Cyber Security Myths Small Businesses Need to Know About

Cyber Security #CSPledgeI’m teaming up with Norton to help small businesses resolve to be better about their cybersecurity in 2015. Experts have repeatedly cautioned businesses of all sizes against the dangers of leaving data unprotected, leading to tightened security measures across the country. Professionals still aren’t sure they’ve done everything they can to protect their networks, since many business owners and department managers would never claim to be tech experts.

Small businesses are especially concerned about network safety. Industry publications and blogs are filled with warnings about cyber threats, leaving entrepreneurs unsure what to believe. In all of this, several myths have emerged. To help small businesses discern truth from fiction, here are a few of the most popular cybersecurity myths.

Our IT Provider Handles That

Many small businesses outsource IT, either to a cloud provider or a local company that handles tech support. Whether IT is handled by an in-house IT professional or one that is offsite, IT can only go so far in protecting your network. In truth, the biggest threat to an organization is its own employees, who engage in risky behaviors like unsafe web surfing, clicking on unsecure email links, and careless password behavior, among other activities.

The truth is, regardless of the resource you entrust with your IT security, the ultimate responsibility falls on your business’s leaders. If an incident occurs, your own staff will be forced to answer to your customers, as well as any regulatory authorities. While some providers accept a certain amount of liability, a business’s reputation can still be damaged.

My Business Flies Under the Radar

Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, seeing them as relatively easy targets. Big businesses take extreme precautions on their networks, making it almost impossible for malicious activity to get through. Realizing small businesses don’t have the resources to invest in heavy-duty security measures, hackers see those business types as prime targets.

It’s important to check your business’s IT security measures and ensure strong encryption is in place. If you’re using cloud service providers, carefully scrutinize each service’s security measures and ensure your data is safe.

Make sure you have good antivirus protection

Invest in a strong antivirus product, such as Norton Small Business available at Staples. The product provides critical protection to secure your PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets against viruses, malware, spam and more. It’s crucial to take a look at all of the technology devices that make your small business run, and make sure you have cybersecurity protection for all. For instance, a Norton survey of small business owners found that while nearly all have a cybersecurity system installed on their desktops (98 percent) and laptops (96 percent) only around two-thirds (65 percent) do so on their tablets, and a little over half (56 percent) on their smartphones.

To keep your business safe, you’ll need the latest standards in data encryption for every data transmission, as well as strict password requirements on your servers. Your devices should be encrypted, as well, to protect against theft and any mobile devices should have remote-wiping capabilities. For additional tips on how to resolve to be better about cybersecurity in 2015, check out this post on the Norton Protection Blog: Top 10 Small Business Resolutions and Strategies to Achieve Them.

Cyber attacks are a real concern for businesses today, but it’s important to be able to separate myth from reality. Education is key to protecting your SMB against an attack and keeping your customer data safe.

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About Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray, Marketing & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com & Infusionsoft. Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

  • chris zawacki

    Agreed regarding educated employees. I think training employees on acceptable ways to use their technology, coupled with adequate small business network security, goes a long way toward peace of mind for business owners.

  • http://frank.unumid.com Frank Bradshaw

    On a daily basis, I meet and pitch SMBs on the importance of information security.
    Too many SMBs think that InfoSec is a “big company’s problem”.
    Sure, they are the big fish but I was once told, “Sure, I can spend all day fishing, throwing back a one pounder here and there hoping to catch a 15 pounder. Then I realized I threw back 20 pounds of fish hoping for a big one.” Meaning, hackers are getting smarter. Why put so much effort into breaking into giant companies with huge walls when I can break into small ones who’s doors are wide open.
    Did you know that in Target’s record setting breach, it was a small HVAC company that was the conduit for allowing hackers into Target’s systems.
    No company is immune.
    It is long held that in most SMBs, there is active malware sitting in about 85% of company’s systems.
    85%!!!!
    Target spends tens of millions on security initiatives and still was breached.

    The cost to remediate could rise into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Can the average SMB survive a breach?
    Probably not.

    Frank Bradshaw
    Ho’ike Technologies
    http://www.hoiketech.com