Unaddressed Cybersecurity Concerns of Small Businesses

Written by: Francesco Trama | Published on: April 27th, 2016

About The Author

Francesco Trama
As Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Francesco is responsible for the overall operating performance, leading the strategic direction of the company’s products and solutions internally while building technical and business credibility externally as a market-facing thought leader.

17386615_s.jpgSecurity is a major concern for all types of businesses. However, it is not uncommon for small businesses to have a number of unaddressed security issues in their environment. Unfortunately, small businesses face enterprise level security risks, without the budget. Let’s take a look at a few vulnerabilities that could affect your small business and how you can address them.

 

Cybersecurity Risks Facing Small Businesses

Small businesses often have limited budgets, which means they must be extremely strategic with how money is spent. There are several types of low-cost business solutions created for small businesses, but these solutions sometimes lack the level of security needed to keep data safe. For example, point of sale (POS) systems are incredibly useful for small businesses. With just an iPad and some POS software, you can take electronic payments from a tiny market stall, allowing your business to play a role in today’s increasingly cashless economy. However, this kind of system can also pose risks. If attackers gain access to your POS system, they could install malware that is able to steal cardholder data. For many small businesses, failing to address the inherent security risks in the solutions that they use each day can be a costly mistake.

Your business might be small, but the security risks for your customers can be huge. For example, an HVAC provider that installs digital monitoring systems into local homes and businesses needs to ensure that those systems are secure; otherwise, malware that enters a single thermostat could propagate through the provider’s entire network. If some of those thermostats are connected to large company networks, the malware could spread very widely and be used to steal sensitive data or damage computer equipment.

Think this scenario seems unlikely? Think again. It’s actually how hackers were able to gain access to Target’s computer network and steal data during the infamous Target data breach in 2013. First, the hackers used an email phishing scam to infect the systems of Target’s HVAC vendor with a type of malware known as Citadel. They were then able to gain access to Target’s vendor web services and run a malicious script that ran commands in the operating system of Target’s internal network. Once they had breached this inner network, they were able to steal the credit card details of millions of customers.

Protect Your Small Business With Next-Gen Geo-IP Filtering

Next-Gen Geo-IP filtering allows you to track the origins and end locations of traffic that enters and leaves your network. This technology is extremely useful for all businesses in the fight against hackers, but it’s a particular asset for small businesses. If you begin to notice that traffic is leaving your network and going to a suspicious part of the world, then your system might be infected with malware that is sending potentially valuable data back to its creators. You can set up an alert system on your Next-Gen Geo-IP filter so that it lets you know when suspicious activity of this kind occurs. When you receive notice, you can scan your system for malware and take action to re-secure the network. You can also alert your business customers to potential security breaches so that they can quickly take action to secure their own systems.

As a small business that provides services to larger companies, you need to pay attention to security so you don’t risk infecting other businesses. You also need to protect your own customers’ data. Through careful attention to security, you can help to keep your small business secure.  {{cta(‘ecaccfb2-82a3-4828-ba15-adff46882e6d’,’justifyright’)}}