Small Businesses Are Easy Cybersecurity Targets
Small- and medium-sized businesses in New York, whether they are new or old, usually rely on a variety of technology products and equipment to operate effectively. These types of products and services include devices like smartphones and tablets, personal computers, and cloud-based systems. The data that is contained within these items or systems is a potential goldmine for cybercriminals — information like customer and employee data or proprietary documents or designs. When you have a basic understanding of the cybersecurity threats that exist in today’s business marketplace, you’ll be better prepared to protect your digital information, property, and your small business. That’s where Five Nines Consulting’s cybersecurity services come in!
It’s important not to fall for the misconception that just because you own a smaller business it is less likely to fall victim to cyber threats. While large corporations often make headlines when a data breach occurs, far more often it is small businesses that are impacted the hardest by digital attacks. With that in mind, here are five of the most common cyber threats that you need to be aware of if you’re a business owner in NYC.
Malicious software, or “malware,” is a tool used by cybercriminals to wreak havoc on small businesses. There is a subset of malware, called “ransomware,” which is very common. Ransomware is malicious software that attempts to infiltrate your data and encrypt it without your knowledge. A cybercriminal will then seek to extort your business for a ransom in order to release a decryption code. Very commonly, ransomware is downloaded without a user’s knowledge through a seemingly innocent email.
Many small businesses fall victim to phishing schemes. “Phishing” is a malicious attempt by a cybercriminal to acquire sensitive information about your company or personal data by posing as a trusted contact or entity, like a regularly used online service or banking site. Phishing schemes are notorious because they are often very convincing, often using professional-looking online forms that may even have official company logos and identical verbiage compared to a legitimate site. Thankfully, these ploys are often undermined by spam filters and a healthy amount of skepticism about unsolicited or unexpected emails.
Data Leaks and Breaches
Before the advent of the smart device, it was relatively easy to keep sensitive data within the confines of your business. Because of the widespread use of such devices in today’s society, however, the risk of data leaks due to carelessness with personal devices is at an all-time high. The inherently portable design of such devices makes storing and transferring data incredibly convenient, but also leaves them exposed to external threats. Personal awareness and proactivity about your devices are crucial first steps to keeping data safe. For example, set passcodes for devices, enable remote wiping capabilities in case a device is lost, use verified private networks (VPNs) to encrypt your data, and never leave your devices or documents unattended and unlocked.
While the Hollywood version of hacking seems very advanced, with a hooded figure furiously clicking away at a keyboard, the reality is much more straightforward. Criminal hackers can still find plenty of valuable data through relatively simple means, including tricking employees into revealing usernames and passwords. When you have an IT service on your side, most instances of hacking can be avoided. This is possible through setting up adequate firewalls, installing data access security measures, and establishing procedures for providing and removing access privileges.
Insider Threats and Vulnerabilities
While it is certainly possible that a disgruntled employee may intentionally leak sensitive data for personal profit, it is much more likely that such valuable information is leaked entirely by mistake. This is where proper technology training and cyberthreat awareness training comes into play. The first step to avoiding accidental data loss is to educate your entire staff in order to minimize accidents. Secondly, it’s prudent to limit how much of your company’s sensitive data your employees have access to. As a general rule, employees should only have access to the minimum amount of data necessary to complete their roles — anything beyond that poses unnecessary risks.
What If You Believe Your Company’s Data Has Been Breached?
If you discover that your business has been breached by a malicious data breach, there are some vital first steps that you can take to minimize the damage as much as possible.
- Immediately change passwords to new, stronger passwords
- Contact your company’s bank and/or credit card providers
- Carefully communicate to all involved parties, including affected clients so that they may take appropriate protective action
- Document all of the actions you perform
Protect Your NYC Business from Cyberthreats With Five Nines Consulting
IT solutions are our bread and butter. Our mission as an IT consulting company is to help small- and medium-sized businesses throughout New York protect themselves from looming cyberthreats. You’ve worked hard to build your business from the ground up, and you need a cybersecurity team that can move faster than cybercriminals. We bring decades of experience in cybersecurity compliance with every client we take on, with an aggressive dedication to keeping your business safe. As leading security experts, we offer actionable steps to keep your business safe by providing services like:
- Vulnerability assessments
- Defense testing
- Breach simulations
- Risk and compliance management
- Education and awareness
- Identity and access management
- Perform research on cybersecurity standards, systems, and validation
- Design optimal security architectures
- Deliver technical reports and results of security testing
- Offer professional guidance
- Regularly update and/or upgrade security systems
Thanks to our full menu of cybersecurity services, you’ll be free to focus on growing your business and fulfilling the potential of your brand without having to worry about cyber threats. Contact Five Nines Consulting in New York City today to schedule your cybersecurity assessment!