Maintaining a focus on cybersecurity is essential for small businesses in today’s dangerous threat landscape. Virtually all organizations have valuable data resources and mission-critical systems that may be targeted by threat actors. Small businesses with cybersecurity gaps are risking their future and the privacy of the sensitive data they store and process.
It is instructive to look at the common pitfalls that impact the cybersecurity of small businesses. In most cases, a small business does not have an extensive and dedicated cybersecurity team to keep the environment secure. Consequently, small business owners should strive to minimize the following mistakes that can result in ineffective cybersecurity.
Lack of Employee Training and Awareness
Failing to implement employee cybersecurity and awareness training is a common problem in small businesses. Due to budgetary, manpower, or time constraints, a company may neglect to provide its employees with the necessary information to maintain a secure computing environment. The following examples are some of the ways to address this problem.
Train all employees on cybersecurity best practices so they understand the risks of taking risky actions such as sharing passwords, sending sensitive information via email, or transmitting unencrypted files. A simple mistake can expose a company’s sensitive data or allow unauthorized access to important systems.
Emphasize social engineering awareness to guard against phishing and other types of attacks generated through social media. Sophisticated social media attacks are increasingly responsible for allowing threat actors to gain initial access to an IT environment. Employees must be aware of the risks associated with clicking a suspicious link in an email or text message.
SMBs should take advantage of training resources to increase employee security awareness. Following are examples of the kind of training available to any company.
- Infosec offers a wide variety of cybersecurity training resources. The company offers over 2,000 training options including a free course on identifying holiday scams that can help protect against security breaches.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers free security awareness training resources.
Weak Password and Authentication Practices
Weak password and authentication practices such as no expiration are a common problem and can provide the gateway threat actors use to compromise a small business. Following are some specific mistakes related to passwords and authentication.
- Not enforcing password complexity - Simple passwords are easy for hackers to crack and should be avoided at all costs. Long and complex passwords should be mandatory for accessing all sensitive systems and information.
- Password reuse - Passwords should not be reused for multiple systems to minimize the potential damage from compromised credentials.
- Failure to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) - MFA provides an additional layer of security for systems and accounts by requiring more than a password to gain access. Users may be sent a code to a mobile device to thwart threat actors who have stolen user credentials.
Inadequate Patch Management Policies
A lack of technical resources may result in a small business failing to effectively manage software patches and updates. Hardware and software vendors typically make security patches and updates available to address newly identified security vulnerabilities. Customers need to install these patches as soon as possible to maintain a secure environment.
Companies that do not take timely action to patch known vulnerabilities are playing with fire and are likely to get burned. Organizations are falling victim to known vulnerabilities that were addressed with vendor patches as long ago as 2017. This is unacceptable and points to faulty patch management policies that need to be improved.
Insufficient Backup and Recovery Procedures
Another oversight that affects small businesses is having insufficient backup and recovery procedures in place to protect the company’s data and intellectual property. Backups are vitally important for multiple reasons including:
- Protecting against accidental or deliberate data loss;
- Migrating systems to new hardware or a cloud environment;
- Maintaining data to promote regulatory compliance.
Equally important is the ability to use the backups to restore lost data or a compromised system. Small businesses should regularly test their recovery procedures to ensure they can maintain operations and make corporate data available for employees and customers.
Overlooking Vendor Security
Small businesses typically make use of an extended software supply chain that includes products from a variety of third-party vendors. Vulnerabilities in these products can be used to attack a company’s infrastructure even if they have addressed internal cybersecurity. Organizations should exercise due diligence and conduct a comprehensive security assessment when introducing third-party products into the environment.
Security requirements must be included when entering into contracts with third-party service providers or vendors. Companies should avoid working with entities that will not incorporate the desired level of security into contractual agreements.
Underestimating the Threat Landscape
Small business decision-makers have to avoid underestimating the threat landscape. Any company that stores and processes sensitive user or payment information presents threat actors with an attractive target. The lack of a dedicated security team may make them more vulnerable than larger companies with more valuable resources.
The U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance provides case studies on the effects of cybersecurity threats on small businesses. Studies describe how businesses are impacted by phishing, keylogging, malware, and other types of cyberattacks. These case studies drive home the point that no business is immune from the dangers of threat actors.
Companies should adopt a proactive approach to protecting themselves from sophisticated cyber attacks. Implementing an extended detection and response (XDR) solution such as Samurai XDR provides effective protection from existing and emerging threats. XDR allows small businesses to stay ahead of emerging threats by leveraging the platform’s advanced threat intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
XDR can be compared to a canary in a coal mine that warns miners of impending danger. With robust cybersecurity defenses in place, a warning generated by an XDR solution indicates a serious problem that should be addressed immediately by security personnel.
Small businesses are just as likely to be attacked by threat actors as major corporations. They need to guard against making the mistakes previously discussed and take the necessary proactive measures to keep their IT environment secure.
Implementing XDR is an excellent and cost-effective method of enhancing cybersecurity for a small business. Companies can enjoy the following benefits by deploying Samurai XDR.
- Samurai’s XDR platform gives small businesses access to advanced threat intelligence often only available to larger organizations. Samurai leverages NTT’s Tier 1 internet backbone to identify existing and emerging threats, giving small businesses a better chance of successfully defending themselves.
- Advanced analytics and machine learning functionality are used to identify potentially suspicious activity and systems that may be compromised by threat actors.
- Samurai XDR identifies subtle lateral movements threat actors make in search of valuable targets in an IT environment. These movements may point to an advanced persistent threat (APT) that needs to be addressed as soon as possible to limit damage to the organization.
- The platform consolidates and prioritizes threats and alerts in a unified interface that allows small businesses with limited resources to improve their cybersecurity posture.
- Samurai XDR is backed by a team of threat research experts making continuous improvements in the platform and sharpening its ability to defend IT environments.
Get in touch with Samurai and learn how our new Starter Plan can help enhance the cybersecurity of your small business and keep your valuable information safe.
Download theDownload Now
Ransomware and Cyber Attacks in Healthcare - Part 2
16 February 2024 | Cyber Threats
With traditional employees, remote workers, and hybrid workers, maintaining a secure wall around your business is uniquely difficult, if not...
How To Enhance Online Safety With Cyber Hygiene
8 February 2024 | Cybersecurity 101
The way you take care of your IT environment has a direct impact on its security. Carelessness in the way...
The State of SaaS Security - Part 2
2 February 2024 | Cybersecurity 101
This post dives a bit deeper into the breaches and some guidance on common tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that...