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Top 10 cyber security mistakes – are you making any of these?

Cyber Security

Small business owners are busy people. We get it. It’s a full time job, focussing on growing the business and juggling the day. Cyber security is quite often just not a priority.

It usually becomes a priority when something goes wrong. Up until then though they may think they have a lower risk of a data breach or they may think it’s expensive.

Cyber security isn’t just a concern for large corporations but it’s a critical issue for small businesses as well. Small to medium sized businesses are often seen as as attractive targets for cyber criminals because of the perceived vulnerabilities.

Cyber security doesn’t need to be expensive. Human error is one of the largest causes of data breaches, but that is good news. It means that improving cyber hygiene can reduce the risk of a business becoming a risk.

Do you recognise any of these cyber security mistakes?

You don’t know, what you don’t know. First need to identify the problem. Often the people within a business are making mistakes they don’t even realise. Below are some of the biggest reasons small businesses fall victim to cyber attacks.

Below we’ve listed the 10 biggest mistakes when it comes to cyber security. See if any of this sounds familiar around your company.

1. Underestimating the Threat

Underestimating the threat landscape is one of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes made my small-medium businesses. Many business owners assume that their company is just too small to be a target. “They don’t have anything of importance.” But this is a dangerous misconception. 

Cyber criminals often see small businesses as easy targets. Because of their size, the criminals believe the company lacks the resources or expertise to defend against attacks. It’s crucial to understand that no business is too small for cybercriminals to target.

2. Neglecting Employee Training

When was the last time you trained your employees on cybersecurity? There have been countless studies which show that human error is behind a large majority of successful cyber attacks. Small businesses often neglect cybersecurity training for their employees with the assumption that they will naturally be cautious.

Do your team know what to look out for? Do they know the warning signs of a security breach and what to do when they recognise an attack? Employees may accidentally click on malicious links or download infected files.

Staff cybersecurity training helps them:

  • Know what to look out for and recognise phishing attempts
  • Understand the importance of strong passwords
  • Be aware of social engineering tactics used by cyber criminals
  • Know what to do when they recognise an attack

Download our guide that tells you all you need to know about cybersecurity training and how you can another layer of protection to your business through training and awareness within your teams.

3. Using Weak Passwords

Weak passwords are a common security vulnerability in many companies. Employees might be using easily guessable passwords and reusing the same password for several accounts.

  • Encourage the use of strong, unique passwords and use a Password Manager.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible.

4. Ignoring Software Updates

Being busy can mean that when software and systems need updating they get ignored. This is another mistake. the Cyber criminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems. Software should be regularly updated to patch known security flaws. The updates aren’t just about the latest features, although they can be great! Updates should be made to operating systems, web browsers, and antivirus programs.

5. Lacking a Data Backup Plan

It can be common for small businesses to not have a formal data backup and recovery plans. They may even assume that data loss won’t happen to them, but data loss can occur due to various reasons. This includes cyber attacks, hardware failures, or human errors. They may already mistakenly think they have back ups in place when they don’t.

  • Regularly back up your company’s data.
  • Test the backups to ensure they can be successfully restored in case of a data loss incident.

6. No Formal Security Policies

Often small businesses operate without clear policies and procedures. If there is no clear and enforceable security policies, employees may not know important information. This could be how to handle sensitive data, how to use company devices securely or respond to security incidents. 

Small businesses should establish formal security policies and procedures and ensure they are communicated to all employees. These policies should cover things like:

  • Password management
  • Data handling
  • Incident reporting
  • Remote work security
  • And other security topics

7. Ignoring Mobile Security

Mobiles can easily be overlooked when it comes to cyber security and mobile security is increasingly important

It’s advisable to put in place mobile device management (MDM) solutions. These will enforce security policies on company- and employee-owned devices that are used for work-related activities.

8. Failing to Regularly Watch Networks

Some businesses may not have IT staff to watch their networks for suspicious activities. This can mean delayed or even missed detection of security breaches.

  • Install network monitoring tools or consider outsourcing network monitoring services. This can help your business quickly identify and respond to potential threats.

9. No Incident Response Plan

In the face of a cyber security incident, businesses without an incident response plan may panic which can also result in responding ineffectively.

Develop a comprehensive incident response plan. It should outline:

  • The steps to take when a security incident occurs.
  • Communication plans.
  • Isolation procedures.
  • A clear chain of command.

10. Thinking They Don’t Need Managed IT Services

Cyber threats are continually evolving. Cyber criminals are coming up with new attack techniques regularly. It can be hard keeping up. Yet, many businesses believe they are “too small” to pay for managed IT services.

A managed service provider (MSP) can keep your business safe from cyber attacks, and save you money at the same time by optimising your IT.

Learn More About Managed IT Services

Don’t risk losing your business because of a cyber attack. Managed IT services can be more affordable for your small business than you think. Find out more about how we can help.

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