3 cyber security risks regional businesses should be across

Small business owner monitoring cyber security on tablet

As the cyber security landscape continues to evolve and cyber attacks become more sophisticated, regional and remote businesses are at just as much risk as larger enterprises. A common misconception is that if you’re a small or remotely located organisation, you’re ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to cyber criminals. However, as attackers bring greater automation to their efforts, it’s far easier for them to target potentially hundreds of small businesses in one go.

The fact is, even small businesses sometimes deal with large sums of money and have in their possession significant amounts of customer data. This is coupled with that fact that they also sometimes having the least cyber security protections in place. It’s important to realise that often the impact of a breach is felt harder by small businesses since it often takes them longer to recover and get back on track.

Fortunately, by first understanding potential vulnerabilities in your cyber security and then making a plan to rectify them, you can help keep your business safer. Let’s discover some of the most common cyber security threats to be aware of and the steps you can take to help protect your business’ digital assets.

Top cyber security threats to manage

1. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most common ways cyber criminals attempt to steal business information online. These are messages sent via email, SMS, or instant messaging that pretend to be from a trusted organisation. They often contain a link to a fake website where you might be asked to enter personal or business details such as usernames, passwords or banking details. Phishing is an attempt by cyber criminals to steal an identity, apply for accounts and loans in your name, impersonate you online, or use credit card details to make purchases.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that, once installed, prevents access to computer systems or files unless a sum of money is paid. It essentially turns the power of encryption (designed to protect your files) against you by taking your files hostage. This can result in being locked out of your critical documents, spreadsheets, photos and videos, and other important files. Plus, an infected PC can spread the ransomware to other computers on your network.

3. Sensitive data breaches

Not only is data now constantly in motion and moving between devices, but those devices are often in motion, too. Laptops are easier to steal, tablets get lost, and phones are misplaced or accidentally left in taxis or planes. Whenever those devices go missing, the company information on them is at risk – whether it be confidential business data or customer records.

How to better protect your business

While no singular mitigation strategy is going to provide complete protection from cyber security threats, below are some of the top strategies you can implement to bolster protection.

Antivirus software

Antivirus software is installed on your computer system to help protect against viruses and malware, phishing attacks and other online cyber threats. Even if you’re comfortable with the source of a file, it’s helpful to scan it before opening using an antivirus software. In fact, you can set this software to scan every incoming and outgoing email and attachment automatically.

Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security measure that requires the user to confirm at least two methods of identity before they can access an account or application. The multiple layers make it more difficult for cyber criminals to target your business. This is because they would not only need to steal one proof of identity, but also obtain an additional PIN, token, SMS, app or email confirmation. These added layers make MFA helpful in better protecting against unauthorised access.

Restrict administrative privileges

Restricting administrative privileges makes it more challenging for a cyber criminal to use malicious code, obtain sensitive information or spread to other devices. Consider reducing the total number of privileged accounts in your organisation, and consider giving users the minimum level of privilege they need to do their job. Since human error accounts for a large majority of cyber security breaches, this creates a work environment that is more stable with fewer users able to make significant changes to the operating environment.

Automatic software updates

Hackers actively look for security flaws. By keeping your systems and applications up-to-date, it reduces the chances a cyber criminal has to infiltrate outdated software and take advantage of security loopholes. Automatic updates are new and improved versions of software that often repair identified security holes and fix or remove system bugs. Instead of hitting snooze on updates, teach your staff about the importance of these updates and, even better, set updates to happen automatically.

Undertake a cyber security audit

Personal information like client details or financial records can be a target for cyber criminals. Becoming aware of potential vulnerabilities in your cyber security infrastructure and making a plan to address them can help keep your data safer online. Get a clearer picture of your cyber security landscape with a cyber security audit, and pick up on any weaknesses or threats before they become a major issue.

Proactively manage your security today for better protection tomorrow

Now that you better understand the importance of cyber security for your regional or small business, you can take the necessary steps to secure your important assets and protect your people. TBTC Regional WA has a range of cyber security solutions for small businesses that can help with better detection and management of cyber threats. Talk to us today about how we can support you. Let’s get securing.

Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.

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