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10 Cyber Security Mistakes to Avoid in Business

10 Cyber Security Mistakes to Avoid

Cyber security threats are a concern for businesses of all sizes. 

Cyber criminals are getting increasingly sophisticated, but most breaches are possible due to poor security practices.

Small and mid-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable, because they often underestimate their susceptibility to cyber attacks.

Here’s how to avoid 10 common cyber security mistakes. 

50% of small-medium businesses have been victims of cyberattacks.

More than 60% of them go out of business afterward.

1. Underestimating the Threat

One of the biggest cyber security mistakes made by small businesses is underestimating the threat landscape. Many SMB owners believe their companies are too small to attract the attention of cyber criminals, but this is a dangerous misconception. Cyber criminals often target smaller businesses, seeing them as easy prey due to their perceived lack of resources or expertise. It’s crucial to understand that no business or organisation is too small to be targeted, meaning proactive cyber security measures are vital.

2. Neglecting Employee Training

Small businesses rarely train their staff in best-practice cyber security. Business owners assume their employees will naturally exercise caution online, but human error remains the biggest gateway for security issues. Employees inadvertently click on malicious links or download infected files. Investing in staff cyber security training empowers your team to recognise phishing attempts, understand the importance of strong passwords, and be aware of social engineering tactics used by cyber criminals. (Ask about our Cyber Smart Staff Training launch in 2024).

3. Using Weak Passwords

People reuse passwords 64% of the time.

Weak passwords are a common security vulnerability in small companies. Employees often use easily guessable passwords and reuse them for multiple accounts, leaving sensitive information exposed to hackers. Encourage your staff to use strong, unique passwords and consider implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security. Password managers – like Keeper- can also help with managing password confusion.

4. Ignoring Software Updates

Failing to keep your software and operating systems up to date is a common mistake. Cyber criminals exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems. Regularly updating software, including operating systems, web browsers, and antivirus programs, is crucial to allow patching for known security flaws.

5. Lacking a Data Backup Plan

Scarily, very few small businesses have formal data backup and recovery plans in place. It’s a big mistake to assume that data loss won’t happen to you. Data loss can occur for various reasons, including cyberattacks, hardware failures and human errors. Regularly back up critical data and test your backups to ensure they can be successfully restored in the event of data loss.

6. No Formal Security Policies

Small businesses often operate without clear security policies and procedures. This can lead to employees being uninformed about how to handle sensitive data, securely use company devices, or respond to security incidents. Establish formal security policies and communicate them to all employees, covering areas such as:

  • password management
  • data handling
  • incident reporting
  • remote work security

7. Ignoring Mobile Security

    With the increasing use of mobile devices for work, mobile security is becoming more critical. Small companies often overlook this aspect of cyber security. Implement mobile device management (MDM) solutions to enforce security policies on company and employee-owned devices used for work-related activities.

    8. Failing to Regularly Watch Networks

    If you don’t have dedicated IT staff to monitor your networks for suspicious activities, there can be a delay in detecting security breaches. Install network monitoring tools or outsource network monitoring services can help your business identify and respond to potential threats promptly.

    9. No Incident Response Plan

    In the event of a cyber security breach, it’s hard to respond effectively if you don’t have an incident response plan in place. Develop a comprehensive incident response plan that outlines the steps to take when a security incident occurs, including communication plans, isolation procedures, and a clear chain of command.

    10. Thinking They Don’t Need Managed IT Services

    Cyber threats continually evolve, making it hard for small businesses to keep up. Some business owners think they’re too small to invest in Managed IT services, but we offer packages designed to fit small business budgets. These services can keep your business safe from cyber attacks while optimising your IT infrastructure and saving you money in the long run.

    Cyber security is a critical issue for small businesses as well as for large corporations.

    Recognising and addressing the most common cyber security mistakes can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to a cyber attack. By prioritising cyber security, investing in employee training, and implementing robust security measures, small businesses can protect their operations, customer data, and reputation from potential threats.

    Don’t risk losing your business due to a cyber attack. Contact us to take proactive steps to safeguard your small business today.

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