For small business owners, it seems as though the list of things to worry about is never-ending. No matter your industry, you have to maintain and improve the quality of your products or services; ensure that your current customers, staff and clients are happy; work towards reaching a larger number of potential clients; and take care of all of the other countless tasks and pressures of running a company.
Unfortunately, while most entrepreneurs are tending to these issues, they can overlook one of the more crucial aspects of maintaining a healthy business. Although cybersecurity was a relatively obscure concept to most small small business owners and much of the public at large up until recently, the events of the last few years have forced everyone to become more familiar with the idea. And with these events, another major worry may have been added onto the list for small business owners.
Of all of the potential security threats to a small business, few are as hard to prepare for or as potentially devastating as the use of ransomware. Another relatively unknown concept up until the last few years, ransomware has been thrust into the public attention, and small business owners are have been forced to pay attention.
While the software behind these attacks is constantly becoming more complex and sophisticated, the basic idea behind ransomware is relatively simple. Ransomware is a computer code that gains access to files and data on a system or network and then restricts access to it, essentially locking the victim out of their own system. Criminals behind the attack will then hold the files ransom (hence the name) and demand a monetary payment before access will be returned.
These kind of cyber-attacks have been occurring on a small scale for decades, and the first known ransomware attack dates all the way back to 1989. But it was not until earlier this year when the entire world would be confronted with the looming dangers posed by this cyber-threat.
In May of 2017, the largest cyber-attack in history occurred when a ransomware program called WannaCry attacked a number of major businesses and organizations across several nations. Within a few hours, over 200,000 devices in 150 countries had been impacted, including systems of hospitals in the UK, a large telecom provider in Spain, FedEx in North American and even the Russian Interior Ministry.
Small Business Security
One of the most common and dangerous mistakes that many small business owners make in respect to their security is assuming that their business is too small for hackers or cyber-criminals to concern themselves with. However, this could not be further from the truth, and most criminals would actually prefer to attack small to midsize companies with fewer security protocols, higher chances of success and less likelihood of getting caught.
Unlike traditional crime that is geared at taking large sums from one major company, criminals can use ransomware to gain access to just as much valuable information and extort just as high of a price from one or more small businesses.
While the software is growing ever more complex, and criminals are always getting smarter, there are ways that you can fight cyber-crime for your own company. The best weapons in this fight will always be understanding, preparation and prevention, and you should always ensure that your security protocols are up to date. If you have already suffered an attack CBI eDiscovery Services and other similar forensic services can help identify weaknesses and prevent it from happening in the future.
As simple as it seems, basic steps such as proper network maintenance, regular software updates and regular data backups could be the most important protections you have. You should also ensure that all of your staff and employees are kept up to date on the security measures, and that proper cyber-security policies are in place and followed at all times.
Derek Pursley is an influencer marketing pro with brownboxbranding.com who is passionate about building authentic relationships and helping businesses connect with their ideal online audience. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving digital marketing world by writing on the latest marketing advancements and focuses on developing customized blogger outreach plans based on industry and competition.
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