransomware attack. In the first quarter of 2020, ransomware attacks on SMBs rose by 67%. In most cases, phishing emails are behind ransomware threats.

During a ransomware attack, data on the affected computer is almost instantly encrypted, which makes it unusable in any context unless it is decrypted. Once the files are encrypted, the attackers demand ransom (hence the name) in return for the decryption procedure.

One of the best ways to defend your company’s data from a ransomware attack is by making regular software updates and data backups. Software including OS updates ensure that no security holes can be exploited by bad actors. At the same time, data backups allow you to be safe even if any of your data is compromised. Another step is deploying company-wide antimalware and antivirus software that can detect any malware before it does any harm to your company’s network.

  • Secure your business with NordPass - save the hefty costs of a security breach.

Weak passwords

Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) notes that 80% of hacking-related breaches are linked to passwords. Our study of the 200 most common passwords of 2020 revealed that 73% of the world’s most popular passwords could be cracked in less than a second. A look into password habits of Fortune 500 companies highlighted that even the biggest players out there struggle with password security.

Ensuring password security in a business environment is not that complicated. A password management solution should be on the company’s must-have list, no matter its size or market. A password manager such as NordPass allows businesses not only to securely store valuable login information but also share it within the confines of the organization. Additionally, it increases employee productivity and helps you meet compliance requirements.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing products are a huge part of today’s business. Nearly all SMBs use cloud-based applications in one way or another, mostly because of the conveniences they provide. In many instances, cloud-computing solutions are highly scalable. However, as much as cloud-computing solutions are helpful, business owners need to understand that cloud computing has its risks.

When it comes to cloud-based applications, it is essential to evaluate their security posture. For instance, zero-knowledge architecture is one thing to look for in applications, as it ensures the privacy and security of any data that the application handles. To reap all the benefits that the cloud has to offer, such as scalability, flexibility, and reduced IT costs, SMBs must develop a cloud security plan in which they clearly define security policies and procedures when it comes to using cloud-based applications.

For a more extensive outlook of the cybersecurity threats that most SMBs today face and in-depth tips on how to mitigate and withstand those threats, do not hesitate to download our cybersecurity threats e-book.

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